Jesus Knocking at the Door
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Lord of Grace
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This third meditation from Cardinal Newman on grace is hardly soft.  His words run like a cold glass of water down the throat.  He begins:

WHEN our Lord rejected His own countrymen, the Jews, who had rejected Him, He chose other nations instead of them… He had warned the Jews of this, before their time of grace was over. “I say unto you,” He said, “that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt. xxi. 43)

God rejects those who reject him.  We bristle at these words and wonder if they are fair.  Is God cruel?  For Newman, God does not reject the Jews, or anyone, out of cruelty or dislike; he honors our decision to reject Him.  He is actually the Lord of grace who, owing man nothing, bestows unmerited grace on him.  He is the Lord of grace who, respecting human freedom, forces no one to accept him.  He is the Lord of grace who, having been denied, turns to those who would hear him.

He stands at the door and knocks to any who will open to him.  But those who open to him, Newman says, have no occasion for boasting.  Just as the Jews did not earn God’s grace, neither have the Gentiles after them; and just as the Jews were rejected in rejecting him, so are the Gentiles at similar risk:

And if God cast off His own people, the Jews, so, much more, will He cast off any other people who cast off Him. Hence the same St. Paul says, “If some of the branches (Rom. xi. 17-21) (that is, the Jews) be broken (off), and thou (that is, a man of some other nation) art ingrafted in them (instead), and art made partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree; boast not … Because of unbelief they were broken off; but thou standest by faith; be not high-minded, but fear. For, if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest He spare not thee.”

At this Newman’s meditation takes a personal turn.  Immediately he remembers the spiritual heritage of his own country, and moved with pity and regret at her waywardness, writes:

This misery has happened to this country, to our own England; God chose it and blessed it for near a thousand years; it rebelled, lost faith, and He cast it off out of His Church.

As Americans we share his concern for our own country, having also neglected the grace it received at its founding. Newman ends by praying for mercy on his homeland:

“…it was by Thy unmerited grace, we acknowledge it, O Lord, that this country of ours was so many centuries ago brought into the true fold, and gifted with the knowledge of Thy Truth and the grace of Thy Sacraments. Alas! how things have changed since then! The people was small then and of little account; now it stands highest among the nations of the earth. Then it was obscure and poor—now it has amazing wealth and pre-eminent power; but then it was great in Thy sight, and now on the contrary it is little, for it has lost Thee. O my God, what doth it profit, though we gain the whole world and lose our own souls?…O, look not upon our haughtiness and pride; look not upon our contempt of truths invisible; look not upon our impurity; but look upon Thy own merits; look upon the wounds in Thy hands; look upon Thy past mercies towards us; and, in spite of our wilfulness, subdue our hearts to Thee, O Saviour of men, and renew Thy work in the midst of the years, in the amidst of the years re-establish Thou it. 

“Subdue our hearts” he prays, because it is in the nature of grace to overwhelm.  We need only crack open the door to let our Lord’s love come bounding through.  We pray with Newman, subdue our hearts Lord, and the hearts of our neighbors and countrymen, that we would return and abide in 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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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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