Saturday, January 23, 2016

Newman's Second Miracle?

From The Catholic Herald:

The Archbishop of Birmingham has welcomed reports that the Vatican is investigating a possible second “miracle” which may lead to the canonisation of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Archbishop Bernard Longley said it was a “great joy” to know that the Cause was making progress.

He said the occasion should also spur on Catholics to renew their prayers for the canonisation of Blessed Dominic Barberi, who received Newman into the Catholic faith from the Church of England.

“Blessed Cardinal Newman has left an extraordinarily rich spiritual legacy – not least through the two Oratory communities in Birmingham and Oxford – as well as to the Church nationally and internationally,” Archbishop Longley said.

“It would be a great joy to see him take a step closer to being named among the saints and would be an encouragement to all who have been inspired by him seek the truth by seeking Christ.

“At the same time, and especially during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, I am sure that Blessed John Henry Newman would want us to continue praying for the canonisation of Blessed Dominic Barberi, the Passionist priest who first enabled him to receive the Sacrament of mercy at his reception into full communion with the Catholic Church at Littlemore in 1845 and who gave him a new insight into the merciful love of God.”

The archbishop spoke after the Tablet, a Catholic weekly magazine, revealed that the Archdiocese of Chicago had investigated the inexplicable healing of a young American mother who prayed for the Victorian cardinal’s intercession when she became afflicted by a “life-threatening pregnancy”.

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The Birmingham Oratory outlines three reasons that Blessed John Henry Newman should be canonized, looking at aspects of his life and work beyond the intellectual and literary:

A fundamental component of Newman’s spirituality is his conviction of the primacy and immediacy of the unseen spiritual world around us. We need this initial conviction as we try to evangelize peoples and cultures that often ignore the reality of the supernatural, or else they take an unhealthy interest in warped versions of supernatural reality – occultism and all its poisonous derivatives.

Newman’s belief that what we see around us is only a tiny part of reality properly understood is at the heart of his theological and spiritual insights, both as an Anglican clergyman and later as a Catholic priest. . . .

Secondly, we should be inspired by the heroic docility with which he followed where the Spirit led. He was not in any way a charismatic in the modern sense of that label. He believed our prayer should always be tranquil and sober. However, by the use of his mind and by a finely tuned self-awareness of his own spiritual sensibilities he persevered step by step under the Spirit’s guidance along the path to truth, a path that led him out of the errors and prejudices which had coloured his earlier beliefs. The convert who in 1845 acknowledged the Roman Catholic Church as the one true fold of the Redeemer was the man who for many years previously had seriously believed that the Pope was antichrist, and the Roman Church a purveyor of idolatry, heresy, and superstition. . . .

Thirdly, we have the example of the fruitful integration within Newman himself of his love for God and his love of neighbour. His harmonious integration of those two great loves shows us that the gift of faith is a gift for the whole person. Newman loved God with the same heart and mind with which he also loved other creatures. His celibate and chaste affective life was not clouded by anything akin to what the post-Freudian world likes to call ‘repression’. His capacity for deep friendship with others, women and men, is well documented. It is charmingly revealed in the attentive and affectionate letters he wrote to his closer friends.

In an age like our own when genuine friendship can so easily be occluded by an obsessive sexualization of human affectivity, Newman reminds us that human love at its best is a pointer towards that supreme love to which we are all called, whatever our state in life and whatever our role in the Church: our personal love for our personal Saviour. John Henry’s human affections were an integral part of his spiritual journey. His friendships brought him closer to God. . . .

Read the rest there.

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