Durer_Adoration_of_the_Trinity
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Who do we Proclaim? Part 1
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What could be harder to understand with our minds than God Himself? Yet, He it is we are called to know and to bring others to knowledge of Him. When God introduces Himself in Scripture, He uses plain words: to Moses he says, “I Am who I Am” and to the disciples Jesus says to baptize, “…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” As plain as this language is, we still cannot make sense of it.

In his sermon, “The Mystery of the Holy Trinity,” Blessed Newman says that we should not be surprised that these words are confusing, for so is the mystery itself. If we struggle with the words, it must be because we can only grasp at the reality of God. How humble a place we find ourselves in! But Newman tells us not to despair, for even if we cannot explain the mystery, we can at least state what we know as clearly as possible. This is Newman’s intention – to state the mystery clearly, “…impressing on our mind what [sic] it is that the Catholic Church means to assert, and as making it a matter of real faith and apprehension, and not a mere assemblage of words.”

When we study the Trinity, we must always begin with the One and move to the Three, Newman says. First, this is the way Scripture reveals the nature of God to us. In Genesis we hear that God created the heavens and the earth and in Deuteronomy 6:4 that “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” Second, if we begin with the three, we would “give false notions of the nature of that One.” So, then, what can we say about the One? Newman explains:

“God is one in the simplest and strictest sense…as truly one as any individual soul or spirit is one; nay, infinitely more truly so, because all creatures are imperfect, and He has all perfection. In Him there are no parts or passions, nothing inchoate or incomplete, nothing by communication, nothing of quality, nothing which admits of increase, nothing common to others. He is separate from all things, and whole, and perfect, and simple, and like Himself and none else…”

Without an earthly example, this is impossible to comprehend. At best we see in God separate qualities or attributes – wisdom, love, strength – but in reality there is no division in Him. He is so merciful that He even uses our imperfect understanding to describe Himself: “He deigns in mercy to us to speak of Himself…[as if] He could be angry, who is not touched by evil; or could repent, in whom there is no variableness; or had eyes, or arms, or breath, who is a Spirit…” Newman explains.

What we know about the One, and even what we don’t know, actually leads us to greater understanding of the Three. Newman offers two “illustrations,” and he is very careful to use that word, for these examples are not parallels to the Trinity (as that would be heretical), but they do serve to throw light on the nature of the Trinity.

We will examine these illustrations in part 2, but for now it is good to pause before the mystery of God as One. We cannot picture God’s infinite simplicity and perfection, but this should only cause us to wonder at this awesome God we serve. Now we pray with Newman, that with God’s help we may “sanctify our knowledge, and to impress it on our hearts, as well as to store it in our understandings!”

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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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