Thursday, March 27, 2003

For Thursday
"The world cannot believe that Catholics really hold what they profess to hold; and supposes that, if they are educated men, they are kept up to their profession by external influence, by superstitious fear, by pride, by interest, or other bad or unworthy motive. Men of the world have never believed in their whole life, never have had simple faith in things unseen, never have had more than an opinion about them, that they might be true and might be false, but probably were true, or doubtless were true; and in consequence they think an absolute, unhesitating faith in anything unseen to be simply an extravagance, and especially when it is exercised on objects which they do not believe themselves, or even reject with scorn or abhorrence. And hence they prophesy that the Catholic Church must lose, in proportion as men are directed to the sober examination of their own thoughts and feelings, and to the separation of what is real and true from what is a matter of words and pretence. They cannot understand how our faith in the Blessed Sacrament is a genuine, living portion of our minds; they think it a mere profession which we embrace with no inward assent, but only because we are told that we should be lost unless we profess it; or because, the Catholic Church having in dark ages committed herself to it, we cannot help ourselves, though we would if we could, and therefore receive it by constraint, from a sense of duty towards our cause, or in a spirit of party. They will not believe that we would not gladly get rid of the doctrine of transubstantiation, as a heavy stone about our necks, if we could. What shocking words to use! It would be wrong to use them, were they not necessary to make you understand, my brethren, the privilege which you have, and the world has not. Shocking indeed and most profane! a relief to rid ourselves of the doctrine that Jesus is on our Altars! as well say a relief to rid ourselves of the belief that Jesus is God, to rid ourselves of the belief that there is a God."
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Discourses to Mixed Congregations


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