The Paraclete, the Life of all things ~ Card. Newman

1) The Paraclete, the Life of all Things

 In Meditations and Devotions Blessed John Henry Newman has a number of reflections on the Holy Spirit. In the first one he praises God for the material creation, and for the burst of life in Spring, a reminder of God’s Presence. Still more He praises Him for giving new life to dead souls: ” It is by Thee that sinners are turned into saints. It is by Thee the Church is refreshed and strengthened, and champions start forth, and martyrs are carried on to their crown.”

 Newman goes to praise God the Holy Spirit for his constant help: “I acknowledge and feel, not only as a matter of faith but of experience, that I cannot have one good thought or do one good act without Thee.”

He closes the reflection recalling how in his youth God drew him to Himself: “O my dear Lord, how merciful Thou hast been to me. When I was young, Thou didst put into my heart a special devotion to Thee.” And he prays for God to lead him on gently and lovingly.

1. I ADORE Thee, my Lord and God, the Eternal Paraclete, co-equal with the Father and the Son. I adore Thee as the Life of all that live. Through Thee the whole material Universe hangs together and consists, remains in its place, and moves internally in the order and reciprocity of its several parts. Through Thee the earth was brought into its present state, and was matured through its six days to be a habitation for man. Through Thee, all trees, herbs, fruits, thrive and are perfected. Through Thee, spring comes after winter and renews all things. That wonderful and beautiful, that irresistible burst into life again, in spite of all obstacles, that awful triumph of nature, is but Thy glorious Presence. Through Thee the many tribes of brute animals live day by day, drawing in their breath from Thee. Thou art the life of the whole creation, O Eternal Paraclete—and if of this animal and material framework, how much more of the world of spirits! Through {397} Thee, Almighty Lord, the angels and saints sing Thee praises in heaven. Through Thee our own dead souls are quickened to serve Thee. From Thee is every good thought and desire, every good purpose, every good effort, every good success. It is by Thee that sinners are turned into saints. It is by Thee the Church is refreshed and strengthened, and champions start forth, and martyrs are carried on to their crown. Through Thee new religious orders, new devotions in the Church come into being; new countries are added to the faith, new manifestations and illustrations are given to the ancient Apostolic creed. I praise and adore Thee, my Sovereign Lord God, the Holy Ghost.

2. I adore Thee, O dread Lord, for what Thou hast done for my soul. I acknowledge and feel, not only as a matter of faith but of experience, that I cannot have one good thought or do one good act without Thee. I know, that if I attempt anything good in my own strength, I shall to a certainty fail. I have bitter experience of this. My God, I am only safe when Thou dost breathe upon me. If Thou withdraw Thy breath, forthwith my three mortal enemies rush on me and overcome me. I am as weak as water, I am utterly impotent without Thee. The minute Thou dost cease to act in me, I begin to languish, to gasp, and to faint away. Of my good desires, whatever they may be, of my good aims, aspirations, attempts, successes, habits, practices, Thou art the sole cause and present continual source. I have nothing but what I have received, and I protest now in Thy presence, O Sovereign Paraclete, that I have {398} nothing to glory in, and everything to be humbled at.

3. O my dear Lord, how merciful Thou hast been to me. When I was young, Thou didst put into my heart a special devotion to Thee. Thou hast taken me up in my youth, and in my age Thou wilt not forsake me. Not for my merit, but from Thy free and bountiful love Thou didst put good resolutions into me when I was young, and didst turn me to Thee. Thou wilt never forsake me. I do earnestly trust so—never certainly without fearful provocation on my part. Yet I trust and pray, that Thou wilt keep me from that provocation. O keep me from the provocation of lukewarmness and sloth. O my dear Lord, lead me forward from strength to strength, gently, sweetly, tenderly, lovingly, powerfully, effectually, remembering my fretfulness and feebleness, till Thou bringest me into Thy heaven.