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IMG_0048Every century has a few great men or women who shine as light for their contemporaries: an Augustine in the 4th century, a Charlemagne in the 9th century, a Catherine of Siena in the 14th century. In the 20th century John Paul II stands out as one of these along with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and St. Josemaría Escrivá to name a few. Men do not become saints; God makes saints with men’s cooperation. And the saints teach us how to use our intellect and freedom to love God and to love men for his sake.

In his long pontificate John Paul II advanced an understanding of all the great subjects of Vatican II through his encyclicals and other papal pronouncements and addresses. He taught men and women about the dignity of human life and man’s highest calling: love for God. He is the Pope who has articulated best a Christian anthropology for a proper understanding of human sexuality according to God’s plan for marriage and family.

St. John Paul II shared some important traits with Blessed John Henry Newman. They both had a high regard for the role of human reasoning in the work of theology; both had a very good knowledge and appreciation for world and Church history; both fostered the education and holiness of laity; and both were men of deep prayer and faith.

In a century characterized not only by war and violent class struggles but also by a growing skepticism of the power of reason, Pope John Paul II shared Newman’s confidence in reason aided by faith and passion for truth. On various occasions during his pontificate he praised the example of the Anglican convert.

In 1990, on the centenary of Newman’s death, he wrote letter to the Archbishop of Birmingham: “Newman’s long life shows him to have been an ardent disciple of truth. The unfolding of his career confirms the single-heartedness of his aims as expressed in the following words which he made his own: “My desire hath been to have Truth for my chiefest friend, and no enemy but error” (J. H. Newman The Via Media, London 1911, vol. 1, pp. XII-XIII). In periods of trial and suffering he persevered with confidence, knowing that time was on the side of truth.”

In the same letter he lauded Newman’s vision of conscience as the voice of God in the soul. And explained that, “the inner light of conscience puts a person in contact with the reality of a personal God.” Obedience to this light leads from one truth to another and ultimately to the Christian faith.

On January 20, 1991, John Paul II signed the decree acknowledging the heroic virtues of the servant of God John Henry Newman thus declaring him venerable. In the encyclical Veritatis Splendor (1993), he spoke of the man’s grave moral obligation to seek and adhere to the truth, citing Newman as an example: “As Cardinal John Henry Newman, that outstanding defender of the rights of conscience, forcefully put it: “Conscience has rights because it has duties.” One day Newman may indeed be called the Doctor of Conscience for his writings on the subject and his adherence to it.

Later in the encyclical Fides et Ratio (1998), John Paul II listed John Henry Newman first among a list of thinkers in the West who like the Medieval Doctors sought the “same fruitful relationship between philosophy and the word of God” in the courageous research which they pursued.

After the death of John Paul II, the Pope who succeeded him was another admirer and student of Newman. Benedict XVI shared Newman’s vision of reason and conscience, and after the recognition of a miraculous cure attributed to the intercession of Newman decreed his beatification. With special joy, and departing from custom, Pope Benedict XVI traveled to England where he beatified John Henry Newman on September 19, 2010.

In the course of history saints bring before us the life and teaching of saints who preceded them and through whom God wished to reveal special insights to men. This is clearly the case in the pontificate of John Paul II who shed light on John Henry Newman and his teaching. We rejoice in the light these great men shine for us and the world.

 

 

 

 

 

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Newman lays down a firm rule in the light of life's abundant blessings: the Christian is not allowed to be gloomy.

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.”

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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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