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Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Lapse of Time
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Jack Nicklaus, arguably the greatest golfer of all time, was 10 years old when he first met Jack Grout, a golf instructor at Scioto Country Club outside of Columbus, OH. Nicklaus would never have another coach for the rest of his illustrious career. Even after winning major championships, he kept his routine of returning to Grout at the beginning of each season to review the fundamentals of his stroke. Nicklaus understood that he was never too seasoned or accomplished to work on the essential building blocks of his game. And so it is with us as we begin another year in our profession – becoming a saint, gaining heaven, knowing Jesus. In his sermon, “The Lapse of Time,” St. John Henry Newman urges us to review the fundamentals of our profession and not to lose sight of what really matters.

In any venture – sports, academics, business and the spiritual life – we may think we have mastered the basics because we have heard them. We know that one day we will die and that the way we lived our life here on earth will determine our eternal destiny. Others have said to us, “Live every day like your last.” But if this truth does not guide our everyday actions, we have to wonder if we really have a grasp of it. Newman says that to really know a truth we must dwell on it, “because by thinking over it steadily and seriously, we may possibly, through God’s grace, gain some deep conviction of it; whereas while we keep to general terms, and confess that this life is important and is short, in the mere summary way in which men commonly confess it, we have, properly speaking, no knowledge of that great truth at all.” It’s possible to know a truth without having a “deep conviction of it” as Newman says, without it penetrating our mind and heart. Like our Lady, who pondered our Lord’s birth in her heart, we too must dwell with the knowledge of our passing from this life into the next.

To help us dwell on this truth, Newman engages his listeners in an imaginative exercise – “let us follow the course of a soul thus casting off the world, and cast off by it. It goes forth as a stranger on a journey.” Newman wants us to practice a sort of lectio divina, entering into the truth so as to experience it ourselves. In this exercise, the soul leaves his earthly life behind and at once sees what it meant in light of eternity. Now there is no opportunity for change. Considering this state, Newman says,“How infinitely important now appears the value of time, now when it is nothing to him! Nothing; for though he spend centuries waiting for Christ, he cannot now alter his state from bad to good, or from good to bad. What he dieth that he must be for ever; as the tree falleth so must it lie.” 

Do we treat time, which is always slipping through our hands, as the precious resource it is? Catholic author and apologist Peter Kreeft calls time “our life’s blood.” If we are good stewards of our money, we keep a budget, but with time we are often wasteful. Newman comments: “what treasure can equal time? It is the seed of eternity: yet we suffer ourselves to go on, year after year, hardly using it at all in God’s service, or thinking it enough to give Him at most a tithe or a seventh of it, while we strenuously and heartily sow to the flesh, that from the flesh we may reap corruption.” 

Our Lord warned us to use our time well many centuries ago when he told the parable of the rich fool who had such plenty that he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones, then eat, drink and be merry for the rest of his life. Little did he know that night his “soul was required.” Here too Jesus invites us to enter into the story, and to feel what the rich fool felt. Our time is wasted on what is not essential; and nothing is more essential than our relationship with Christ.

Jesus doesn’t intend to scare us; He wishes to wake us up. We don’t know the day of our death or when the Lord will return. We only know that each passing day we are one day closer to our end, so while “it is still day” we have time to offer our lives to God. Perhaps this past year was full of wasted time and opportunities, of failures to surrender ourselves to God. But this is a new year, “behold, today is the day of salvation,” so let’s renew our commitment to the basics of our faith. Let’s do the fundamentals really well, with a simple, but concrete plan of life that helps us to stay close to our Lord. At the beginning of this year, we can take account of our time to see if we are using it well. Then we can make the most of our lives by allowing our Lord to sanctify each and every minute.

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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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