Saturday, May 29, 2004

On May 29, 1846
Venerable John Henry Newman, who had been received into the Catholic Church in October of the previous year, wrote this letter to a friend:
"Your letter has just come. Indeed I have thought a good deal of you and your troubles; and was about to write daily, but for a reason I will state presently. I have thought more of your wife, and still more of Mrs. Sargent, whose repeated trials I have talked over and mused upon with St. John. It is all very mysterious. So too is the distress of mind at this moment of other friends of mine, of a different kind—I mean, their struggling to know whether or not they should join the Church of Rome, and not seeing their way—a most consuming, exhausting trial. Yet it will, doubtless, all turn to good. Perhaps, if we knew all, we should know it is impossible for the elect of God to emerge from darkness to light in any other way. Such travail is necessary for the new birth. Perhaps if we saw our way too soon, there might be a re-action and old habits and associations might come over one again. I know too well of the state of those in doubt not to believe that the long trial of some is no sin of theirs, but God's way with them, imparting light slowly that He may impart it more effectually. My only dread is, and it is in some cases very great, when they are not, to all appearance, using the light given them, but shutting their eyes. And as doubt, long continued, may be the fiery process by which one person is brought into the Church, so the loss or alienation of friends by their conversion may be the divinely sent trial of others. It may be the gradual operation by which He prepares their own soul for the trial.

My paper will not let me say more. I am expecting daily a letter from Propaganda, which will determine whether I leave for Rome at the end of next month (June) or not. Keep this secret. I meant to write to you on receipt of it.

As to the reports about me Decipi vult populus et decipiatur. If I put letters with my name into the papers, and the people will not believe, what is to be done?
Ever yours affectionately,

P.S.—Don't tell—but I receive Minor Orders on the day before Trinity Sunday."


Post a Comment

<< Home