Thursday, June 03, 2004

On June 3, 1844
Venerable John Henry Newman, who had given up his Anglican ministry the previous year but was still struggling with whether or not he should come into the Catholic Church, wrote this letter to his sister:
"'Calmet's Dictionary' was a book the boys had (i.e. brought from home) at school, and was popular. It is, in fact, a very popular book, as well as a good book, and I am surprised aunt and you should not know it. I have never seen it myself since I was a boy. I wish I had, but it is too dear to buy. For a long while I used to think Calmet was a Protestant; but he was a good monk of the Benedictine Order, a strict man and a reformer in his day. I know two other of his works—his Comment on the Rule of St. Benedict, and his Literal Commentary on Scripture, which I think Adam Clarke (!) pronounced the best commentary on Scripture extant; it is very good certainly.

… You must not be surprised if I should determine on giving up my Fellowship: but at present I have no plan formed.

I was glad to see J. Fourdrinier and Mr. Deane. You must not suppose I put on a cheerfulness because people do not find out I have cares; the truth is (thank God!) I am cheerful. And though it so entirely depends on Him that I might be cast down for good and all any day, and know not, of course, what is before me, yet having sound sleep at night, and quiet days, and trying to serve Him without aims of this world, however imperfectly, how can I but be cheerful, as I am? And I trust He will overrule all painful things which myself or others have to bear, to our good. Of course the pain of my friends is what cuts me, and I do not know how I shall bear it; but He gives us strength according to our day. "


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