Who formed the mind of man
In complex and mysterious ways
Within Your loving plan,
We thank You now for calling forth
This priest who praised Your Name
By teaching and exalting you
In words of living flame.
John Henry Newman, England’s son,
Was formed in Oxford’s halls,
Endowed with tow’ring intellect
To answer all the calls
Which Church and University
Gave forth in times of doubt,
A rebirth of the ancient truths
As rain for minds in drought.
He served the Church of England well
With scholarship and grace,
Restoring ancient roots of faith,
Removing error’s trace.
But scorned by leaders of his time,
He left his Oxford home,
In search of kindly, leading light
Which led him on toward Rome.
Attracted by St. Philip’s work,
He joined that band of men,
And as an Oratorian,
He worked with voice and pen,
That heart to heart might ever speak,
Revealing Christ’s own truth,
Unfolding doctrine’s mysteries
For elder and for youth.
As had his Master, Newman found
Suspicion, scorn, and hate;
From those he left and those he joined,
Which nothing could abate;
Yet, undeterred, he struggled on
Beneath this cross’s weight
Through shadows and imaginings
To God’s own truth so great.
O God of subtle craft and mind,
O only Source of light,
O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
Our strength in truth’s own fight:
We give you thanks for blessed John,
Who leads us still this day:
With him, let us in faithfulness
Still walk in Truth’s own way.
© 2010, J. Michael Thompson
Tune: Forest Green (86.86.D)
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