Jesus on the Cross I
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Jesus, our Daily Sacrifice
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Being the Lord of Grace, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Eternal King, the Lover of our souls, and our Guide and Guardian, Jesus wills finally to be our Daily Sacrifice. In this last of Blessed Newman’s reflections for Good Friday, we hear of God with us.

It did not satisfy Jesus to offer himself on the cross for the benefit of those who witnessed this historical event; for all that would come after he desired to “…perpetuate my Sacrifice, that each of them may be as though they had been severally present on Calvary. I will offer Myself up day by day to the Father, that every one of my followers may have the opportunity to offer his petitions to Him, sanctified and recommended by the all-meritorious virtue of my passion.” This he does of his of his own will – “My priests shall stand at the altar – but not they, but I rather, will offer.” There is great power in these words Newman imagines coming from the mouth of Christ. They are spoken with authority and tenderness at the same time. His power is in weakness: the laying down of his life for us. No one else has ever had the capacity for this kind of love.

Nor is he content to let his body and blood be represented in this sacrifice; he wants to be there himself: “I will not let them offer mere bread and wine, but I myself will be present upon the Altar instead, and I will offer up myself invisibly, while they perform the outward rite.”

He offers himself fully and faithfully. “He makes Himself a perpetual, a daily sacrifice, to the end of time,” as if to prove those words in the epistle to the Hebrews, “…for he has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” In the end, this is the nature of love, for it draws us toward our beloved. And this means we are God’s beloved.

If we are ever to believe this, it is on this Good Friday, when we come face to face with our Jesus who offers his whole life for us. It is only by the mercy of God that when we contemplate this truth, our hearts expand like a balloon filling with air, and yet they do not burst. Each of Newman’s meditations for this day are a reminder that God who is beyond our comprehension is at the same time present to us in the most intimate way.

Newman closes by praying for “for all who day by day have calls upon us.” Why this prayer? Because we have been given “the gift,” as Newman says, to pray for ourselves and intercede for others in the Mass. He ends, “Bring us all after the troubles of this life into the haven of peace, and reunite us all together for ever, O my dear Lord, in Thy glorious heavenly kingdom.”

Today, we pause to see our Lord upon the cross. He gazes back at us with tenderness. He has offered us his whole life. We say to him, “Yes, Dear Lord. Help me to give myself daily to you, as you have given yourself daily to me.”

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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.”

For a Christian, death is no longer defeat nor something to fear, rather it is the sign of Christ’s victory.

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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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