John Henry Newman 1801- 1890 – Canonisation October 13th 2019

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John Henry Newman has been described as a writer, educator, theologian, poet, philosopher.  The National Catholic Report has an article with the title “With Newman the church gains its Saint for modern times”.

Naturally he dealt with issues from a 19th century viewpoint, using 19th century language.  Yet his writings are relevant today especially on topics like education, the role of the laity, conscience among other areas.  It has been said that much of his thinking laid the foundation for Vatican II.

Here we share just a few snippets from the writings:

“I am created to do something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed a man, God knows me and calls me by my name.
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.  I have my mission, I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.  Somehow I am necessary for His purpose ………..

I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons.  He has not created me for naught.  I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling”.

– Meditations and Devotions

“What I desiderate in Catholics is the gift of bringing out what their religion is – I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it.

I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity, I wish you to enlarge your knowledge, to cultivate your reason, to get an insight into the relation of truth to truth, to learn to view things as they are, to understand how faith and reason stand to each other; what are the bases and principles of Catholicism”.

– Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England

“God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not.  There is no rule about what is happy and good; what suits one would not suit another.  And the ways by which perfection is reached vary very much; the medicines necessary for our souls are very different from each other.  Thus God leads us by strange ways; we know He wills our happiness, but we neither know what our happiness is, nor the way.  We are blind; left to ourselves we should take the wrong way; we must leave it to Him.

Le us put ourselves into His hands, and not be startled though He leads us by a strange way………….

Let us be sure He will lead us right, that He will bring us to that which is, not indeed what we think best, nor what is best for another, but what is best for us”.

– Meditations and Devotions

Prayer for Perseverance

Perhaps Newman’s most famous prayer of all is the much loved Prayer for Perseverance:

May Christ support us all the day long
Till shades lengthen
And the evening comes
And the busy world is hushed
And a fever of life is over
And our work is done.
Then in his mercy
May give us safe lodging
A holy rest
And peace at last.

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