Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Catholic Carnival...
is up.
Twenty-four days...
before St. Philip's Day....
The Feast of St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here. He was one of the Venerable's favorite saints.
The revealed doctrine of the Incarnation exerted a stronger and a broader influence on Christians, as they more and more apprehended and mastered its meaning and its bearings. It is contained in the brief and simple declaration of St. John, "The Word was made flesh;" but it required century after century to spread it out in its fulness, and to imprint it energetically on the worship and practice of the Catholic people as well as on their faith. Athanasius was the first and the great teacher of it. He collected together the inspired notices scattered through David, Isaias, St. Paul, and St. John, and he engraved indelibly upon the imaginations of the faithful, as had never been before, that man is God, and God is man, that in Mary they meet, and that in this sense Mary is the centre of all things. He added nothing to what was known before, nothing to the popular and zealous faith that her Son was God; he has left behind him in his works no such definite passages about her as those of St. Irenæus or St. Epiphanius; but he brought the circumstances of the Incarnation home to men's minds, by the multiform evolutions of his analysis, and thereby secured it to us for ever from perversion.

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., A Letter Addressed to the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., on Occasion of His Eirenicon

Monday, May 01, 2006

Twenty-five days...
until St. Philip's Day !
The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
is today. There is information on him here.

I ask you when you go out into the world, as soon you must, to make the Holy Family your home, to which you may turn from all the sorrow and care of the world, and find a solace, a compensation and a refuge. And this I say to you, not as if I should speak to you again, not as if I had of myself any claim upon you, but with the claims of the Holy Father whose representative I am, and in the hope that in the days to come you will remember that I came amongst you and said it to you. And when I speak of the Holy Family I do not mean our Lord and His Blessed Mother only, but St. Joseph too; for as we cannot separate our Lord from His Mother, so we cannot separate St. Joseph from them both; for who but he was their protector in all the scenes of our Lord's early life ?

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable John Henry Newman

"Hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John ii. 3.

To know God and Christ, in Scripture language, seems to mean to live under the conviction of His presence, who is to our bodily eyes unseen. It is, in fact, to have faith, according to St. Paul's account of faith, as the substance and evidence of what is invisible. It is faith, but not faith such as a Heathen might have, but Gospel faith; for only in the Gospel has God so revealed Himself, as to allow of that kind of faith which may be called, in a special manner, knowledge. The faith of Heathens was blind; it was more or less a moving forward in the darkness, with hand and foot;—therefore the Apostle says, "if haply they might feel after Him." [Acts xvii. 27.] But the Gospel is a manifestation, and therefore addressed to the eyes of our mind. Faith is the same principle as before, but with the opportunity of acting through a more certain and satisfactory sense. We recognise objects by the eye at once; but not by the touch. We know them when we see them, but scarcely till then. Hence it is, that the New Testament says so much on the subject of spiritual knowledge. For instance, St. Paul prays that the Ephesians may receive "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened;" and he says, that the Colossians had "put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him." St. Peter, in like manner, addresses his brethren with the salutation of "Grace and peace, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord;" according to the declaration of our Lord Himself, "This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." [Eph. i. 17, 18. Col. iii. 10. 2 Pet. i. 2. John xviii. 3.] Not of course as if Christian faith had not still abundant exercise for the other senses (so to call them) of the soul; but that the eye is its peculiar sense, by which it is distinguished from the faith of Heathens, nay, I may add, of Jews.

It is plain what is the object of spiritual sight which is vouchsafed us in the Gospel,—"God manifest in the Flesh." He who was before unseen has shown Himself in Christ; not merely displayed His glory, as (for instance) in what is called a providence, or visitation, or in miracles, or in the actions and character of inspired men, but really He Himself has come upon earth, and has been seen of men in human form. In the same kind of sense, in which we should say we saw a servant of His, Apostle or Prophet, though we could not see his soul, so man has seen the Invisible God; and we have the history of His sojourn among His creatures in the Gospels.

To know God is life eternal, and to believe in the Gospel manifestation of Him is to know Him; but how are we to "know that we know Him?" How are we to be sure that we are not mistaking some dream of our own for the true and clear Vision? How can we tell we are not like gazers upon a distant prospect through a misty atmosphere, who mistake one object for another? The text answers us clearly and intelligibly; though some Christians have recourse to other proofs of it, or will not have patience to ask themselves the question. They say they are quite certain that they have true faith; for faith carries with it its own evidence, and admits of no mistaking, the true spiritual conviction being unlike all others. On the other hand, St. John says, "Hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." Obedience is the test of Faith.

Thus the whole duty and work of a Christian is made up of these two parts, Faith and Obedience; "looking unto Jesus," the Divine Object as well as Author of our faith, and acting according to His will. Not as if a certain frame of mind, certain notions, affections, feelings, and tempers, were not a necessary condition of a saving state; but, so it is, the Apostle does not insist upon it, as if it were sure to follow, if our hearts do but grow into these two chief objects, the view of God in Christ and the diligent aim to obey Him in our conduct.
It's twenty-six days...
until St. Philip's Day !
If it were not Sunday...
today would be the feast of Pope St. Pius V, O.P.. It would also be the feast of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, Priest and Founder, and Blessed William Southerne, Priest and Martyr.