Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Book and Its Stained-Glass Cover

Father Juan Velez has kindly promised to send me a review copy of his latest work on Blessed John Henry Newman, which is being published by Scepter later this month:

In Holiness in a Secular Age: the Witness of Cardinal Newman, a reader will find how John Henry Newman, an intelligent and wise Englishman, living in an age not unlike our own, aspired to holiness in his everyday life through prayer and scripture reading, through his work as a teacher then priest, and through his many friendships.

Newman understood that God calls all men and women to holiness, but what does this mean for people today? Furthermore, how can this holiness be attained?

Newman gave great importance to Church tradition and the writings of Church fathers for his understanding of the Bible. In a period much like today’s, in which many doubted the historicity of the Bible and interpreted as though it were a merely human work, Newman offered reasons to believe in both the divine inspiration and historicity of the written Word of God, reasons that are as valid today as in Newman’s time.

Holiness, a reader will find an explanation of Newman’s important and influential ideas on the development of Christian doctrine. Newman set out to answer the question of whether or not the doctrines of the Catholic Church were true developments of Christ’s teachings or instead, corruptions. It was Newman’s research and writing of this foundational work which eventually led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism.

One of the chapters in
Holiness presents Newman’s abiding contribution to what the true nature of university education should be. Another chapter presents his contribution to the education of boys and how they are to become gentlemen.

A Christian gentleman, for Newman, was much more than what the world understands a gentleman to be. The ideal of a polished person with fine manners, one who can chat about many subjects without hurting people’s feelings, is far from Newman’s notion of what the Christian gentleman should be. One chapter in
Holiness explains that for Newman, the Christian knows that because of original sin, he is sinner in need of supernatural grace. The Christian gentleman is called to be both scholar and a saint.

This book also offers readers Newman’s teaching on daily work, ecumenism, and devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. In sum, 
Holiness in a Secular Age: the Witness of Cardinal Newman teaches through Newman’s life and writings how we too can aspire to holiness in the world.

The cover features the stained glass window behind the High Altar at the "chapel" for the Newman Center on the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln. More about it here.

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