As the mother of four young adult children, including one still in college, I am constantly seeking spiritual material succinct enough to fit into their busy schedules but powerful enough to inspire them on their journeys. Five minutes a day is all that is needed to empower all who read this thought-provoking and very complete collection of reflections that provide the most essential food for the spirit. While most of John Henry Newman’s writings may not be addressed to the general public, this soon-to-be beatified man’s work should be more widely known. This compilation of Newman’s reflections combined with key scripture verses is accessible to all readers. Every one of the 76 meditations are special, but the ones that my own children liked best were: “The Soul’s Happiness” (mere knowledge kindles no love); “The World Is Too Small to Satisfy Us” (reminding our children that in an overly materialistic world, only God can satisfy our deepest longings); “Check Your Emotions” (Newman urges the use of reason to take prayerful control of our passions and emotions); “What Are You Looking For” (seeking only wealth, power, pleasure or comfort will never fully satisfy our spirit that yearns to know Christ); and “Life Without God” (helping others to know God’s joy and grace while not allowing dark corners in our lives to remain without the light of the Spirit). The “Think About It” section at the end of each meditation challenges the reader to quietly and prayerfully seek God’s response in their own souls. I will encourage each of my children to begin the day with one of Newman’s kernels of wisdom, confident that those few minutes in prayerful reflection will initiate a conversation with God and sustain them all day long. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all parents as a powerful and effective tool in guiding our children (and us) to resist all that is negative in the world and replace it with God’s light shining through them. I thank God for the authors who edited Cardinal Newman’s texts providing us with an anointed book that brings to life the best of a future saint.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.”