Walking on water
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Equanimity
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Reading and understanding the Scriptures can be difficult. The reader needs knowledge of history, culture and the type of text (historical narrative, wisdom literature, poetry). He also needs to consider the level of meaning (literal, moral, allegorical) and so on. So when we are given clear, literal instruction from the Bible, we should take it quickly and seriously. Such are the type of words St. Paul sets before us in his first letter to the Philippians when he says in the context of the Lord’s second coming, “Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say rejoice.” Now the instructions are quite clear, but the reasons for them are not. How can we rejoice when we know the last days are days of tribulation and that our final judgment awaits us? According to St. John Henry Newman in his homily, “Equanimity,” our peace rests on our ability to maintain a supernatural vision of our lives.

The supernatural vision Newman refers to illuminates our earthly life. Just as a dark room is no longer scary in the daylight, so also do our problems flee in light of eternity. The light of revelation teaches us that we belong to God our Father, that ours is the Kingdom of God, and moreover that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it because Christ conquered sin, death and hell on the Cross. Following Him, we are destined for a new heaven, new earth and newly glorified body. We should therefore take refuge in the fact that this life is not our home and that its passing sorrows cannot compare to the glory that will be revealed: “The Lord is at hand; this is not your rest; this is not your abiding-place. Act then as persons who are in a dwelling not their own; who are not in their own home; who have not their own goods and furniture about them; who, accordingly, make shift and put up with anything that comes to hand, and do not make a point of things being the best of their kind.”

To have this peace, this equanimity, our eyes must be fixed on Christ, rather than the cares of each day, just as St. Peter was fixed on Christ when He bid him come walk on the water. Who cares what happens today if Christ is coming tomorrow, Newman asks. He is coming, whether for all of us on the Day of Judgment, or only for us on the day of our death, but either way, the time is brief. As a result, the things of earth should have no power over us. “It is very plain that matters which agitate us most extremely now, will then interest us not at all; that objects about which we have intense hope and fear now … will have no life in them,” Newman says.

Here we learn something of the difficult approach to this life that God calls us to. At once we should live as if nothing could touch us, and yet we should let everything touch us. Confident of the outcome, but unceasing in battle. Christ Himself is our model for this way of living in the world but not of it. Have we forgotten how Jesus acted when his friend Lazarus died? In Jesus’ supernatural vision, He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, but it didn’t prevent him from weeping at Lazarus’ tomb. As a young man, Newman experienced sorrow at the death of his father and later his sister Mary. The vision of faith sustained him in this suffering and throughout his life.

This is no Buddhist-like detachment from the world that Jesus shows us. It is a passionate embrace of the Cross. Today we face evils at home and abroad. Good is called evil and evil is called good. The lives of the unborn continue to be discarded, God’s design for sexuality has been twisted, the poor and infirm are left behind. Who can sit by idly with indifference or apathy? We have to act, to put ourselves out there in defense of the good, but our hope can’t rest in our efforts, in whether we win this or that skirmish; because Christ has won the war. How difficult a state to live in! It’s much easier, for example, to disavow politics altogether or conversely to put all of our hope into a certain political outcome. It’s much harder to care, and yet not be worried.

Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Jesus tells us clearly, “You can do nothing apart from Me.” Our Lord wants us to act. In fact, the victory He has achieved, He will secure with our help. Salvation history is not something that we read from afar; we are making it day by day. The Kingdom of God will come, but it will come through our “fiat,” our “yes, Lord, use me as You will,” our “serviam.” For our actions to be anything, they must be united to Him. Let’s ask Him now for this supernatural vision so we can have the peace that only trust in God can provide.

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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