where heart speaks to heart
Newman's renown as a writer has always extended beyond the confines of the Church. His style has many of the hallmarks of florid Victorian prose and he is rarely succinct. That said he his depth of knowledge, understanding and insight are put to good use in a rich variety of contexts. His sermons, prayers, poems, letters, novels, treatises and tracts are erudite, purposeful and sincere. There is a sense when reading them of hearing his voice addressed personally.
He is not only one of the greatest scholars of his or any age, he is also one of the most generous correspondents and his letters bear witness to his genuine concern and sympathy for the personal, intellectual and spiritual well-being of others.
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.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good; I shall do his work.
Therefore I will trust him.
Whatever I do, wherever I am,
I cannot be thrown away.
If I am in sickness,
my sickness may serve him.
If I am in sorrow,
my sorrow may serve him.
He does nothing in vain.
He knows what he's about.
Lead Kindly Light (The Pillar of Fire)
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead me Thou on! The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead Thou me on! Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step is enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path, but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Your power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on,
o'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone;
and with the morn those angel faces smile which I have loved long since,
and lost awhile.
Prayer of the dying
Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Your Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Your consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy
oil sign and seal me, and Your own Body be my food, and Your Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me, and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints smile upon
me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Your faith, in Your Church, in Your service, and in Your love.
A Night Prayer
May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen.
Newman's greatest poetry is to be found in an extended piece of imaginative speculation on the transition between this world and the next. The Dream of Gerontius includes such famous passages as Praise to the Holiest and Firmly I believe and truly. In it a dying man, Geontius, communicates with his guardian angel against the backdrop of the prayers on earth and the glory of heaven.
It is clear that Newman mediated long and deeply on death and understood that God is with us not only in the good times but also in the darker aspects of human life.