Tag Archives: Blessed John Henry Newman

Newman: Happiness, the ways by which perfection is reached

English: Portrait painting of John Henry Newman

Discernment of God’s will difficult, and living with the gift of happiness God hasgiven each of one us is a challenging thing. We can get in the way and obscure what is real and what is fantasy. I was speaking with a friend yesterday and our conversation at one point turned to John Henry Newman. Newman knows all! (So does Balthasar, Ratzinger Giussani, to name a few people). My friend and I are trying to locate happiness: what it is, what it is not, how do I experience it, and where, etc. Happiness is not easy to categorize, accept, give, reverence, promote, etc. What is clear is that true happiness involves God and life in God; what is less clear are the contours of that happiness and even lesser is knowing how my participation in happiness is supposed to be as God wants. If you find theway to happiness that is coherent, let us know. In the meantime, Newman makes sense especially in pointing to the fact that we have to have a level of abandonment to the will of God. 

On this day in 1848 Newman wrote the following:

1. GOD has created all things for good; all things for their greatest good; everything for its own good. What is the good of one is not the good of another; what makes one man happy would make another unhappy. God has determined, unless I interfere with His plan, that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness. He looks on me individually, He calls me by my name, He knows what I can do, what I can best be, what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it me.

2. 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.

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Visiting clerics in prison –a provocation to conversion

Recent revelations, though not completely surprising, of the high ranking LA cleric covering the tracks of priests’ immoral and criminal behavior, ought to cause us all to stop, think, pray and work for change in the Church. Some bishops and priests in this country have not acted in the manner of the Good Shepherd, have not lived in communion with Jesus Christ and have opened the doors to further disaster with regard to the ordinary faithful. AND “Msgr. Meth” is yet another story.

John Zmirak’s “I’d Like to Visit Cardinal Mahoney in Prison” should make you stop and think what exactly we have gotten ourselves into when we’ve neglected some very important spiritual and human of our person. Cardinal Roger Mahoney is only the latest to have been exposed for being a bad Catholic.

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Saint Bartholomew

St Bartholomew MdiGiovanni.jpgNathanael was one of Christ’s first converts, yet his name does not occur again till the last chapter of St. John’s Gospel, where he is mentioned in company with certain of the Apostles, to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection. Now, why should the call of Nathanael have been recorded in the opening of the Gospel, among the acts of Christ in the beginning of His Ministry, unless he was an Apostle? Philip, Peter, and Andrew, who are mentioned at the same time, were all Apostles; and Nathanael’s name is introduced without preface, as if familiar to a Christian reader. At the end of the Gospel it appears again, and there too among Apostles. Besides, the Apostles were the special witnesses of Christ, when He was risen.  He manifested Himself, “not to all the people,” says Peter, “but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.” [Acts x. 41.] Now, the occasion on which Nathanael is mentioned, was one of these manifestations. “This is now the third time,” says the Evangelist, “that Jesus was manifested to His disciples, after that He was risen from the dead.” It was in the presence of Nathanael, that He gave St. Peter his commission, and foretold his martyrdom, and the prolonged life of St. John. All this leads us to conjecture that Nathanael is one of the Apostles under another name. Now, he is not Andrew, Peter, or Philip, for they are mentioned in connexion with him in the first chapter of the Gospel; nor Thomas, James, or John, in whose company he is found in the last chapter; nor Jude (as it would seem), because the name of Jude occurs in St. John’s fourteenth chapter. Four Apostles remain, who are not named in his Gospel,–St. James the Less, St. Matthew, St. Simon, and St. Bartholomew; of whom St. Matthew’s second name is known to have been Levi, while St. James, being related, was not at any time a stranger to our Lord, which Nathanael evidently was. If then Nathanael were an Apostle, he was either Simon or Bartholomew. Now it is observable, that, according to St. John, Philip brought Nathanael to Christ; therefore Nathanael and Philip were friends: while in the other Gospels, in the list of Apostles, Philip is associated with Bartholomew; “Simon and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew.” [Matt. x. 3.] This is some evidence that  Bartholomew and not Simon is the Nathanael of St. John. On the other hand, Matthias has been suggested instead of either, his name meaning nearly the same as Nathanael in the original language. However, since writers of some date decide in favour of Bartholomew, I shall do the like in what follows.

What then do we learn from his recorded character and history? It affords us an instructive lesson. When Philip told him that he had found the long-expected Messiah of whom Moses wrote, Nathanael (that is, Bartholomew) at first doubted. He was well read in the Scriptures, and knew the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem; whereas Jesus dwelt at Nazareth, which Nathanael supposed in consequence to be the place of His birth,–and he knew of no particular promises attached to that city, which was a place of evil report, and he thought no good could come out of it.

Philip told him to come and see; and he went to see, as a humble single-minded man sincerely desirous to get at the truth. In consequence, he was vouchsafed an interview with our Saviour, and was converted.

Blessed John Henry Newman
Plain and Parochial Sermons

Can’t be called a Theist if you don’t believe in a Personal God

trinity MASTER of the Votive Picture of Sankt Lambrech.jpg

No one is to be called a Theist, who does not believe in a Personal God, whatever difficulty there may be in defining the word “Personal.” Now it is the belief of Catholics about the Supreme Being, that this essential characteristic of His Nature is reiterated in three distinct ways or modes; so that the Almighty God, instead of being One Person only, which is the teaching of Natural Religion, has Three Personalities, and is at once, according as we view him in the one or the other of them, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit–a Divine Three, who bear towards Each Other the several relations which those names indicate, and are {125} in that respect distinct from Each Other, and in that alone.

John Henry Newman

An Essay in aid of a Grammar of Assent, Chapter 5

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Exaltation of the Cross Pdella Francesca.jpg

Consummatum est. It is completed — it has come to a full end. The mystery of God’s love toward us is accomplished. The price is paid, and we are redeemed. The Eternal Father determined not to pardon us without a price, in order to show us especial favor. He condescended to make us valuable to Him. What we buy we put a value on. He might have saved us without a price –by the mere fiat of His will. But to show His love for us He took a price, which, if there was to be a price set upon us at all, if there was any ransom at all to be taken for the guilt of our sins, could be nothing short of the death of His Son in our nature. O my God and Father, Thou hast valued us so much as to pay the highest of all possible prices for our sinful souls– and shall we not love and choose Thee above all things as the one necessary and one only good?

Blessed John Henry Newman

Meditation on the 12th Station

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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