Thought for the Week

11 Oct 2018

Blessed John Henry Newman.

October is always a very special month.  There are so many different strands to October in relation to the prayer themes.  We remember St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus right at the very start of the month along with our Guardian Angels.  It is also the month of the Holy Rosary and we offer ourselves to the care of our Blessed Lady, Mary the Mother of Jesus as we pray Her special prayer. On Tuesday this week, we remembered the Feast Day of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Although born in London, he spent most of his later life in the Midlands area. He is buried at Rednal, near Birmingham. He founded a University in Ireland and an Oratory of St Philip Neri.  There is a special chapel and shrine to Newman at the Oratory in Birmingham which is located on the Hagley Road. His writings, sermons he published and his pastoral care brought many people deep spiritual encouragement.

Back in 2010, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he was Supreme Pontiff beatified Cardinal Newman at the special Papal Mass that was held in Cofton Park.  Over 70,000 Catholics attended the Mass in the park on 19th September and it was a very significant time in the life of the Church and of this local area. Let us pray that one day this inspirational man and servant of God may become a Saint.

As a Cardinal in the Catholic Church, his motto was ‘Cor ad cor loquitor.’  This translates as “Heart speaks unto heart.”  This can be our reflection this week.  It is the Divine Loving Heart of our God who seeks communion with our hearts.

The Lord communicates with us at every moment of every day.   The Divine Heart of Mercy of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit seeks out our hearts.  He wants us to listen to Him, that our hearts may be united to His.  The Heart of the Loving Kindness of our God was revealed most strongly in the first coming of Our Saviour Jesus to earth.

In His Incarnation, the Holy One, the Precious Son of God became human by the Power, Mercy and Love of the Holy Spirit as Jesus was formed in the Womb of Our Lady.  He chose to be born as a little baby who would grow up to become a Man in order to redeem us.   By His many difficulties and hardships throughout His earthly Life and particularly through His cruel sufferings and death on the Cross, Jesus proved God’s great love for us.  He revealed the Heart of Mercy and Love of the Father.  Jesus’ own Heart of Mercy and Love was pierced after His Death by the soldier’s spear, to ensure that Jesus really was dead.  Out of that pierced Heart flowed Blood and Water.  These two streams of Love and Mercy represent the two Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

By His Glorious Resurrection we too can share in Jesus’ Divine life and enter into a relationship of love with Him, for ever.  Our Great and Holy God who holds the stars and the universe and who created all things out of love, became like us in love to help us draw closer to Him in love. The thing is, are we attentive to the things of God?  Are we aware that our loving God is seeking out our hearts, wanting our love?  Are we seeking?  Will we, like John Henry Newman seek God with all of our hearts and in finding Him, love Him?  Are we aware of the Mission that we have, which is a Divine Mission?

Our prayer/reflection this week: The Mission of My Life. Blessed John Henry Newman. (1801-1890)

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about. ”

Blessed John Henry Newman, Pray for us. Blessed Dominic Barberi, Patron of our Archdiocese, Pray for us.