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Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Invisible Presence of Christ
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In 1841, John Henry Newman was seeking reasons to remain in the Anglican Church. On Nov. 28, he preached a sermon, “The Invisible Presence of Christ,” the first of four sermons in which he argued for the safety of continuing in the Anglican Church despite doctrinal confusion and divisions. Newman found reasons which he developed in four sermons – until four years later, when he felt in conscience that he should ask to be admitted into the Roman Catholic Church. 

Without entering into a discussion of the reasons adduced by Newman and objections to these reasons, some ideas from his sermons apply to all Christians, and especially in the season of Advent when we can ask ourselves about the nature of God’s kingdom which Jesus came to inaugurate. Christ is present in the soul of each Christian in the state of grace and in the Blessed Sacrament as well as in its rites.

Newman quotes Christ: “The kingdom of God, cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! for the kingdom of God is within you.” (Lk 17: 21) He tells us why He was not observed; it was that He came, not as the world cometh, not by an influence from without, but by an inward power; not subduing the outward man through the senses, but touching the secret heart.”

Newman acknowledges that the kingdom of God also exists in the world and as such has external manifestations and developments, but he wishes his listeners to understand that Christ’s presence is foremost a spiritual one effected by God in the soul:

“It came by an inward and secret presence; by outward instruments, indeed, but with effects far higher than those instruments, and really by God’s own agency.”

Even though Christ came and inaugurated his kingdom we see and experience darkness in the world, sin and forgetfulness of God. Advent is a season of hope in which we recall God’s manifestation in the flesh and welcome Him again in our souls. 

Newman reminds us that: “Man is not sufficient for his own happiness; he is not happy except the Presence of God be with him. When he was created, God breathed into him that supernatural life of the Spirit which is his true happiness: and when he fell, he lost the divine gift, and with it his happiness also. Ever since he has been unhappy; ever since he has a void within him which needs filling, and he knows not how to fill it.”

Many people do not know Christ and of his first coming, even in countries with a Catholic heritage. And many others know about Christianity but are unsettled by religious disputes and differences among Christians.

“Look around you, my brethren, on every side: what, on the whole, is the religion of England? it is restlessness. Look round, I say, and answer, why it is that there is so much change, so much strife, so many parties and sects, so many creeds? because men are unsatisfied and restless.”

Indeed men are restless; they thirst for true peace and the meaning of life. In the meantime they are tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine. This very restlessness, however, is a sign of Christ, and a reason to pray more for people. We must say to people: Look at Christ; look at God who became incarnate in a little Child. He is the Savior of mankind. He will come one day in his Glory and gather his children for the glory of God.

Let us join, therefore, with all Christians in this Advent season, acknowledging the presence of Christ in the soul and wherever believers gather to pray in his name. Despite our differences we already experience the fruits of the Lord’s first coming and await with hope his future coming.


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There is a clear picture that emerges from these glimpses into life at The Oratory School: Education was in service of man, not the other way around. Play found its proper place, not only as a balance to rigorous academic study, but as an important part of human development.

O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.

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What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

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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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