Friday, March 04, 2005

On March 4, 1879...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., received a letter....

As it is no longer doubtful that the Holy Father has offered to you a place in the College of Cardinals, and he has done this so as to secure acceptance on your part, you will allow me, I am sure, to offer you for myself and for the English Province of the Society of Jesus our affectionate and respectful congratulations. The news has been to us a source of singular and unmixed pleasure, and we have many reasons to thank God and the Holy Father for the wise and graceful act by which you are chosen for the highest dignity in the Church.

I don't think anything less than this would satisfy the great body of Catholics in England and Ireland that the character and greatness of the services you have rendered to the Church and to the Holy See were understood in Rome. We have at length reason to know that they are understood, and their recognition and approval will win the hearts of many to the Vicar of Christ and bind more closely to him those that are already his.

I hope that God will spare you long to guide the hearts of many that are turning towards you, and to use the great influence that he has given you for the honour and service of our Mother, the Church.

Believe me,
Yours most respectfully,

He replied:

Your letter was as great a surprise to me as a pleasure.

I know we must look elsewhere for the true approbation of our doings; but in sincerity I say that there could not here below be a notice of me, favourable to my attempts in past times to serve religious objects, which is more grateful to me, or has given me more deep satisfaction, than the congratulations sent at this time by a body of men so highly endowed as your Fathers.

I am very conscious of the great imperfection of those attempts; but it is a great thing to know how kindly your Fathers think of the upshot of them, and how warm an interest they take in me personally.

That their generosity may be returned in blessings on themselves is the sincere prayer of
Yours most truly in Christ,
The Feast of Pope St. Lucius I
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Casimir of Poland.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

On March 2, 1870...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., wrote to a friend about his recently-finished An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent:

You will be disappointed with my Grammar, and so will every one be. It is what it is, and it is not what it isn't—and what it isn't most people will expect that it is. It won't be out for 10 days or a fortnight yet. It is my last work—I say "work," for though I may fiddle-faddle henceforth, a real piece of labour will be beyond me. This is what old men cannot do—and when they attempt it, they kill themselves. An old horse, or an old piece of furniture, will last a long time, if you take care of it,—so will the brain—but if you forget that it is old, it soon reminds you of the fact by ceasing to be.
What are they thinking ?

Link courtesy of Catholic Light.
The Feast of St. Chad, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here. I find this particular quote from the webmaster interesting:

I still get email from visitors asking if Chad is the patron of elections, disputes, disputed elections, losers, or some other element related to 2000's disputed American presidential election. I have absolutely no evidence that there are patrons of elections, and certainly none that Chad has anything to do with it. It was not until 31 October 2000 that politicians and elected officials received a patron, and that's Saint Thomas More. Times were rough in 7th century England, but I have no record of Chad hanging, dangling, dimpled or pregnant. As you see above, he was involved in a disputed election, but no patronage tradition resulted. Also note that when a dispute arose, Chad stepped aside for the greater good. Wish some of our current politicians had such grace; but no one ever accused them of being saints....

The cathedral of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, is St. Chad's Cathedral. Venerable Newman preached there several times.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Catholic Carnival...
is up.
Notes from a sermon on today's Gospel reading...
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

The Parable of the Servant who Owed Ten Thousand Talents—Matt. xviii.

I consider this parable, and the other passages of our Lord's teaching which are parallel to it, of a very awful character. I think all of us will say so who seriously turn their minds to consider them. (Go through it.)

It is introduced by a question of St. Peter, which itself may be viewed in connection with another declaration of our Lord's on the same subject, which is recorded in the 17th of St. Luke, vv. 3-5(Quote.) Apparently in allusion to this, or in some connection with it, St. Peter asked: 'Lord, how often,' etc. Matt. xviii. 21-22.

In the same way in the sermon on the mount, Matt. v. 22-24. And He has introduced it as one of the seven petitions of His own prayer, which is the first element and type of all our devotions, and which we say every day. Forgiveness of injuries then bound up in the very idea of prayer in the evangelical law; and our Lord in a passage in St. Mark seems distinctly to say so; for after speaking of the faith which will move mountains, He proceeds, Mark xi. 25-26, 'And when you shall stand to pray, forgive, if you have ought against any man: that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your sins. But if you will not forgive, neither will your Father that is in heaven forgive you your sins.'

Now this great Christian precept is often expressed in these two words: viz. that when injury is done to us, it is our duty to forgive and forget. Let us dwell upon these.

Now, at first sight, we shall all of us allow that it is a very beautiful precept, especially when we are young, when our hearts are light and open, and our tempers generous; we shall on the one hand think it admirable and great, and, not having had to practise it in fact, we shall be drawn to it, think it easy, and resolve to observe it as life goes on. I can fancy young people drawing before their minds pictures of injuries done them, of their forgiving the injuries, and returning good for evil. And when they read accounts of men who have done so, and instances of generosity, magnanimity, patience and nobleness in this respect, they are greatly moved and filled with a love of the virtue. Nor is it only a beautiful precept, it is of a most useful and expedient character too. Every one must confess who turns his mind to the subject, that the world would go on far better, that all men would be happier, if this precept was universally observed. For what is a greater or wider scourge of man than war, dissensions and litigation? and though these miseries arise in a great measure from covetousness (James iv.), they arise still more from passion, from a sense of injuries, from a fierce determination to retaliate, from a thirst for revenge. James iv. 1-2, 'From whence are wars and contentions among you? ... you covet, and have not; you kill, and envy, and cannot obtain.'

To forgive and forget, then, is (1) at first sight a beautiful, an admirable precept, and (2) one which on long experience leads to the greatest benefit to mankind. All men are interested in its recognition and observance; yet it will be found not at all easy in fact, but a very difficult precept, one which is but rarely obeyed and very partially, where it is not altogether neglected; and further, one to which many plausible objections may be made, and many arguments in favour of a contrary course, which become formidable when they are brought to defend that unwillingness to obey it; and the difficulty of obeying it, which in matter of fact will be found in human nature.

Now I will first set down what I conceive the precept to be, and next consider how the objection to it arises.

(I was interrupted, or I meant to have written a sketch of a whole sermon. I have forgotten now my arrangement. I put down some isolated [topoi].) (1) Not to forgive is even contrary to justice, a higher kind of justice than natural justice, for we should do as it has been done by Almighty God to us. (2) Forgetting, yes, as God forgets, for He forgets by putting aside, behind His back, our sins. (3) We should put aside also, for a reason special to us, for the thinking of injury is a temptation to avenge it. (On distrust necessarily remaining after forgiveness) (4) Mere emotion is not revenge. (5) Though we must put aside the injury, we must not put aside the injurer, for that would be hatred—this the cardo of the difficulty of the precept. (6) On being obliged to speak to persons with whom we have quarrelled. This has exceptions, e.g. if they are likely to tempt us to sin, which perhaps was the injury; but such exceptions must be determined by a director. (7) It seems to be contrary to justice if injuries are not punished. This is true, but we must not judge in our own case. (8) Contrary to nature to forgive. Yes, but sin and redemption (see above, 2). (9) This is what this age forgets when it speaks in favour of revenge. (10) Men do not believe in redemption, nor that they are sinners. Hence Mahomet. (11) Do I put forgiveness [merely] as a condition [of obtaining forgiveness for ourselves]? No, one who believes in what Christ has done has no heart for revenge. (12) Onesimus—Christ says 'forgive me' by the lips of the fellow-servant. (13) Man's duty to pray for injurers. (14) Pray to meet them in heaven, (15) when all angularities will be rubbed off, and we shall be able truly to love them. (16) We and they are sinners; let us help each other.
Gwyn Dygwyl Dewi Sant !
or, in Saesneg, "Blessed St. David's Day !" There is information on him here.

A friend of mine who, like me,is of Welsh descent, blogged about this day as well.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

On February 27, 1876...
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Communion with God
1. God the Creator of all—all things depend on Him.

2. But the happiness of intellectual beings is not only [in] dependence [upon], but in union with Him.

3. This union shows itself in communion—that is, a fellowship—intercourse of thought, or a spiritual conversation.

4. The fall of Adam has placed a huge obstacle, as a wall or a mountain, between us and God, and Christ has broken it down. He has opened the kingdom of heaven to all who believe. This is why He took flesh and came on earth.

5. Now this communion requires love and grace on the part of God, and faith and prayer on the part of man.

6. In His part God is not wanting. His love is as expansive, as diffusing, as powerfully and constantly overflowing as the sea, or as the wind, or as the flame, and whereas their expansion is for evil, that of the Divine Attributes is for good.

7. Now we have instances of this communion between God and man in Scripture clearly defined.

8. Enoch 'walked with God'—and Noe. What is meant by 'walking with God' is plain; men who are companions on a journey talk while they walk. The two journeying to Emmaus; our Lord joined them—this was communion.

9. Another image is that of friend. Abraham is friend of God, 2 Paralip. xx. 7, Isa. xli. 8 , James ii. 23 . Friends are in possession of each other's confidence; and Gen. xviii., 'Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?'—and [Abraham's] intercession for the cities.

10. And so Moses—Num. xvi. 18 and Ex. xxxiii. 11.

11. What was, then, the privilege of the few, for the Jews were 'servants' in Judaism, is the right of all Christians. Vide Luke xxii. , 'friends,' and John xv. 15, when our Lord speaks of 'omnia quaecunque,' etc.

12. CONCLUSION.—(1) Those who make friends of the world cannot have this Divine friendship; (2) Those who have that Divine friendship have a disgust of worldly friends. 'Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.'
Music at Noon Mass
Processional Hymn: "The Glory of These Forty Days"
Offertory: "Ah, Holy Jesus" - Johann Crüger (1598-1662)
Communion: "Ecce, Quomodo Moritur Justus" - Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
Recessional Hymn: "Forty Days and Forty Nights"

The composer of the Communion piece was the younger brother of the somewhat better-known Franz Joseph Haydn.