Thrilling news today that Blessed John Henry Newman will be canonised in Rome at 10 am on Sunday 13th October. Cardinal Newman remains a central figure in the life and work of both the Congregation of the Oratory in England (which he founded), and the Personal Ordinariates (he is the patron of the English and Welsh Ordinariate). His writings, devotions, prayers, hymns and meditations continue to enliven and inspire, drawing Anglicans and others into the fulness of Catholic communion; a journey he himself made ‘out of the shadows and symbols unto truth’. On this traditional feast day of the Most Precious Blood (to which the whole of July is dedicated), a meditation, by Newman, exhorting us to trust in that Blood.
‘There are men who think that God is so great that He disdains to look down upon us, our doings and our fortunes. But He who did not find it beneath His Majesty to make us, does not think it beneath Him to observe and to visit us. He says Himself in the Gospel: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God. Yea, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows”. He determined from all eternity that He would create us. He settled our whole fortune – and, if He did not absolutely decree to bring us to heaven, it is because we have free will, and by the very constitution of our nature He has put it in part out of His own power, for we must do our part, if to heaven we attain. But He has done every thing short of this. He died for us all upon the Cross, that, if it were possible to save us, we might be saved. And He calls upon us lovingly, begging us to accept the benefit of His meritorious and most Precious Blood. And those who trust Him He takes under His special protection. He marks out their whole life for them; He appoints all that happens to them; He guides them in such way as to secure their salvation; He gives them just so much of health, of wealth, of friends, as is best for them; He afflicts them only when it is for their good; He is never angry with them. He measures out just that number of years which is good for them; and He appoints the hour of their death in such a way as to secure their perseverance up to it’.
Blessed John Henry Newman, 1801-1890
Fr Lee Kenyon