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Today men hunger to know.  We feed on reports from investigative journalists on political secrets and celebrity scandals.  We are unsatisfied with mystery.  What dominated coverage of the recent massacre in Las Vegas?  The intent of the shooter.  People wanted to know why he would murder with such calculated cruelty.  The answer to this mystery and many others about God and his work, have not been revealed to us.  In “The Christian Mysteries,” Blessed John Henry Newman, in revealing why God has not given us all understanding, helps us to rest in what we know by faith.

While the desire of the intellect to know is good, God has not given us knowledge of all things.  Even the understanding imparted by the Gospel does not remove the mysteries of the faith, and even heaps more mystery on man.  This is God’s design, for “the grace promised us is given, not that we may

know more, but that we may do better.”  How effortlessly man acquires knowledge, and how ready he is to avoid the heavy labor of living the truth: “And since men are apt to prize knowledge above holiness, [The Church is there] to warn us that the enlightening vouchsafed to us is not an understanding of ‘all mysteries and all knowledge,’ but that love or charity which is ‘the fulfilling of the Law.’”

The mysteries of the faith are many.  There is the mystery so often used as an objection to Christianity called the problem of pain.  Why is there pain and suffering in the world, especially if God is good?  There is the mystery of why others must suffer so that we may be saved.  For example, in the Old Testament, why did animals need to be sacrificed for the atonement of sin?  And in the New Testament, why did Christ need to suffer and die – could he atone for our sin in no other way?  And why are we favored above others, whether in physical abilities, social position, wealth, education, or even spiritual gifts?  About these mysteries and others Newman says we do not understand them, “because to know [them] is nothing to us; it would not make us better men to know [why].”  

Far from removing mysteries, revelation seems to multiply them, according to Newman.  “For instance, how infinitely important and blessed is the news of eternal happiness? but we learn in connexion with this joyful truth, that there is a state of endless misery too. Now, how great a mystery is this!”  While revealed truths do not directly create more mysteries, revelation acts upon our intellect as the Sun acts upon the earth,

“…for [mysteries] are as shadows brought out by the Sun of Truth.  When you knew nothing of revealed light, you knew not revealed darkness. Religious truth requires you should be told something, your own imperfect nature prevents your knowing all; and to know something, and not all,—partial knowledge,—must of course perplex; doctrines imperfectly revealed must be mysterious.”

Though they remain mysteries to us, their purpose is clear.  Newman explains that they serve to prove

the reality of our faith and to separate sincere believers from insincere ones.  In the sixth chapter of John, our Lord tells his followers that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood or they have no part in Him.  At this saying, many of them walked away and no longer followed Him.  Jesus even turned to his own disciples and asked if they too would leave.  At another point, He thanks the Father who “…hast hid these things from the wise and prudent (those who trust reason rather than Scripture and conscience), and hast revealed them unto babes (those who humbly walk by faith).”  

Our loving Father leads us by these mysteries, as if to say, “I will give you only what you need.  Do not be too proud to accept Truth, nor too fainthearted to act upon it.  You need only follow.”  No one has approached our Lord by mastery of knowledge, but only by humble obedience.  If we allow the mysteries of the faith to humble us, then they will also draw us; and then, even through shadows, Christ will bring us His light.

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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.
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

The Indwelling Spirit

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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The Fellowship of the Apostles

Preaching the truth means Jesus Christ is the goal in our conflicts with others – not winning the argument. This is why we can approach everyone with understanding, respect and patience, in other words, in a Christ-like way.

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Prof. Barb H. Wyman

Many Called, Few Chosen

Though the invitation is open to all, not everyone responds to it in faith. Those who accept the call, embrace Christ, and live according to His teachings; they are the chosen ones.

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The Gospel Feast

John Henry Newman calls the Holy Mass the Gospel Feast and takes us through numerous biblical passages that prefigure this great Sacrament.

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