Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

When "the Publican did not so much as lift up his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner," this was an act of repentance. When the woman who had been a sinner washed our Saviour's feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, this was an act of repentance in one who loved much. When Zacchaeus gave half his goods to the poor, and restored fourfold what he had wrongfully obtained, this was an act of repentance in one who would fain undo the past. They are acts of a mind, lingering and engaged in the past, as hope is engaged in contemplating the future. It is common enough at present to speak lightly of the past, as if it was past and could not be helped, as if we could not reverse the past. We cannot literally reverse it; yet surely instances such as the foregoing are the acts of persons who would if they could; who, as it were, are trying to do so, and in a manner doing so from the intense feeling of their hearts. Regret, vexation, sorrow, such feelings seem to this busy, practical, unspiritual generation as idle; as something despicable and unmanly,—just as tears may be. And many men think it religious to say that such feelings argue a want of faith in Christ's merits. They are unbelieving, they are irrational, if they are nothing more than remorse, bitterness, gloom, and despondency. Such is "the sorrow of the world" which "worketh death." Yet there is a "godly sorrow" also; a positive sorrowing for sin, and a deprecation of its consequences, and that quite distinct from faith or amendment; and this, so far from being a barren sorrow, "worketh," as the Apostle assures us, "repentance to salvation, not to be repented of."
The Catholic Carnival
is up.
The Feast of St. Albert the Great, O.P., Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of Blessed Hugh Faringdon , Blessed John Eynon , Blessed John Rugg , Blessed John Thorne , and Blessed Richard Whiting , all Benedictine monks martyred under King Henry VIII.

Monday, November 14, 2005

From Faith and Prejudice and Other Unpublished Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

It was the opinion of numbers at that day that the promised Messiah or Christ, who was coming, would be a great temporal Prince, like Solomon, only greater; that he was to have an earthly court, earthly wealth, earthly palaces, lands and armies and servants and the glory of a temporal kingdom. This was their idea—they looked for a deliverer, but thought he would come like Gideon, David, or Judas Maccabaeus, with sword and spear and loud trumpet, inflicting wounds and shedding blood, and throwing his captives into dungeons.

And they fancied Scripture taught this doctrine. They took parts of Scripture which pleased their fancy, in the first place, and utterly put out of their minds such as went contrary to these. It is quite certain that the Prophet Isaias and other prophets speak of our Lord, then to come, as a conqueror. He speaks of Him as red with the blood of His enemies, and smiting in wrath the heads of diverse countries; as ruling kings with a rod of iron, and extending His dominion to the ends of the earth. It is also true that Scripture elsewhere speaks of the Messias otherwise. He is spoken of as rejected of men, as a leper, as an outcast, as persecuted, as spat upon and pierced and slain. But these passages they put away from them. They did not let them produce their legitimate effects upon their hearts. They heard them with the ear and not with the head, and so it was all one as if they had not been written; to them they were not written. It did not occur to them that they possibly could mean, what nevertheless they did mean. Therefore, when our Lord told them that He, He the Christ, was to be scourged and spat upon, they were taken by surprise, and they cried out, "Be it far from Thee, Lord—impossible, that Thou, the Lord of glory, should be buffeted and bruised, wounded and killed. This shall not happen unto Thee."

You see that the mistake of the Apostles, and their horror and rejection of what nevertheless was the Eternal and most blessed Truth of the gospel, arose from a religious zeal for the honour of God; though a false zeal. It were well, if the similar mistake of people nowadays had so excellent a source and so good an excuse. For, so it is, that now as then, men are to be found who, with Scripture in their hands, in their memories, and in their mouths, yet make great mistakes as to the meaning of it, and that because they are prejudiced against the true sense of it.
The Feast of St. Lawrence O'Toole, Archbishop
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

The soul of man is intended to be a well-ordered polity, in which there are many powers and faculties, and each has its due place; and for these to exceed their limits is sin; yet they cannot be kept within those limits except by being governed, and we are unequal to this task of governing ourselves except after long habit. While we are learning to govern ourselves, we are constantly exposed to the risk, or rather to the occurrence, of numberless failures. We have failures by the way, though we triumph in the end; and thus, as I just now implied, the process of learning to obey God is, in one sense, a process of sinning, from the nature of the case. We have much to be forgiven; nay, we have the more to be forgiven the more we attempt. The higher our aims, the greater our risks. They who venture much with their talents, gain much, and in the end they hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant;" but they have so many losses in trading by the way, that to themselves they seem to do nothing but fail. They cannot believe that they are making any progress; and though they do, yet surely they have much to be forgiven in all their services. They are like David, men of blood; they fight the good fight of faith, but they are polluted with the contest.
is on a roll.
Fr. Michael....
is posting again.
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Pope St. Nicholas I, and St.Stanislaus Kostka, S.J. .