A Few Thoughts from Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Mission and the Greatness of Serving




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 never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his and if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham.

Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.

If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; 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 the future from me: still He knows what He is about.




What shall bring me forward in the narrow way, as I live in the world,

but the thought and patronage of Mary?

What shall seal my senses, shall tranquilize my heart,

when sights and sounds of danger

are around me but Mary?

 What shall give me patience and endurance,

when I am wearied out with the length of the conflict with evil,

with the unceasing necessity of precautions, with the irksomeness of observing them,

with the tediousness of their reception, with the strain upon my mind,

with my forlorn and cheerless condition,

but a loving communion with you! 


You will comfort me in my discouragements, solace me in my fatigues,

raise me after my falls, reward me for my successes.

You will show me your Son, my God and my all.

When my spirit within me is excited, or relaxed, or depressed,

when it loses its balance, when it is restless and wayward,

when it is sick of what it has, and hankers after what it has not,

when my eye is solicited with evil

and my mortal frame trembles under the shadow of the tempter,

what will bring me to myself, to peace and health,

but the cool breath of the Immaculate

and the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon?



the new eve   




What is the great rudimental teaching of Antiquity from its earliest date concerning (Mary)? By "rudimental teaching" I mean the prima facie view of her person and office, the broad outline laid down of her, the aspect under which she comes to us, in the writings of the Fathers. She is the Second Eve!  


Now let us consider what this implies. Eve had a definite, essential position in the First Covenant. The fate of the human race lay with Adam; he it was who represented us. It was in Adam that we fell; though Eve had fallen, still, if Adam had stood, we should not have lost those supernatural privileges which were bestowed upon him as our first father. Yet though Eve was not the head of the race, still, even as regards the race, she had a place of her own; for Adam, to whom was divinely committed the naming of all things, entitled her "the Mother of all the living", a name surely expressive, not of a fact only, but of a dignity; but further, as she thus had her own general relation to the human race, so again had she her own special place as regards its trial and its fall in Adam.  


In those primeval events, Eve had an integral share. "The woman, being seduced, was in the transgression." She listened to the evil angel; she offered the fruit to her husband, and he ate of it. She co-operated, not as an irresponsible instrument, but intimately and personally in the sin; she brought it about. As the history stands, she was a sine-qua-non, a positive, active, cause of it. And she had her share in its punishment; in the sentence pronounced on her, she was recognized as a real agent in the temptation and its issue, and she suffered accordingly.  


In that awful transaction there were three parties concerned,-the serpent, the woman, and the man; and at the time of their sentence, an event was announced for the future, in which the three same parties were to meet again, the serpent, the woman, and the man; but it was to be a second Adam and a second Eve, and the new Eve was to be the mother of the new Adam. "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed."  


The Seed of the woman is the Word Incarnate, and the Woman, whose seed or son He is, is His mother Mary. This interpretation, and the parallelism it involves, seem to me undeniable; but at all events (and this is my point) the parallelism is the doctrine of the Fathers, from the earliest times; and, this being established, we are able, by the position and office of Eve in our fall, to determine the position and office of Mary in our restoration.   





John Henry Newman was born on February 21, 1801 in London. At Ealing School he underwent a spiritual conversion which set him on the road to perfection. After undergraduate study at Trinity College, Oxford, he was elected Fellow of Oriel College. Ordained in the Church of England, he became Vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford, where his spiritual influence on his parishioners and the undergraduates was enormous.


After 1833 he became the leader of the spiritual renewal known as the Oxford Movement. His studies of the Fathers of the Church led him to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church was the "One Fold of Christ." After a long interior struggle he was received into the Catholic Church on October 9, 1845. 


Ostracized by relatives and friends he was ordained priest in Rome and returned to England to found in Birmingham the first Oratorian Congregation of England. This was followed by a second Oratorian House in London. He became Rector of the Catholic University in Ireland and founded the Oratory School in Birmingham. In 1864 he published his Apologia pro Vita Sua, in which he vindicated his honesty in the Church of England and defended the Church of Rome. 

In 1879 Pope Leo XIII made him a cardinal to the joy of all of England. At his death in 1890 it was said that he more than any other person had changed the attitude of non-Catholics to Catholics.


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