On one occasion the great English
writer, scholar and saint, Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was
asked on how one could become a saint. This holy but very practical man gave a
short but clear recipe for holiness--- here we have it for your own motivation
to pursue holiness!
First, he said: “Get to bed on time!” This may take many by surprise, but on second
thought it should not. Why? If we do not get sufficient rest our body will be
tired; we will be dragging ourselves through the day. Most likely we will be
impatient and end up by being short and snapping at people, especially those
with whom we live! Our body is the
temple of the Holy Spirit, and must be treated properly through proper rest!
Second, Newman stated that upon
waking we should offer our first thoughts to God, and consecrate the day to His
service. Today we might call this the
Morning Offering. In this prayer we
offer all to Jesus though the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May all our words,
deeds, and even intentions be done for the honor and glory of God and for the
salvation of souls.
Third, Cardinal Newman suggested that
we eat to the honor and glory of God.
St. Paul puts it this way: “Whether you eat or drink do all for the
honor and glory of God.” When we eat may
we never be moved by passion and gluttony but always be directed by faith and
Fourth, with regard to immoral and
impure thoughts—we all struggle with them in one form or another—they should be
rejected immediately. Are bad thoughts sins, many wonder! Once a priest asked a man if he entertained
bad thoughts. The man quickly
responded: “No they entertained
me!” As soon as we are aware of immodest
or indecent thoughts we must reject and expel them from our mind as quickly as
possible through a short and fervent prayer and a strong act of the will!
Fifth, Blessed John Henry recommended
that we make a fervent Eucharistic visit. Remember that he lived in Protestant
England in the 19th century where there was not an abundance of
Catholic Churches and not too many daily Masses. For that reason a fervent
visit to the Eucharistic Lord would serve to keep the heart’s love enkindled
for the Lord Jesus.
Sixth, pray the Rosary. This
wonderful prayer Cardinal Newman encouraged to be prayed on a daily basis! The saints, the Popes and Our Lady herself
have all strongly recommended the daily recitation of the most Holy Rosary. In
1917 Our Lady of Fatima appeared six times to the three shepherd
children—Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta-.
Every time she visited she Our Lady exhorted the recitation of the daily
Rosary. St. Pope John Paul II in his
letter “The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Rosary” likewise encouraged the Rosary
and for two specific intentions: for world peace and for the salvation of the
family. In this document “The Rosary
priest” (Father Patrick Peyton) was quoted:
“The family that prays together stays together.”
Seventh, and lastly Blessed Cardinal
John Henry Newman spread the icing on the top of the cake of holiness with
these words: “Try to do the ordinary
duties of one’s daily life with extraordinary love.” If this is done faithfully and on a daily
basis we have a short program and recipe for holiness. This is the essence of the spirituality of
St. Therese of Lisieux. God does not pay so much attention to the greatness of
the exterior action but rather of the purity of intention by which the action
is carried out. St. Therese also affirmed this spiritual concept with these
words: “Pick up a pin for the love of
God and you can save a soul.” Remember
that Jesus paid more attention and praised the humble widow throwing in two
small copper coins (worth very little economically) than the huge sums of money
thrown in the collection boxes by the vain and proud and self-seeking!
HOLINESS IN THE SIMPLE AND HIDDEN
WAY! Hopefully this simple recipe of
holiness of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman can serve as a motivation and
stimulus for you and me to seek the reason for our existence—holiness in this
life which will terminate in eternal happiness in heaven!