ImageAfter noting that good professors make a university, Newman addressed the question of whether professors from other countries would be welcomed to the University in Ireland.

Newman tells of a conversation with wealthy old friend, a retired widower who selfishly lived closed in on his own estate. His life consisted in “Easy circumstances, books, friends, literary connexions, the fine arts, presents from abroad, foreign correspondents, handsome appointments, elegant simplicity, gravel walks, lawns, flower beds, trees and shrubberies, summer houses”

Such a friend enjoyed occasional visits, but nothing more, “To a life such as this, a man is more attached, the longer he lives; and he would be more and more happy in it too, were it not for the memento within him, that books and gardens do not make a man immortal; that, though they do not leave him, he at least must leave them.”

Newman thought of the country life of the wealthy, which he describes as an “Epicurean life, the “otium cum dignitate,” the very type of human happiness.” This was “the dream of Roman poets from Virgil to Juvenal, and the reward of Roman statesmen from Cincinnatus to Pliny.”

Newman recalled schoolboy years when he had been to this country home. Upon reaching the gate of the house he teased his friend about being an old pagan fit for one of Cicero’s dialogues. The man retorted that Newman was a pretty fellow busying himself writing about Athens in his University Gazette. He asked why Newman had gone to Ireland and how he thought he would succeed there.

The old friend insisted that Newman was out of place in Ireland. “You are an Englishman; your mind, your habits are English; you have hitherto been acting only upon Englishmen, with Englishmen; do you really anticipate that you will be able to walk into a new world, and to do any good service there, because you have done it here?”

Newman replied that during Middle Ages Ireland had sent wise and learned men to teach abroad. He was sure that now too it had men that could teach in this university but that they would not monopolize the teaching chairs of the new university.

The old man however opined that the Irish would not welcome foreign students: “Irishmen boasted, and justly, that in ancient times they went to Melrose, to Malmesbury, to Glastonbury, to East Anglia, to Oxford; that they established themselves in Paris, Ratisbon, Padua, Pavia, Naples, and other continental schools; but there was in fact no reciprocity now; Paris had not been simply for Frenchmen, nor Oxford simply for Englishmen, but Ireland must be solely for the Irish.”

Newman answered his interlocutors that the Irish were interested in having the best men fill the new university chairs, wherever they were to be found, even though in particular cases there would be differences of opinion. The Irish had the sincere desire to make this institution a real honor to Ireland and a defence of Ireland’s faith.

The objection then arises whether Newman gave too much importance to distinguished teachers.

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Newman lays down a firm rule in the light of life's abundant blessings: the Christian is not allowed to be gloomy.

Newman wrote, “I have been accustomed to consider the action of the creator on and in the created universe, as parallel in a certain sense to that of the soul upon the body.”

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We need to remember our mortality, so that we may be ready to meet Our Lord each and every day. Lent and lenten mortifications have a role in this preparation. We must die to self daily, so that we may be brought to the glory of His resurrection. 

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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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