statue
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Dream of Gerontius, Part 3
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statueNewman reflects more on the dying Gerontius. His soul has entered another life. It is severed from his body:

“I went to sleep; and now I am refresh’d,

A strange refreshment: for I feel in me

An inexpressive lightness, and a sense

Of freedom, as I were at length myself,

And ne’er had been before. How still it is!

I hear no more the busy beat of time,

No, nor my fluttering breath, nor struggling pulse;

Nor does one moment differ from the next.”

 

Gerontius sees his death as if in a dream. The soul is aware of what has happened to it, and to its friends surrounding it:

 

“I had a dream; yes:—some one softly said

“He’s gone;” and then a sigh went round the

room.

And then I surely heard a priestly voice

Cry “Subvenite;” and they knelt in prayer.

I seem to hear him still; but thin and low,

And fainter and more faint the accents come,

As at an ever-widening interval.

Ah ! whence is this? What is this severance?”

 

The soul continues its musings:

 

“Am I alive or dead? I am not dead,

But in the body still; for I possess

A sort of confidence which clings to me,

That each particular organ holds its place

As heretofore, combining with the rest

Into one symmetry, that wraps me round,

And makes me man; and surely I could move,

Did I but will it, every part of me.

And yet I cannot to my sense bring home

By very trial, that I have the power.”

 

The soul of Gerontius is in a world where time and space is not what we know. The soul says:

 

“So much I know, not knowing how I know,

That the vast universe, where I have dwelt,

Is quitting me, or I am quitting it.

Or I or it is rushing on the wings

Of light or lightning on an onward course,

And we e’en now are million miles apart.

Yet … is this peremptory severance

Wrought out in lengthening measurements of space

Which grow and multiply by speed and time?

Or am I traversing infinity

By endless subdivision, hurrying back

From finite towards infinitesimal,

Thus dying out of the expansive world?”

 

At this point the dream of Gerontius begins to unveil the mysterious world of the angels: the Guardian Angels, the Seraphim and the Cherubim, as well as the fallen angels. The soul is aware of its guardian angel taking it to Christ:

 

“Another marvel: some one has me fast

Within his ample palm; ’tis not a grasp

Such as they use on earth, but all around

Over the surface of my subtle being,

As though I were a sphere, and capable

To be accosted thus, a uniform

And gentle pressure tells me I am not

Self-moving, but borne forward on my way.

And hark! I hear a singing; yet in sooth

I cannot of that music rightly say

Whether I hear, or touch, or taste the tones.

Oh, what a heart-subduing melody!”

 

Then the Guardian Angel exclaims:

 

“My work is done,

My task is o’er,

And so I come,

Taking it home,

For the crown is won,

Alleluia,

For evermore.

 

My Father gave

In charge to me

This child of earth

E’en from its birth,

To serve and save,

Alleluia,

And saved is he.

 

This child of clay

To me was given,

To rear and train

By sorrow and pain

In the narrow way,

Alleluia,

From earth to heaven.”

 

This is a picture of the marvelous world hereafter and of the help of our guardian angels. When was the last time you spoke to your Guardian Angel? Befriend him and he will guide you and protect you.

 

 

 

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The world which sees only appearances cannot comprehend the hidden reality of a heart captive to Christ. 

With this indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the indwelling of Christ in our souls. Christ is born in us. The Holy Spirit makes us children of God, crying out Abba Father, and restores in us the likeness of Christ.

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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)

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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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