A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of John Henry Newman

Posted by Kendall Harmon

God of all wisdom, we offer thanks for John Henry Newman, whose eloquence bore witness that thy Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and who didst make of his own life a pilgrimage towards thy truth. Grant that, inspired by his words and example, we may ever follow thy kindly light till we rest in thy bosom, with your dear Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, where heart speaks to heart eternally; for thou livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

Posted February 21, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Charles wrote:

I find it fascinating (and a bit strange) that some committee added him to the TEC calendar as he left the CofE to become Roman Catholic.

February 21, 11:16 am | [comment link]
2. New Reformation Advocate wrote:


Well, it’s certainly ironic, but no more so than the presence of some other names on the calendar, and less strange to me than many others far less worthy of being considered great saints.  For example, I rejoice that TEC added another hero of mine, John Wesley, to the calendar a number of years ago.  (His feast day comes up soon on March 3rd).  Arguably, Wesley and Newman are two of the greatest theologians and church reformers that the CoE ever produced, although both men insisted on such radical reforms that the CoE balked and basically forced them out.

However, one strange thing about this particular provisional feast day is the date selected.  Why today, when Newman died in August?

As far as I’m concerned, John Henry Newman is the greatest Anglican preacher of all time.  His immortal sermons preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, are still unsurpassed in their eloquent call to a level of rigorous holiness that has never been matched (not even by Wesley).  He was also the most brilliant, the most original, and the most profound theologian Anglicanism produced in the 19th century.  The Catholic Revival that he led with such fervor and skill has transformed Anglicanism forever, in many ways almost beyond recognition.  Now, of course, it’s highly debatable whether those draastic unProtestant changes were for the better or for the worse (or a mix of both outcomes), but I, for one, think they were definitely for the better, enriching Anglicanism tremendously.

For those who’ve never read any of Newman’s classic Parochial and Plain Sermons, a great place to start is with the very first one in the collected set, his superb sermon called “Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness.”  He takes up the biblical theme that we are to strive, as Hebrews bids us, “for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

That appropriate Lenten note is clearly not the dominant theme in Paul or the English Reformers, but it’s perfectly biblical nonetheless, and always timely.

David Handy+

February 21, 11:38 am | [comment link]
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