NEWMAN a short biography - by Fr Michael Collins - Messenger Publications.
" the human mind is made for truth " JH Newman (Grammar of Assent)
One of the positive aspects of recent political events was the agonising search by the electorate for truth and honesty. Time and time again the media documented that demand. We are blessed with Saint John Henry Newman a light that will lead us into the coming centuries in our journey to the Truth that is Christ.
To be a saint is to be a complete human being. Newman became that through a journey that was one of success and suffering. He was rare in that he matched a brilliant intellect with great heart and a highly developed spirituality. The poor and destitute - the uneducated ignorant - the sick and needy all gravitated towards that person.
His great insight - and there were others- was discovery of what 'Conscience' was. He shone a light on the darkness that was Jansenism. He upset many when he wrote to the Duke of Norfolk at the time of the debate on Papal infallibility - 'I shall drink to the Pope, if you please, still, To Conscience first , and to the Pope afterwards.' He was right because he saw Conscience as God's life in every human person and that was a basic relationship , a basic truth. Thomas Merton, a great admirer of Newman put it another way - " One last thing: the light of the Holy Ghost does not leave us pleased with ourselves but pleased with God only." ( The Ascent to Truth)
Fr Michael Collins writes vibrant introduction to Saint John Henry Newman. He subtitles his work as a short biography but one rich in content. He surrounds the saint with an invaluable account of the history of the times in which he loved. Fr Collins is a fine story teller and an accurate one at the same time. He does not shy away from the 'shabby' treatment meted out to John Henry by the Irish. But more study needs to be done in the future as to the causes of such behaviour.
Newman was convinced that only a faith that enveloped the total person would survive and thrive in the changing and challenging times ahead. No compartments where our faith could be hidden away. Perhaps the words of God to His people in Psalm 88 would best sum up Newman's Spirituality and his understanding of God...
" But I will never take back my Love:
My truth will never fail."
I highly recommend Fr Michael Collins excellent biography.
Father John Buckley.
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