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A Dialog with John Henry Newman

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) is one of our Paulist Fathers’ patron saints. First an Anglican, Newman became a Catholic later in his life, a member of the Oratorian religious community.  During our Lenten season, Newman’s meditation seems especially welcome; it is a kind of dialogue between his reflections (in italics) and another’s response:

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.

May I resolve that my life be lived in such a way that, while it may never know its mission completely, it will never stand in the way of God’s hope for me.

God has not created me to 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 and serve Him in my calling.

May my life and the way I live it be a voice that gently calls others to self-examination and a yearning for the Good.

Therefore, I will trust God, 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.

May I, even in perplexity or sickness or sorrow, remember always that God’s trust in me survives and surmounts all my weaknesses.

God does nothing in vain. God knows what God is about. God may take away my friends. God may throw me among strangers.  God may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, God knows what He is about.

May I return God’s trust in me with an eagerness of confidence that, whatever the trail, I am not abandoned.


What do you think?
And let us pray for one another,
Michael McGarry, C.S.P.