George Weigel: John Henry Newman’s Faith

I once had the honor of spending time in Newman’s rooms at the Birmingham Oratory, which are much as the aged cardinal left them at his death in 1890. Over the altar, which occupies one side of the room, are tacked-up notes by which Cardinal Newman reminded himself of those for whom he had promised to pray. In the sitting room, a tattered newspaper map, also tacked to a wall, bears silent testimony to Newman’s interest in Kitchener’s efforts to lift the siege of Khartoum and rescue General Gordon from the Mahdi, a 19th century jihadist (Gordon died with Newman’s poem, “The Dream of Gerontius,” in his pocket). Perhaps most touching are Newman’s Latin breviaries, which he began to use as an Anglican, causing much controversy about such popish practices.

It is as a man of faith that the Church beatified John Henry Newman, however: the kind of man of faith who could write the following (which I take from another prayer card I’ve had for years, given me by Catholic Worker artist Ade Bethune):

God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught”¦Therefore I will trust Him, whatever I am”¦He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me””still, He knows what He is about.

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us and for the unity in truth of Christ’s Church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

3 comments on “George Weigel: John Henry Newman’s Faith

  1. AnglicanFirst says:

    High school football is supposed to be a contest of motivation, skill, self and team discipline, stamina, aptitude and physical/emotional toughness.

    Its not supposed to be a ‘killing’ field in which thosed culled for their sheer physical size over other teams ‘pound down’ those other teams.

  2. AnglicanFirst says:

    Elves, please remove this comment from this blog item. I posted my comment under the wrong blog item.

  3. New Reformation Advocate says:

    A fitting tribute to the man I consider the greatest preacher and theologian that Anglicanism has ever produced. With John Wesley a close second as a great church reformer.

    It says something very significant that Anglicanism basically rejected the two greatest reformers it ever had. But the basic reason for that rejection is easy to understand. I think both men unfortunately made the fatal mistake of demanding that the Church of England change more drastically and rapidly than it was capable of changing.

    But they actually have good company: so did most of the saints. Indeed, you could say our Lord Jesus Christ himself made the same impossible demands upon Israel, with the inevitable result that most Jews in his time rejected him and his rigorous call to radical repentance and costly discipleship (along with the good news of salvation).

    It may be worth noting that October 9th will be the 165th anniversary of Newman’s submission to the papal obedience, on 10/9th/1845. And although the day of his death, August 11th (1890), is already designated as a lesser feast in the TEC calendar of saints (August 11th is Clare of Assissi’s day), I will confess that I habitually keep that day as a feast in Newman’s honor, even though he has not yet been formally beatified.

    David Handy+
    Lover of Luther and Wesley, but Newman most of all