Thought for the Day – 20 February 2018 – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Excerpt from “Behold the Man”, a Lenten Reflection
By Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)
“I see the figure of a man, whether young or old I cannot tell. He may be fifty, or he may be thirty. Sometimes He looks one, sometimes the other. There is something inexpressible about His face that I cannot solve. Perhaps, as He bears all burdens, He bears that of old age too. But so it is; His face is at once most venerable, yet most childlike, most calm, most sweet, most modest, beaming with sanctity and with loving kindness. His eyes rivet me and move my heart. His breath is all fragrant and transports me out of myself. Oh, I will look upon that face forever and will not cease.
And I see suddenly someone come to Him and raise His hand and sharply strike Him on that heavenly face. It is a hard hand, the hand of a rude man and perhaps has iron upon it. It could not be so sudden as to take by surprise, Him who knows all things past and future and He shows no sign of resentment, remaining calm and grave as before; but the expression of His face is marred; a great welt arises and in a short time that all-gracious face is hidden from me by the effects of this indignity, as if a cloud came over it.
A hand was lifted up against the face of Christ.
Whose hand was that? My conscience tells me: ‘You are the man.’
I trust it is not so with me now. But, O my soul, contemplate the awful fact. Fancy Christ before you and fancy yourself lifting up your hand and striking Him! You will say, ‘It is impossible: I could not do so.’ Yes, you have done so. When you sinned wilfully, then you have done so. He is beyond pain now: still you have struck Him and had it been in the days of His flesh, He would have felt pain. Turn back in memory and recollect the time, the day, the hour, when by wilful mortal sin, by scoffing at sacred things, or by profaneness, or by hard hatred of your brother, or by acts of impurity, or by deliberate rejection of God’s voice, or in any other devilish way known to you, you have struck the All-Holy One.” (to be continued…………….)
NOTE of Interest: A second miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry (2016) is still in progress of investigation by the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood and if Vatican theologians and doctors conclude the healing is a divine sign of Newman’s sanctity the Pope will be invited to canonise him as the first English saint since 1970 and the first British saint since 1976.
Prayer for the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
God our Father,
You granted to Your servant,
Blessed John Henry Newman,
wonderful gifts of nature and of grace,
that he should be a spiritual light
in the darkness of this world,
an eloquent herald of the Gospel
and a devoted servant
of the one Church of Christ.
With confidence in
his heavenly intercession,
we make the following petition:
[here make your petition]
For his insight into
the mysteries of the kingdom,
his zealous defense
of the teachings of the Church
and his priestly love
for each of Your children,
we pray that he may soon
be numbered among the Saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever.