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The Parochial and Plain Sermons of Cardinal John Henry Newman

Best known for both his theological and poetic works

Cardinal John Henry Newman
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Cardinal John Henry Newman

  1. What mind of man can imagine the love which the Eternal Father bears towards the Only Begotten Son? It has been from everlasting, and it is infinite; so great is it that divines call the Holy Ghost by the name of that love, as if to express its infinitude and perfection. Yet reflect, O my soul, and bow down before the awful mystery, that, as the Father loves the Son, so doth the Son love thee, if thou art one of His elect; for He says expressly, “As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love.” What mystery in the whole circle of revealed truths is greater than this?

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  2. The love which the Son bears to thee, a creature, is like that which the Father bears to the uncreated Son. O wonderful mystery! This, then, is the history of what else is so strange: that He should have taken my flesh and died for me. The former mystery anticipates the latter; that latter does but fulfill the former. Did He not love me so inexpressibly, He would not have suffered for me. I understand now why He died for me, because He loved me as a father loves his son—not as a human father merely, but as the Eternal Father the Eternal Son. I see now the meaning of that else inexplicable humiliation: He preferred to regain me rather than to create new worlds.

– from “Mediations on Christian Doctrine” by St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman was an English writer — best known for both his theological and poetic works — who converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism in 1845. His conversion is perhaps one of the most famous in English history since, even prior to his conversion, he was already internationally renowned as a defender of Christian orthodoxy and one of the greatest stylists in the history of English letters. His long poem The Dream of Gerontius (1865), which tells the story of an old man given a vision of purgatory, is considered a mainstay in the canon of English literature. Newman’s theological legacy was secured by his voluminous collection of published sermons, Parochial and Plain Sermons (1834-1843), and by his books An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) and A Grammar of Assent (1870). He also wrote about the ideals of Catholic higher learning in The Idea of the University (1852; 1857). As a sign of affirmation for his work for Church, in 1879, Newman was elevated to the rank of cardinal. The Catholic Church canonized Newman a saint in 2019.

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Cardinal John Henry Newman
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Cardinal John Henry Newman

  1. What mind of man can imagine the love which the Eternal Father bears towards the Only Begotten Son? It has been from everlasting, and it is infinite; so great is it that divines call the Holy Ghost by the name of that love, as if to express its infinitude and perfection. Yet reflect, O my soul, and bow down before the awful mystery, that, as the Father loves the Son, so doth the Son love thee, if thou art one of His elect; for He says expressly, “As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love.” What mystery in the whole circle of revealed truths is greater than this?

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  2. The love which the Son bears to thee, a creature, is like that which the Father bears to the uncreated Son. O wonderful mystery! This, then, is the history of what else is so strange: that He should have taken my flesh and died for me. The former mystery anticipates the latter; that latter does but fulfill the former. Did He not love me so inexpressibly, He would not have suffered for me. I understand now why He died for me, because He loved me as a father loves his son—not as a human father merely, but as the Eternal Father the Eternal Son. I see now the meaning of that else inexplicable humiliation: He preferred to regain me rather than to create new worlds.

– from “Mediations on Christian Doctrine” by St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman was an English writer — best known for both his theological and poetic works — who converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism in 1845. His conversion is perhaps one of the most famous in English history since, even prior to his conversion, he was already internationally renowned as a defender of Christian orthodoxy and one of the greatest stylists in the history of English letters. His long poem The Dream of Gerontius (1865), which tells the story of an old man given a vision of purgatory, is considered a mainstay in the canon of English literature. Newman’s theological legacy was secured by his voluminous collection of published sermons, Parochial and Plain Sermons (1834-1843), and by his books An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) and A Grammar of Assent (1870). He also wrote about the ideals of Catholic higher learning in The Idea of the University (1852; 1857). As a sign of affirmation for his work for Church, in 1879, Newman was elevated to the rank of cardinal. The Catholic Church canonized Newman a saint in 2019.

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