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Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
Saint Cardinal John Henry Newman
The Spiritual Mind, Part 3
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Newman asserts that to be a Christian calls for more than honesty, justice and temperance; it means to seek Christian perfection in Christ’s footsteps.

 

icon-of-our-lordThe Spiritual Mind, Part 3

To be a Christian is more than what most people believe it to be. They say they do not harm others; they are kind and take care of their families; they do not defraud or harm others.

Newman notes that it is possible to act with fairness and propriety, but not altogether in a Christian manner. He grants that these virtuous deeds may proceed from the heart and are praiseworthy, yet they do not determine that a person has received the Gospel of Christ in power. He asks the reason why and replies:

“For the simple reason that they are not enough. A Christian’s faith and obedience is built on all this, but is only built on it. It is not the same as it.”

To be a Christian, according to Newman, is more than being a good pagan. He explains that men must practice the human virtues so that they rise to the level of Christian virtues. According to the scholastic adage, grace builds on nature.

But “they must never be contented with themselves, or stand still and relax their efforts, but must go on unto perfection.”  Otherwise he feels they are not spiritual men: they are those who have received the kingdom of God in word, but not in power.

Quoting a number of passages of Scripture, Newman asserts that to be a Christian calls for more than honesty, justice and temperance. St. Paul, in one of the passages he quotes, says: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Also: “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” [2 Cor. v. 14, 17. Gal. ii. 20.]

Newman contends that the difference in being a Christian is made by the person of Jesus Christ. We must adore Christ as our Lord and love him as our Redeemer.

We must have a deep sense of our guilt, and of the difficulty of securing heaven; we must live as in His presence, daily pleading His cross and passion, thinking of His holy commandments, imitating His sinless pattern, and depending on the gracious aids of His Spirit; that we may really and truly be servants of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in whose name we were baptized.

Furthermore we must deny ourselves for his sake, also in lawful things, mastering our souls in order to serve Him, exercising humility, practicing charity and giving much of what we have. This is what it means to be a Christian, and it is only attained in some measure through God’s grace after many years of toil. By the time of our death we should have become what St. Paul calls ‘new creatures.’

Let us pray to God then that we may thus act without any calculation and for love of the truth. And without judging others for only God knows to whom the Gospel has been preached and the heart of each man. Rather, we must strive for the holiness of the Apostles.

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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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