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Posted June 9, 2012

Book: John Henry Newman: Spiritual Writings
Editor: John T. Ford
Orbis Books, New York. 2012. pp. 253

An Excerpt from the Introduction:

Hopefully the following pages will provide readers with a sense of Newman's spirituality as it developed during his life. Although there are numerous biographies of Newman --- a few are listed in the bibliography --- the introductory biography in this book attempts to highlight the key events and the key persons in his spiritual journey. Newman's spiritual journey is illustrated by thematic selections from his writings; correspondingly, the selections from his writings are linked to events of his life. As Pope Benedict XVI remarked at Newman's mass of beatification: "In Blessed John Henry, that tradition of gentle scholarship, deep human wisdom, and profound love for the Lord has borne rich fruit, as a sign of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit deep within the heart of God's people, bringing forth abundant gifts of holiness." Hopefully readers of this selection of Newman's spiritual writings will find Newman a spiritual mentor, as did many of his contemporaries.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Men, Not Angels, The Priests of the Gospel

. . .He has sent forth for the ministry of reconciliation, not Angels, but men; He has sent forth your brethren to you, not beings of some unknown nature and some strange blood, but of your own bone and your own flesh, to preach to you. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven?" Here is the royal style and tone in which Angels speak to men, even though these men be Apostles; it is the tone of those who, having never sinned, speak from their lofty eminence to those who have. But such is not the tone of those whom Christ has sent; for it is your brethren whom He has appointed, and none else --- sons of Adam, sons of nature, the same by nature, differing only in grace, --- men, like you, exposed to temptations, to the same temptations, to the same warfare within and without; with the same three deadly enemies --- the world, the flesh, and the devil; with the same human, the same wayward heart; differing only as the poser of God has changed and rules it. So it is; we are not Angels from Heaven that speak to you, but men, whom grace, and grace alone, has made to differ from you. Listen to the Apostle: -- When the barbarous Lycaonians, seeing his miracle, would have sacrificed to him and St. Barnabas, as to gods, he rushed in among them crying out, "O men, why do you this? We also are mortals, men like you.;" or, as the words run more forcefully in the original Greek, "We are of like passions with you.:

. . .Such are your Ministers, your Preachers, your Priests. O my brethren; not Angels, not Saints, not sinless, but those who would have lived and died in sin except for God's grace, and who, though through God's mercy they be in training for the fellowship of Saints hereafter, yet at present are in the midst of infirmity and temptation, and have no hope, except from the unmerited grace of God, of persevering unto the end.

Discourse to Mixed Congregations, 44-46

Table of Contents:

1. Family, Ealing school, "first conversion"
2. Student at Trinity College
3. Fellow of Oriel College
4. Anglican deacon and priest
5. Tutor of Oriel College
6. Vicar of Saint Mary's
7. Discovery of the Patristic Church
8. Mediterranean pilgrim
9. Early years of the Oxford Movement: 1833-1839
10. Crisis years of the Oxford Movement: 1839-1845
11. Oratorian
12. Educator
13. Advocate for the laity
14. Defender of belief
15. Champion of conscience
16. Cardinal
17. Blessed John Newman