Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Première Memorial of Bl. John Henry Newman

Today, 9 October 2010, marks the first ever liturgical memorial of Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, beatified by Pope Benedict XVI a mere few weeks ago during his apostolic journey to Great Britain.

A diaconal bow to Deacon Greg over at the Bench for a timely reminder of this important day. For those familiar with my own conversion, Cardinal Newman's writings, not merely his Apologia, but more centrally his still timely Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, were decisive for me. I also love Newman's Dream of Gerontius, especially since Dr. (Deacon) Owen Cummings' lecture on it and the performance by our Cathedral Choir of Edward Elgar's oratorio for last year's centenary of The Cathedral of the Madeleine. The poem begins:

"JESU, MARIA—I am near to death,
And Thou art calling me; I know it now.
Not by the token of this faltering breath,
This chill at heart, this dampness on my brow,—
(Jesu, have mercy! Mary, pray for me!)
'Tis this new feeling, never felt before,
(Be with me, Lord, in my extremity!)
That I am going, that I am no more.
'Tis this strange innermost abandonment,
(Lover of souls! great God! I look to Thee,)
This emptying out of each constituent
And natural force, by which I come to be."

"O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fullness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever." Amen!

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Veni Sancte Spiritus, Veni per Mariam

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