Basilica-Winter-2021-16
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Faith and Love
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(National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception)

We are used to the idea that working hard helps us succeed. This could be in employment or at home or on the sports field. However, working hard at doing good in order to gain salvation does not follow this pattern. Works righteousness is the phrase used for this idea that salvation can be earned by doing good works. It is based on the improper understanding of St. James 2:14-26 which states faith without works is dead. But what makes faith alive? How do we consider our works so that we don’t fall into works righteousness, but instead go about our duties and tasks so that what we do is pleasing to God? St. John Henry Newman answers this question in his enlightening sermon, “Faith and Love.”

Newman writes, “And thus I answer the question concerning the connection of love and faith. Love is the condition of faith; and faith in turn is the cherisher and maturer of love; it brings love out into works, and therefore is called the root of works of love; the substance of the works is love, the outline and direction of them is faith.”

In this sermon, St. John Henry observes that there are many religious souls filled with faith, who do all things proper to the devout life, who fulfill all the religious acts in a dutiful way. But this kind of faith will not be complete unless it is rooted in love. He teaches, “Love then is the motion within us of the new spirit, the holy and renewed heart which God the Holy Ghost gives us.” It is this kind of love which brings life to our faith and to our works.

He further explains that faith is to love as religion is to holiness. Religion comes from without as Divine law whereas saying yes to this Divine law, acquiescing to it, comes from Love written upon our heart. “Love then is meditative, tranquil, pure, gentle, abounding in all offices of goodness and truth; and faith is strenuous and energetic, formed for this world, combating it, training the mind towards love, fortifying it in obedience . . . . ”

In this sermon St. Newman helps us understand faith as a living word. Since faith must come from and be rooted in the love of God, therefore it is faith without love that is dead. This might seem evident, but it is not. It is easy to go about our day, fulfilling our obligations, attending Mass, saying our prayers, volunteering, offering our suffering, but we must remember to stop and reflect often, “Why am I doing these things?” There is even the chance that we may develop pride in our religious acts. And this, warns John Henry, is a danger.

“O fearful lesson, to all those who are tempted to pride themselves in their labours, or sufferings, or sacrifices, or works! We are Christ’s, not by faith merely, nor by works merely, but by love . . .  it is love makes faith, not faith love. We are saved, not by any of these things, but by that heavenly flame within us, which, while it consumes what is seen, aspires to what is unseen. Love is the gentle, tranquil, satisfied acquiescence and adherence of the soul in the contemplation of God; not only a preference of God before all things, but a delight in Him because He is God, and because His commandments are good;” We need the right dispositions of love and humility to understand this, for as St. Paul teaches in Galatians: “the only thing that counts is faith working through love.” (Gal 5:6[j1] ).

This flame of love that Christians possess comes from the Holy Spirit who was sent into the world after the Ascension of our Lord. The Holy Spirit is Uncreated Charity who pours into our hearts the love of God. At the Ascension of Our Lord and the Apostles gathered in prayer awaiting this precious Gift. Like the Apostles, we pray: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

The Psalms, the "voice of the Church," invite us to enter into the sufferings of Christ and His people, and cling to God above all.

Applying Newman's theory, it seems clear that the notion that women's ordination to to the priesthood, would not maintain the type of the early Church.

In 1990, the International Theological Commission, issued a document titled "The Interpretation of Dogma" in which Newman's seven notes are endorsed.

The path forward for us personally and for the Church at large, requires returning to the core truths that Christ Himself has revealed to us.

We are made to be gifts to God and gifts to each other, body and soul; to go against God’s law, which is for our good, is to refuse the gift.

What does John Henry Newman mean by the words: "to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often?"

Listening to God is done keeping in mind the normative value of the whole of Tradition and of the Church’s Teaching.  

Our Books

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.
David Warren

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

Robert Kirkendall

The Psalms, the "voice of the Church," invite us to enter into the sufferings of Christ and His people, and cling to God above all.

Fr. Juan Velez

Applying Newman's theory, it seems clear that the notion that women's ordination to to the priesthood, would not maintain the type of the early Church.

Fr. Juan Velez

In 1990, the International Theological Commission, issued a document titled "The Interpretation of Dogma" in which Newman's seven notes are endorsed.

David Warren

The path forward for us personally and for the Church at large, requires returning to the core truths that Christ Himself has revealed to us.

Robert Kirkendall

We are made to be gifts to God and gifts to each other, body and soul; to go against God’s law, which is for our good, is to refuse the gift.

Fr. Juan Velez

What does John Henry Newman mean by the words: "to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often?"

Fr. Juan Velez

Listening to God is done keeping in mind the normative value of the whole of Tradition and of the Church’s Teaching.  

Fr. Juan Velez

The sensum fidelium is a confirmation of authentic doctrinal development in contrast to corruption of doctrine. It can also be described as a spiritual instinct for Catholic truths.