Newmania - 10: "A link in a chain"

After his death, Newman's prayers and meditations were collected and published as Meditations and Devotions. Here is part of a meditation that he composed in 1848 onGod as Creator. It reflects long-standing aspects of Newman's personal spirituality. He almost died of typhoid fever while travelling alone in Sicily in 1833. He clung to the hope of recovery with the conviction that God had a work for him to do in England. After his recovery and while aboard ship on the Mediterranean, he composed his most famous poem, "The Pillar of the Cloud," better known as the hymn "Lead Kindly Light."Several lines expressthemes often urged in his sermons (e.g., "Remembrance of Past Mercies")and reflected in thismeditation composed fifteen years later.

1. God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself; but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glorywe are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.2. 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 missionI never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in hisif, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for 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.3. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever 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. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from mestill He knows what He is about.O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, Thou that guidest Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than Imore loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfil Thy high purposes in me whatever they bework in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to seeI ask not to knowI ask simply to be used.________________________________________________Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom,lead thou me on!The night is dark, and I am far from home;lead thou me on!Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to seethe distant scene; one step enough for me.I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thoushouldst lead me on;I loved to choose and see my path; but nowlead thou me on!I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,pride ruled my will: remember not past years!So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it stillwill lead me on.O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, tillthe night is gone,And with the morn those angel faces smile,which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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