Jesus on the Cross I
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Hurricane Ian and the Mystery of Evil
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In the final week of September 2022, Hurricane Ian first struck Cuba and afterwards Florida, as a Category 4 storm, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

The images speak for themselves. We think of the people who in a matter of just a few hours have had their lives turned upside down, and who are suffering.  We pray for them, and for Governor De Santis of Florida, the first responders, the civic authorities, the health care professionals and others working so hard to assist the people. The ill and elderly are especially vulnerable and frightened.

In such situations people understandably ask: Why does God allow evil like this? Why do innocent people suffer? It is the question Job’s friends ask him in the Book of Job. Initially Job said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

Soon though he mourned: “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.” (Job 3:3). After a period of vexation and doubt, Job persevered in his trust of God.

St. John Henry Newman offers us a helpful reflection on suffering.  In the following text he reminds us that  worldly happiness is fleeting and how by means of affliction, God makes us like Christ:

“Such is worldly happiness and worldly trial; but Almighty God, while He chose the latter as the portion of His Saints, sanctified it by His heavenly grace, to be their great benefit. He rescues them from the selfishness of worldly comfort without surrendering them to the selfishness of worldly pain. He brings them into pain, that they may be like what Christ was, and may be led to think of Him, not of themselves. He brings them into trouble, that they may be near Him. When they mourn, they are more intimately in His presence than they are at any other time. Bodily pain, anxiety, bereavement, distress, are to them His forerunners. It is a solemn thing, while it is a privilege, to look upon those whom He thus visits.” (Affliction, a School of Comfort, PPS V)

He continues with a passage which calls for a slow reading and repeated meditation. It is about the figure of a person who suffered and died: 

“And in like manner, when a man, in whom dwells His grace, is lying on the bed of suffering, or when he has been stripped of his friends and is solitary, he has, in a peculiar way, tasted of the powers of the world to come, and exhorts and consoles with authority. He who has been long under the rod of God, becomes God’s possession. He bears in his body marks, and is sprinkled with drops, which nature could not provide for him.” 

This person feels himself singled out and afflicted by God. He feels forsaken, yet he becomes a minister of consolation for others.

When we  go through affliction we  can better help others who suffer. We can  become ministers of consolation for those afflicted. We realize and understand first hand the suffering of others. We become more aware and sensitive to their pain.. Their suffering is no longer something abstract.

 Someone from Louisiana who has been through the destruction of the recent hurricanes there, commented: “one day you go to the grocery store thinking about the weekend and then two days later the store is gone. You are brought face to face with  the passing nature of this world.” We are then drawn to think about the eternal things which moth, rust, or wind and water … cannot take away: our souls and God.

 In like situations of natural disasters we can exercise charity with others. Consider the countless men and women risking their lives to save others, their neighbors or rescue personnel. These days people have already shown countless acts of generosity with those in need in Florida. For instance, a  friend in Naples (Florida) was able to rescue an elderly woman dependent on oxygen from her flooded home, and take her into his home.

The suffering of natural disasters or of innocent people is always a trial and a test to our faith. But we can find comfort in God’s love for us made present in the closeness and charity of others. Think of whom you can reach out to help, and pray more for those afflicted by this hurricane and other disasters.

 

 

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For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

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.
Fr. Peter Conley

For forty days we are in ‘spiritual circuit training’, with the goal of joining St Peter on his morning run to Christ’s tomb.

David Warren

But our Lord is clear: He said “to all” that “if any” man, and in doing so both offers Himself to every man and leaves no room for half-hearted disciples.

Robert Kirkendall

Newman encourages us to be more of what we are: courageous Christians who do all we can, to our utmost, for His Kingdom.

Prof. Barb H. Wyman

In this ingenious poem, “Candlemas,” Saint John Henry Newman weaves together the entire liturgical year using the theme of light as the thread

Scott Goins

Newman approached his teaching from an obviously Christian anthropology. He saw every young person from the start as a being in the image of God.

David Warren

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is?

Fr. Peter Conley

Dominic abundantly shared with John Henry the gifts inspired by the Saints he admired, who are recorded in his spiritual journal.

Robert Kirkendall

The contemplation of Him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections.

Fr. Juan Velez

Merry Christmas to all! In the following video from Colombia, I send you a warm greetings for Christmas. May God richly bless you and your families, and may St. John Henry Newman continue to be a source of inspiration for