John Henry Newman: The Holy Spirit is a Spring of Health and Salvation Sunday, May 19 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisThe Holy Ghost…dwells in body and soul, as in a temple.

[…]  He is able to search into all our thoughts, and penetrate into every motive of the heart.

Therefore, He pervades us…as light pervades a building, or as a sweet perfume the folds of some honourable robe; so that, in Scripture language, we are said to be in Him, and He in us.

It is plain that such an inhabitation brings the Christian into a state altogether new and marvellous, far above the possession of mere gifts, exalts him inconceivably in the scale of beings, and gives him a place and an office which he had not before.

In St. Peter’s forcible language, he becomes “partaker of the Divine Nature,” and has “power” or authority, as St. John says, “to become the son of God.”

Or, to use the words of St. Paul, “he is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”

[…]  This wonderful change from darkness to light, through the entrance of the Spirit into the soul, is called Regeneration, or the New Birth; a blessing which, before Christ’s coming, not even Prophets and righteous men possessed, but which is now conveyed to all men freely through the Sacrament of Baptism.

By…the coming of the Holy Ghost, all guilt and pollution are burned away as by fire, the devil is driven forth, sin…is forgiven, and the whole man is consecrated to God.

And this is the reason why He is called “the earnest” of that Saviour who died for us, and will one day give us the fulness of His own presence in heaven.

Hence, too, He is our “seal unto the day of redemption;” for as the potter moulds the clay, so He impresses the Divine image on us members of the household of God.

And His work may truly be called Regeneration; for though the original nature of the soul is not destroyed, yet its past transgressions are pardoned once and for ever, and its source of evil staunched and gradually dried up by the pervading health and purity which has set up its abode in it.

Instead of its own bitter waters, a spring of health and salvation is brought within it; not the mere streams of that fountain, “clear as crystal,” which is before the Throne of God , but, as our Lord says, “a well of water in him,” in a man’s heart, “springing up into everlasting life.”

Hence He elsewhere describes the heart as giving forth, not receiving, the streams of grace: “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of Living Water.” St. John adds, “this spake He of the Spirit” (John 4:14; 7:38, 39).

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 2, Sermon 19, The Indwelling Spirit.

John Henry Newman: The Comforter Comes to Us as Christ Came, by a Real and Personal Visitation Wednesday, May 15 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisThe gifts of the Holy Ghost…under the Jewish covenant…were great mercies; yet, great as they were, they are as nothing compared with that surpassing grace with which we Christians are honoured; that great privilege of receiving into our hearts, not the mere gifts of the Spirit, but His very presence, Himself, by a real not a figurative indwelling.

When our Lord entered upon His Ministry, He acted as though He were a mere man, needing grace, and received the consecration of the Holy Spirit for our sakes. He became the Christ, or Anointed, that the Spirit might be seen to come from God, and to pass from Him to us.

And, therefore, the heavenly Gift is not simply called the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of God, but the Spirit of Christ, that we might clearly understand, that He comes to us from and instead of Christ.

Thus St. Paul says, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts;” and our Lord breathed on His Apostles, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost;” and He says elsewhere to them, “If I depart, I will send Him unto you.”

[…] The Comforter who has come instead of Christ, must have vouchsafed to come in the same sense in which Christ came; I mean, that He has come, not merely in the way of gifts, or of influences, or of operations, as He came to the Prophets…; but He comes to us as Christ came, by a real and personal visitation.

[…] We are able to see that the Saviour, when once He entered into this world, never so departed as to suffer things to be as before He came; for He still is with us, not in mere gifts, but by the substitution of His Spirit for Himself, and that, both in the Church and in the souls of individual Christians.

For instance, St. Paul says in the text, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Again, “He shall quicken even your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

“Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” “Ye are the Temple of the Living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.”

The same Apostle clearly distinguishes between the indwelling of the Spirit, and His actual operations within us, when he says, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us;” and again, “The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 2, Sermon 19, The Indwelling Spirit.

John Henry Newman: Let Us Begin with His Cross and the Humiliation to which It Leads Wednesday, Mar 27 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_Millais[Following on from here…]

All that is bright and beautiful, even on the surface of this world, though it has no substance, and may not suitably be enjoyed for its own sake, yet is a figure and promise of that true joy which issues out of the Atonement.

It is a promise beforehand of what is to be: it is a shadow, raising hope because the substance is to follow, but not to be rashly taken instead of the substance.

And it is God’s usual mode of dealing with us, in mercy to send the shadow before the substance, that we may take comfort in what is to be, before it comes.

Thus our Lord before His Passion rode into Jerusalem in triumph, with the multitudes crying Hosanna, and strewing His road with palm branches and their garments.

This was but a vain and hollow pageant, nor did our Lord take pleasure in it. It was a shadow which stayed not, but flitted away.

It could not be more than a shadow, for the Passion had not been undergone by which His true triumph was wrought out.

He could not enter into His glory before He had first suffered. He could not take pleasure in this semblance of it, knowing that it was unreal.

Yet that first shadowy triumph was the omen and presage of the true victory to come, when He had overcome the sharpness of death.

And we commemorate this figurative triumph on the last Sunday in Lent, to cheer us in the sorrow of the week that follows, and to remind us of the true joy which comes with Easter-Day.

And so, too, as regards this world, with all its enjoyments, yet disappointments.

Let us not trust it; let us not give our hearts to it; let us not begin with it.

Let us begin with faith; let us begin with Christ; let us begin with His Cross and the humiliation to which it leads.

Let us first be drawn to Him who is lifted up, that so He may, with Himself, freely give us all things. Let us “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and then all those things of this world “will be added to us.”

They alone are able truly to enjoy this world, who begin with the world unseen. They alone enjoy it, who have first abstained from it.

They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted; they alone are able to use the world, who have learned not to abuse it; they alone inherit it, who take it as a shadow of the world to come, and who for that world to come relinquish it.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 6, Sermon 7. The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World.

John Henry Newman: Christ Came to Make a New World and Recapitulate All Things in Himself Friday, Jan 11 2013 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisChrist exercised His prophetical office in teaching, and in foretelling the future—in His sermon on the Mount, in His parables, in His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem.

He performed the priest’s service when He died on the Cross, as a sacrifice; and when He consecrated the bread and the cup to be a feast upon that sacrifice; and now that He intercedes for us at the right hand of God.

And He showed Himself as a conqueror, and a king, in rising from the dead, in ascending into heaven, in sending down the Spirit of grace, in converting the nations, and in forming His Church to receive and to rule them.

[…] He said, with reference to His baptism in Jordan, “…it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Every holy rite of the law did He go through for our sakes.

And so too did He live through all states of man’s life up to a perfect man, infancy, childhood, boyhood, youth, maturity, that He might be a pattern of them all.

And so too did He take man’s perfect nature on Him, body, and soul, and reason, that He might sanctify it wholly.

And therefore in like manner did He unite in Himself, and renew, and give us back in Him, the principal lots or states in which we find ourselves—suffering, that we might know how to suffer; labouring, that we might know how to labour; and teaching, that we might know how to teach..

[…] Christ came to make a new world. He came into the world to regenerate it in Himself, to make a new beginning, to be the beginning of the creation of God, to gather together in one, and recapitulate all things in Himself.

The rays of His glory were scattered through the world; one state of life had some of them, another others.

The world was like some fair mirror, broken in pieces, and giving back no one uniform image of its Maker.

But He came to combine what was dissipated, to recast what was shattered in Himself. He began all excellence, and of His fulness have all we received.

[…] Angels heralded a Saviour, a Christ, a Lord; but withal, He was “born in Bethlehem,” and was “lying in a manger.”

Eastern sages brought Him gold, for that He was a King, frankincense as to a God; but on the other hand myrrh also, in token of a coming death and burial.

At the last, He “bore witness to the truth” before Pilate as a Prophet, suffered on the cross as our Priest, while He was also “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Sermons on Subjects of the Day, 5: The Three Offices of Christ.

John Henry Newman: Praying for the Coming of Christ Friday, Dec 14 2012 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisI have an instinct within me which leads me to rise and go to my Father, to name the Name of His well-beloved Son, and having named it, to place myself unreservedly in His hands, saying, “If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it! But there is forgiveness with Thee.”

This is the feeling in which we come to confess our sins, and to pray to God for pardon and grace day by day; and observe, it is the very feeling in which we must prepare to meet Him when He comes visibly.

[…] If indeed we have habitually lived to the world, then truly it is natural we should attempt to fly from Him whom we have pierced. Then may we well call on the mountains to fall on us, and on the hills to cover us.

But if we have lived, however imperfectly, yet habitually, in His fear, if we trust that His Spirit is in us, then we need not be ashamed before Him.

We shall then come before Him, as now we come to pray—with profound abasement, with awe, with self-renunciation, still as relying upon the Spirit which He has given us, with our faculties about us, with a collected and determined mind, and with hope.

He who cannot pray for Christ’s coming, ought not in consistency to pray at all.

[…] Lastly, …  in that solemn hour we shall have, if we be His, the inward support of His Spirit too, carrying us on towards Him, and “witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.”

God is mysteriously threefold; and while He remains in the highest heaven, He comes to judge the world.

And while He judges the world, He is in us also, bearing us up and going forth in us to meet Himself.

God the Son is without, but God the Spirit is within—and when the Son asks, the Spirit will answer.

That Spirit is vouchsafed to us here; and if we yield ourselves to His gracious influences, so that He draws up our thoughts and wills to heavenly things, and becomes one with us, He will assuredly be still in us and give us confidence at the Day of Judgment.

He will be with us, and strengthen us; and how great His strength is, what mind of man can conceive?

Gifted with that supernatural strength, we may be able to lift up our eyes to our Judge when He looks on us, and look on Him in turn, though with deep awe, yet without confusion of face, as if in the consciousness of innocence.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 5, Sermon 4: Shrinking from Christ’s Coming.

John Henry Newman: Eve Gazed and Reflected When She Should have Fled Saturday, Dec 1 2012 

John_Henry_Newman_by_Sir_John_Everett_MillaisThe great thing in religion is to set off well; to resist the beginnings of sin, to flee temptation, to avoid the company of the wicked.

“Enter not into the path of the wicked … avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, pass away.”

And for this reason, first of all, because it is hardly possible to delay our flight without rendering flight impossible.

When I say, resist the beginnings of evil, I do not mean the first act merely, but the rising thought of evil.

Whatever the temptation may be, there may be no time to wait and gaze, without being caught.

[…] Directly we are made aware of the temptation, we shall, if we are wise, turn our backs upon it, without waiting to think and reason about it; we shall engage our mind in other thoughts.

[…] For consider, in the next place, what must in all cases be the consequence of allowing evil thoughts to be present to us, though we do not actually admit them into our hearts.

This: namely—we shall make ourselves familiar with them.

Now our great security against sin lies in being shocked at it. Eve gazed and reflected when she should have fled.

It is sometimes said, “Second thoughts are best.” This is true in many cases; but there are times when it is very false, and when, on the contrary, first thoughts are best.

For sin is like the serpent, which seduced our first parents. We know that some serpents have the power of what is called “fascinating.”

Their eye has the power of subduing—nay, in a strange way, of alluring—their victim, who is reduced to utter helplessness, cannot flee away, nay, rather is obliged to approach, and (as it were) deliver himself up to them; till in their own time they seize and devour him.

What a dreadful figure this is of the power of sin and the devil over our hearts!

At first our conscience tells us, in a plain straightforward way, what is right and what is wrong; but when we trifle with this warning, our reason becomes perverted, and comes in aid of our wishes, and deceives us to our ruin.

Then we begin to find, that there are arguments available in behalf of bad deeds, and we listen to these till we come to think them true; and then, if perchance better thoughts return, and we make some feeble effort to get at the truth really and sincerely, we find our minds by that time so bewildered that we do not know right from wrong.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 8, 5: Curiosity a Temptation to Sin.

John Henry Newman: The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Gives Us Strength to Resist the World Sunday, Nov 11 2012 

Beware of being severe on those who lead careless lives, or whom you think or know to be ill-treating you. Do not dwell on such matters. Turn your mind away from them.

[…] Anyone who attempts to resist the world, or to do other good things by his own strength, will be sure to fall. We can do good things, but it is when God gives us power to do them.

Therefore we must pray to Him for the power. When we are brought into temptation of any kind, we should lift up our hearts to God. We should say to Him, “Good Lord, deliver us.”

Our Lord, when He was going away, promised to His disciples a Comforter instead of Himself; that was God the Holy Ghost, who is still among us (though we see Him not), as Christ was with the Apostles.

He has come in order to enlighten us, to guide us in the right way, and in the end to bring us to Christ in heaven.

And He came down, as His name “Comforter” shows, especially to stand by, and comfort, and strengthen those who are in any trouble, particularly trouble from irreligious men.

The disciples, when Christ went, had to go through much trouble, and therefore He comforted them by the coming of the Holy and Eternal Spirit, the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity. “These things I have spoken unto you,” He says, “that in Me ye might have peace; in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

When, then, religious persons are in low spirits, or are any way grieved at the difficulties which the world puts in their way, when they earnestly desire to do their duty, yet feel how weak they are, let them recollect that they are “not their own,” but “bought with a price,” and the dwelling-places and temples of the All-gracious Spirit.

[…] None of us, even the best, have resisted the world as we ought to have done. … Let us search our consciences; let us look back on our past lives.

Let us try to purify and cleanse our hearts in God’s sight. Let us try to live more like Christians, more like children of God.

Let us earnestly beg of God to teach us more simply and clearly what our duty is. Let us beg of Him to give us the heart to love Him, and true repentance for what is past.

Let us beg Him to teach us how to confess Him before men; lest if we deny Him now, He may deny us before the Angels of God hereafter.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 8, 13: Endurance of the World’s Censure.

G.K. Chesterton: The Joyful Asceticism of St Francis Thursday, Oct 4 2012 

If ever that rarer sort of romantic love, which was the truth that sustained the Troubadours, falls out of fashion and is treated as fiction, we may see some such misunderstanding as that of the modern world about asceticism.

[…] Men will ask what selfish sort of woman it must have been who ruthlessly exacted tribute in the form of flowers, or what an avaricious creature she can have been to demand solid gold in the form of a ring; just as they ask what cruel kind of God can have demanded sacrifice and self-denial.

They will have lost the clue to all that lovers have meant by love; and will not understand that it was because the thing was not demanded that it was done.

But whether or no any such lesser things will throw a light on the greater, it is utterly useless to study a great thing like the Franciscan movement while remaining in the modern mood that murmurs against gloomy asceticism.

The whole point about St. Francis of Assisi is that he certainly was ascetical and he certainly was not gloomy.

As soon as ever he had been unhorsed by the glorious humiliation of his vision of dependence on the divine love, he flung himself into fasting and vigil exactly as he had flung himself furiously into battle.

He had wheeled his charger clean round, but there was no halt or check in the thundering impetuosity of his charge. There was nothing negative about it; it was not a regimen or a stoical simplicity of life.

It was not self-denial merely in the sense of self-control. It was as positive as a passion; it had all the air of being as positive as a pleasure. He devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold.

And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure.

[…] It is certain that he held on this heroic or unnatural course from the moment when he went forth in his hair-shirt into the winter woods to the moment when he desired even in his death agony to lie bare upon the bare ground, to prove that he had and that he was nothing.

And we can say, with almost as deep a certainty, that the stars which passed above that gaunt and wasted corpse stark upon the rocky floor had for once, in all their shining cycles round the world of labouring humanity, looked down upon a happy man.

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936): St Francis, ch. 5.

H.E. Manning: Adore the Sacred Heart and Pass into the Worship of the Eternal Throne Friday, Jun 15 2012 

The Sacred Heart is the key of the Incarnation; the Incarnation is the treasure-house in which are all the truths of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Incarnation casts off two rays of light: on the one side, the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar; on the other, the devotion due to the Blessed Mother of God.

Anyone who knows the Sacred Heart aright will know…the whole science of God and the whole science of man, and the relations between God and man and between man and man. These truths are the dogma of dogmas, the treasures hid in the Sacred Heart, the tabernacle of God.

Make yourselves, then, disciples of the Sacred Heart; learn to know it, and that knowledge will never pass away.

[…] Love…the Sacred Heart, and that love will pass into the Beatific Union; for charity is eternal, and the love of the Sacred Heart is the union of our faint weak charity with the fervent charity, divine and human, of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Adore the Sacred Heart, and it will pass into the worship of the eternal throne, where there will be prayer no longer and reparation no more; but praise for ever, and thanksgiving to all eternity.

Do not think that the science of the Sacred Heart is too deep for yon. It is the science of the poor and the science of the little child; they, by an infused light and by an implicit knowledge, know the Sacred Heart even more perfectly and more precisely than the cultivated intellect which, in its cultivation, is cold.

Therefore it is a science within the reach of all; and it comes more by love than by light, more by prayer than by study; most of all it comes by communion with the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Himself.

Make yourselves, then, disciples of His Sacred Heart. Learn to love and to be like it; and in the measure in which you are like it you will know it; and in the measure in which you know it, you will love it; and it will be in you as rest and sweetness and light and strength.

You will walk with Jesus in this world as the two disciples walked with Him to Emmaus, but your eyes will not be holden: and your heart will bum within you as He talks with you by the way;.

And when you see Him in eternity He will not vanish out of your sight, but you will see Him as He is, and He will abide with you forever.

H.E. Cardinal Manning (1808-1892): The Glories of the Sacred Heart, pp. 97-99.

John Henry Newman: The Spirit of God Makes Christ Present with Us by Making Us Present with Christ Sunday, May 20 2012 

You will say, How can He [the ascended Jesus] be present to the Christian and in the Church, yet not be on earth, but on the right hand of God?

I answer, that the Christian Church is made up of faithful souls, and how can any of us say where the soul is, simply and really?

The soul indeed acts through the body, and perceives through the body; but where is it? Or what has it to do with place?

Or why should it be a thing incredible that the power of the Spirit should so visit the soul as to open upon it a Divine manifestation, which yet it perceives not, because its present perceptions are only through the body?

Who shall limit the power of the gracious Spirit of God? How know we, for instance, but that He makes Christ present with us, by making us present with Christ?

As the earth goes round the sun, yet the sun is said to move, so our souls, in fact, may be taken up to Christ, when He is said to come to us.

But no need to insist on one mode in which the mystery may be conceived, when ten thousand ways are possible with God, of which we know nothing.

Scripture says enough to show us that influences may be exerted upon the soul so marvellous, that we cannot decide whether the soul remains in the body or not, while subjected to them.

St. Paul, speaking of himself, says, “Whether in the body, I cannot tell, or whether out of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth: … caught up to the third heaven.”

And he repeats his statement: “I knew such a man,” meaning himself, “whether in the body I cannot tell, or out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth: how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

St. Paul was brought into Paradise, yet his body remained where it was; and whether his soul was separated from it, was a question which he could not decide.

How can we pretend to decide what the Holy Spirit may or may not do towards faithful souls now, and whether He does not manifest Christ to and in them, by bringing them to Christ?

Again; consider Satan’s power in showing our Lord all the kingdoms of the world “in a moment of time;” may not the Almighty Spirit much more do with us, what the evil one did with our Lord?

May He not in less than a moment bring our souls into God’s presence, while our bodies are on earth?

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 6,Sermon 10. The Spiritual Presence of Christ in the Church.

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