Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Christian Church a Continuation of the Jewish

As early as the first century A.D., it would have been common for Jewish boys to memorize large parts of the Scriptures, up to the entire Pentateuch. It seems like an impossible feat to many of us who can barely remember the few numbers we have put to memory, like our own phone number or SSN. But such was the value placed on Scripture, especially in a world where few other books were in circulation. Today, we have a glut of reading material and so many good books available to us, that we take the Scriptures for granted. St. John Henry Newman, in his sermon, “The Christian Church a Continuation of the Jewish” teaches us how to approach the Bible by showing us the unity of God’s revelation to us.

Newman approaches the Bible as a student ready to learn from a trusted teacher. He is open, curious and hungry for truth. He is questioning and does not dismiss difficulties and apparent contradictions, but he does not let them cloud his understanding of what is clearly true. He writes, “All Scripture has its difficulties; but let us not, on account of what is difficult, neglect what is clear. Let us be sure there are many things said in Scripture most clearly, many things which any one, under God’s grace, might gain for himself from Scripture, which we do not gain from it; many truths, which all men, if they carefully thought over the sacred text, would one and all agree in finding there.” 

One of those clearly understood truths is that the Scriptures have been given to us as a whole, and though it may take some work to see how each book fits into the story of salvation, this is our responsibility as students. Heretics throughout history have sought to emphasize differences in the Bible, such as Marcion of Sinope, who proposed that the Old Testament and New Testament described different gods, rather than one God. On the contrary, Newman explains how the prophecies found in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in the history of the Church: “What has taken place in the Christian Church is of course no fulfilment at all of promises made to the Jewish, unless in some very true sense they may be called one Church.” There are so many instances, Newman goes on to say, where Scripture speaks of the remnant of believers in each age that God sustains, whether from Noah’s ark, captivity in Egypt, captivity in Babylon and so on. This remnant is God’s holy Church: “I consider, then, that the word ‘remnant,’ so constantly used in Scripture, is the token of the identity of the Church, in the mind of her Divine Creator, before and after the coming of Christ.”

One does not need to be a Biblical scholar to begin to see the unity in Scripture as described by Newman. A child-like openness to truth and love of the Scriptures will take us a long way. In fact, one of the signs of fervent faith is a love of the Scriptures. Consider this passage from Psalm 119, which is King David’s hymn of praise to God’s Word: “In the way of thy testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on thy precepts and fix my eyes on thy ways.” When we reflect for a moment, we realize that this is a high view of the Bible, much higher than ours.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article concerning the rapid growth of Christianity and Islam in Africa, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto, Nigeria commented on how the growth of charismatic evangelicalism has affected Catholicism: “We needed Pentecostalism, you know, like a bit of a jab…One benefit of what I see in the relationship is that more and more Catholics are beginning to take the Bible seriously.”

What about us? Do we take the Bible seriously enough to read and meditate on it each day, perhaps reading the daily Gospel for the Mass and asking God to enlighten our understanding? Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “I read the paper every day and the Bible every day; that way I know what both sides are up to.” Brief but regular time spent reading God’s Word will foster our love for it, and in turn we will want to read it more. We will come to grow in union with Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God. Jesus, the Word made flesh, grant us a love for the Scriptures and receptiveness to the truth it teaches us.

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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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