XVI. The Sacred Heart


1. O SACRED Heart of Jesus, I adore Thee in the oneness of the Personality of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Whatever belongs to the Person of Jesus, belongs therefore to God, and is to be worshipped with that one and the same worship which we pay to Jesus. He did not take on Him His human nature, as something distinct and separate from Himself, but as simply, absolutely, eternally His, so as to be included by us in the very thought of Him. I worship Thee, O Heart of Jesus, as being Jesus Himself, as being that Eternal Word in human nature which He took wholly and lives in wholly, and therefore in Thee. Thou art the Heart of the Most High made man. In worshipping Thee, I worship my Incarnate God, Emmanuel. I worship Thee, as bearing a part in that Passion which is my life, for Thou didst burst and break, through agony, in the garden of Gethsemani, and Thy precious contents trickled out, through the veins and pores of the skin, upon the earth. And again, Thou hadst been drained all but dry upon the Cross; and then, after death, Thou wast pierced by the lance, and gavest out the small remains of that inestimable treasure, which is our redemption.

2. My God, my Saviour, I adore Thy Sacred Heart, for that heart is the seat and source of all Thy {413} tenderest human affections for us sinners. It is the instrument and organ of Thy love. It did beat for us. It yearned over us. It ached for us, and for our salvation. It was on fire through zeal, that the glory of God might be manifested in and by us. It is the channel through which has come to us all Thy overflowing human affection, all Thy Divine Charity towards us. All Thy incomprehensible compassion for us, as God and Man, as our Creator and our Redeemer and Judge, has come to us, and comes, in one inseparably mingled stream, through that Sacred Heart. O most Sacred symbol and Sacrament of Love, divine and human, in its fulness, Thou didst save me by Thy divine strength, and Thy human affection, and then at length by that wonder-working blood, wherewith Thou didst overflow.

3. O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou savest, Desiderio desideravi—"With desire I have desired." I worship Thee then with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up Thy abode within me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it, but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace.

XVII. The Infinite Perfection of God


Ex ipso, et per ipsum, et in ipso sunt omnia

1. Ex ipso. I adore Thee, O my God, as the origin and source of all that is in the world. Once nothing was in being but Thou. It was so for a whole eternity. Thou alone hast had no beginning. Thou hast ever been in being without beginning. Thou hast necessarily been a whole eternity by Thyself, having in Thee all perfections stored up in Thyself, by Thyself; a world of worlds; an infinite abyss of all that is great and wonderful, beautiful and holy; a treasury of infinite attributes, all in one; infinitely one while thus infinitely various. My God, the thought simply exceeds a created nature, much more mine. I cannot attain to it; I can but use the words, and say "I believe," without comprehending. But this I can do. I can adore Thee, O my great and good God, as the one source of all perfection, and that I do, and with Thy grace will do always.

2. Per ipsum. And when other beings began to be, they lived through Thee. They did not begin of themselves. They did not come into existence {415} except by Thy determinate will, by Thy eternal counsel, by Thy sole operation. They are wholly from Thee. From eternity, in the deep ocean of Thy blessedness, Thou didst predestinate everything which in its hour took place. Not a substance, ever so insignificant, but is Thy design and Thy work. Much more, not a soul comes into being, but by Thy direct appointment and act. Thou seest, Thou hast seen from all eternity, every individual of Thy creatures. Thou hast seen me, O my God, from all eternity. Thou seest distinctly, and ever hast seen, whether I am to be saved or to be lost. Thou seest my history through all ages in heaven or in hell. O awful thought! My God, enable me to bear it, lest the thought of Thee confound me utterly; and lead me forward to salvation.

3. In ipso. And I believe and know, moreover, that all things live in Thee. Whatever there is of being, of life, of excellence, of enjoyment, of happiness, in the whole creation, is, in its substance, simply and absolutely Thine. It is by dipping into the ocean of Thy infinite perfections that all beings have whatever they have of good. All the beautifulness and majesty of the visible world is a shadow or a glimpse of Thee, or the manifestation or operation in a created medium of one or other of Thy attributes. All that is wonderful in the way of talent or genius is but an unworthy reflexion of the faintest gleam of the Eternal Mind. Whatever we do well, is not only by Thy help, but is after all scarcely an imitation of that sanctity which is in fulness in Thee. O my God, shall I one day see Thee? what sight can compare {416} to that great sight! Shall I see the source of that grace which enlightens me, strengthens me, and consoles me? As I came from Thee, as I am made through Thee, as I live in Thee, so, O my God, may I at last return to Thee, and be with Thee for ever and ever.

XVIII. The Infinite Knowledge of God


Omnia nuda et aperta sunt oculis ejus; non est ulla creatura invisibilis in conspectu ejus
All things are naked and open to his eyes; neither is there any creature invisible in his sight

1. MY God, I adore Thee, as beholding all things. Thou knowest in a way altogether different and higher than any knowledge which can belong to creatures. We know by means of sight and thought; there are few things we know in any other way; but how unlike this knowledge, not only in extent, but in its nature and its characteristics, is Thy knowledge! The Angels know many things, but their knowledge compared to Thine is mere ignorance. The human soul, which Thou didst take into Thyself when Thou didst become man, was filled from the first with all the knowledge possible to human nature: but even that was nothing but a drop compared to the abyss of that knowledge, and its keen luminousness, which is Thine as God.

2. My God, could it be otherwise? for from the first and from everlasting Thou wast by Thyself; and Thy blessedness consisted in knowing and contemplating {418} Thyself, the Father in the Son and Spirit, and the Son and Spirit severally in each other and in the Father, thus infinitely comprehending the infinite. If Thou didst know Thy infinite self thus perfectly, Thou didst know that which was greater and more than anything else could be. All that the whole universe contains, put together, is after all but finite. It is finite, though it be illimitable! it is finite, though it be so multiform; it is finite, though it be so marvellously skilful, beautiful, and magnificent; but Thou art the infinite God, and, knowing Thyself, much more dost Thou know the whole universe, however vast, however intricate and various, and all that is in it.

3. My great God, Thou knowest all that is in the universe, because Thou Thyself didst make it. It is the very work of Thy hands. Thou art Omniscient, because Thou art omni-creative. Thou knowest each part, however minute, as perfectly as Thou knowest the whole. Thou knowest mind as perfectly as Thou knowest matter. Thou knowest the thoughts and purposes of every soul as perfectly as if there were no other soul in the whole of Thy creation. Thou knowest me through and through; all my present, past, and future are before Thee as one whole. Thou seest all those delicate and evanescent motions of my thought which altogether escape myself. Thou canst trace every act, whether deed or thought, to its origin, and canst follow it into its whole growth, to its origin, and canst follow it into its whole growth and consequences. Thou knowest how it will be with me at the end; Thou hast before Thee that hour when I shall come to Thee to be judged. How {419} awful is the prospect of finding myself in the presence of my Judge! Yet, O Lord, I would not that Thou shouldst not know me. It is my greatest stay to know that Thou readest my heart. O give me more of that open-hearted sincerity which I have desired. Keep me ever from being afraid of Thy eye, from the inward consciousness that I am not honestly trying to please Thee. Teach me to love Thee more, and then I shall be at peace, without any fear of Thee at all.

XIX. The Providence of God


1. I ADORE Thee, my God, as having laid down the ends and the means of all things which Thou hast created. Thou hast created everything for some end of its own, and Thou dost direct it to that end. The end, which Thou didst in the beginning appoint for man, is Thy worship and service, and his own happiness in paying it; a blessed eternity of soul and body with Thee for ever. Thou hast provided for this, and that in the case of every man. As Thy hand and eye are upon the brute creation, so are they upon us. Thou sustainest everything in life and action for its own end. Not a reptile, not an insect, but Thou seest and makest to live, while its time lasts. Not a sinner, not an idolater, not a blasphemer, not an atheist lives, but by Thee, and in order that he may repent. Thou art careful and tender to each of the beings that Thou hast created, as if it were the only one in the whole world. For Thou canst see every one of them at once, and Thou lovest every one in this mortal life, and pursuest every one by itself, with all the fulness of Thy attributes, as if Thou wast waiting on it and ministering to it for its own sake. My God, I love to contemplate {421} Thee, I love to adore Thee, thus the wonderful worker of all things every day in every place.

2. All Thy acts of providence are acts of love. If Thou sendest evil upon us, it is in love. All the evils of the physical world are intended for the good of Thy creatures, or are the unavoidable attendants on that good. And Thou turnest that evil into good. Thou visitest men with evil to bring them to repentance, to increase their virtue, to gain for them greater good hereafter. Nothing is done in vain, but has its gracious end. Thou dost punish, yet in wrath Thou dost remember mercy. Even Thy justice when it overtakes the impenitent sinner, who had exhausted Thy loving providences towards him, is mercy to others, as saving them from his contamination, or granting them a warning. I acknowledge with a full and firm faith, O Lord, the wisdom and goodness of Thy Providence, even in Thy inscrutable judgments and Thy incomprehensible decrees.

3. O my God, my whole life has been a course of mercies and blessings shewn to one who has been most unworthy of them. I require no faith, for I have had long experience, as to Thy providence towards me. Year after year Thou hast carried me on—removed dangers from my path—recovered me, recruited me, refreshed me, borne with me, directed me, sustained me. O forsake me not when my strength faileth me. And Thou never wilt forsake me. I may securely repose upon Thee. Sinner as I am, nevertheless, while I am true to Thee, Thou wilt still and to the end, be superabundantly true to me. {422} I may rest upon Thy arm; I may go to sleep in Thy bosom. Only give me, and increase in me, that true loyalty to Thee, which is the bond of the covenant between Thee and me, and the pledge in my own heart and conscience that Thou, the Supreme God, wilt not forsake me, the most miserable of Thy children.

XX. God is All in All


Unus deus et Pater omnium, qui est super omnes, et per omnia, et in omnibus nobis
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all

1. GOD alone is in heaven; God is all in all. Eternal Lord, I acknowledge this truth, and I adore Thee in this sovereign and most glorious mystery. There is One God, and He fills heaven; and all blessed creatures, though they ever remain in their individuality, are, as the very means of their blessedness, absorbed, and (as it were) drowned in the fulness of Him who is super omnes, et per omnia, et in omnibus. If ever, through Thy grace, I attain to see Thee in heaven, I shall see nothing else but Thee, because I shall see all whom I see in Thee, and seeing them I shall see Thee. As I cannot see things here below without light, and to see them is to see the rays which come from them, so in that Eternal City claritas Dei illuminavit eam, et lucerna ejus est Agnus—the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. My God, I adore Thee now (at least I will do so to the best of my powers) as the One {424} Sole True Life and Light of the soul, as I shall know and see Thee to be hereafter, if by Thy grace I attain to heaven.

2. Eternal, Incomprehensible God, I believe, and confess, and adore Thee, as being infinitely more wonderful, resourceful, and immense, than this universe which I see. I look into the depths of space, in which the stars are scattered about, and I understand that I should be millions upon millions of years in creeping along from one end of it to the other, if a bridge were thrown across it. I consider the overpowering variety, richness, intricacy of Thy work; the elements, principles, laws, results which go to make it up. I try to recount the multitudes of kinds of knowledge, of sciences, and of arts of which it can be made the subject. And, I know, I should be ages upon ages in learning everything that is to be learned about this world, supposing me to have the power of learning it at all. And new sciences would come to light, at present unsuspected, as fast as I had mastered the old, and the conclusions of today would be nothing more than starting points of tomorrow. And I see moreover, and the more I examined it, the more I should understand, the marvellous beauty of these works of Thy hands. And so, I might begin again, after this material universe, and find a new world of knowledge, higher and more wonderful, in Thy intellectual creations, Thy angels and other spirits, and men. But all, all that is in these worlds, high and low, are but an atom compared with the grandeur, the height and depth, the glory, on which Thy saints are gazing in their contemplation {425} of Thee. It is the occupation of eternity, ever new, inexhaustible, ineffably ecstatic, the stay and the blessedness of existence, thus to drink in and be dissolved in Thee.

3. My God, it was Thy supreme blessedness in the eternity past, as it is Thy blessedness in all eternities, to know Thyself, as Thou alone canst know Thee. It was by seeing Thyself in Thy Co-equal Son and Thy Co-eternal Spirit, and in Their seeing Thee, that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Three Persons, One God, was infinitely blessed. O my God, what am I that Thou shouldst make my blessedness to consist in that which is Thy own! That Thou shouldst grant me to have not only the sight of Thee, but to share in Thy very own joy! O prepare me for it, teach me to thirst for it.

XXI. God the Incommunicable Perfection


1. ALMIGHTY God, Thou art the One Infinite Fulness. From eternity Thou art the One and only absolute and most all-sufficient seat and proper abode of all conceivable best attributes, and of all, which are many more, which cannot be conceived. I hold this as a matter of reason, though my imagination starts from it. I hold it firmly and absolutely, though it is the most difficult of all mysteries. I hold it from the actual experience of Thy blessings and mercies towards me, the evidences of Thy awful Being and attributes, brought home continually to my reason, beyond the power of doubting or disputing. I hold it from that long and intimate familiarity with it, so that it is part of my rational nature to hold it; because I am so constituted and made up upon the idea of it, as a keystone, that not to hold it would be to break my mind to pieces. I hold it from that intimate perception of it in my conscience, as a fact present to me, that I feel it as easy to deny my own personality as the personality of God, and have lost my grounds for believing that I exist myself, if I deny existence to Him. I hold it because I could not bear to be without Thee, O my Lord and Life, because I look for blessings beyond {427} thought by being with Thee. I hold it from the terror of being left in this wild world without stay or protection. I hold it from humble love to Thee, from delight in Thy glory and exaltation, from my desire that Thou shouldst be great and the only great one. I hold it for Thy sake, and because I love to think of Thee as so glorious, perfect, and beautiful. There is one God, and none other but He.

2. Since, O Eternal God, Thou art so incommunicably great, so one, so perfect in that oneness, surely one would say, Thou ever must be most distant from Thy creatures, didst Thou create any;—separated from them by Thy eternal ancientness on their beginning to be, and separated by Thy transcendency of excellence and Thy absolute contrariety to them. What couldst Thou give them out of Thyself, which would suit their nature, so different from Thine? What good of Thine could be their good, or do them good, except in some poor external way? If Thou couldst be the happiness of man, then might man in turn, or some gift from him, be the happiness of the bird of prey or the wild beast, the cattle of his pasture, or the myriads of minute creatures which we can scarcely see. Man is not so far above them, as Thou above him. For what is every creature in Thy sight, O Lord, but a vanity and a breath, a smoke which stays not, but flits by and passes away, a poor thing which only vanishes so much the sooner, because Thou lookest on it, and it is set in the illumination of Thy countenance? Is not this, O Lord, the perplexity of reason? From the Perfect comes the Perfect; yet Thou canst not make a second God, {428} from the nature of the case; and therefore either canst not create at all, or of necessity must create what is infinitely unlike, and therefore, in a sense, unworthy of the Creator.

3. What communion then can there be between Thee and me? O my God! what am I but a parcel of dead bones, a feeble, tottering, miserable being, compared with Thee. I am Thy work, and Thou didst create me pure from sin, but how canst Thou look upon me in my best estate of nature, with complacency? how canst Thou see in me any image of Thyself, the Creator? How is this, my Lord? Thou didst pronounce Thy work very good, and didst make man in Thy image. Yet there is an infinite gulf between Thee and me, O my God.

XXII. God Communicated to Us


1. THOU hast, O Lord, an incommunicable perfection, but still that Omnipotence by which Thou didst create, is sufficient also to the work of communicating Thyself to the spirits which Thou hast created. Thy Almighty Life is not for our destruction, but for our living. Thou remainest ever one and the same in Thyself, but there goes from Thee continually a power and virtue, which by its contact is our strength and good. I do not know how this can be; my reason does not satisfy me here; but in nature I see intimations, and by faith I have full assurance of the truth of this mystery. By Thee we cross the gulf that lies between Thee and us. The Living God is lifegiving. Thou art the Fount and Centre, as well as the Seat, of all good. The traces of Thy glory, as the many-coloured rays of the sun, are scattered over the whole face of nature, without diminution of Thy perfections, or violation of Thy transcendent and unapproachable Essence. How it can be, I know not; but so it is. And thus, remaining one and sole and infinitely removed from all things, still Thou art the fulness of all things, in Thee they consist, of Thee they partake, and into Thee, retaining their own individuality, they are absorbed. {430} And thus, while we droop and decay in our own nature, we live by Thy breath; and Thy grace enables us to endure Thy presence.

2. Make me then like Thyself, O my God, since, in spite of myself, such Thou canst make me, such I can be made. Look on me, O my Creator, pity the work of Thy hands, ne peream in infirmitate meā—"that I perish not in my infirmity." Take me out of my natural imbecility, since that is possible for me, which is so necessary. Thou hast shewn it to be possible in the face of the whole world by the most overwhelming proof, by taking our created nature on Thyself, and exalting it in Thee. Give me in my own self the benefit of this wondrous truth, now it has been so publicly ascertained and guaranteed. Let me have in my own person, what in Jesus Thou hast given to my nature. Let me be partaker of that Divine Nature in all the riches of Its attributes, which in fulness of substance and in personal presence became the Son of Mary. Give me that life, suitable to my own need, which is stored up for us all in Him who is the Life of men. Teach me and enable me to live the life of Saints and Angels. Take me out of the languor, the irritability, the sensitiveness, the incapability, the anarchy, in which my soul lies, and fill it with Thy fulness. Breathe on me, that the dead bones may live. Breathe on me with that Breath which infuses energy and kindles fervour. In asking for fervour, I ask for all that I can need, and all that Thou canst give; for it is the crown of all gifts and all virtues. It cannot really and fully be, except where all are at present. It is {431} the beauty and the glory, as it is also the continual safeguard and purifier of them all. In asking for fervour, I am asking for effectual strength, consistency, and perseverance; I am asking for deadness to every human motive, and simplicity of intention to please Thee: I am asking for faith, hope, and charity in their most heavenly exercise. In asking for fervour I am asking to be rid of the fear of man, and the desire of his praise; I am asking for the gift of prayer, because it will be so sweet; I am asking for that loyal perception of duty, which follows on yearning affection; I am asking for sanctity, peace, and joy all at once. In asking for fervour, I am asking for the brightness of the Cherubim and the fire of the Seraphim, and the whiteness of all Saints. In asking for fervour, I am asking for that which, while it implies all gifts, is that in which I signally fail. Nothing would be a trouble to me, nothing a difficulty, had I but fervour of soul.

3. Lord, in asking for fervour, I am asking for Thyself, for nothing short of Thee, O my God, who hast given Thyself wholly to us. Enter my heart substantially and personally, and fill it with fervour by filling it with Thee. Thou alone canst fill the soul of man, and Thou hast promised to do so. Thou art the living Flame, and ever burnest with love of man: enter into me and set me on fire after Thy pattern and likeness.

XXIII. God the Sole Stay for Eternity


1. MY God I believe and know and adore Thee as infinite in the multiplicity and depth of Thy attributes. I adore Thee as containing in Thee an abundance of all that can delight and satisfy the soul. I know, on the contrary, and from sad experience I am too sure, that whatever is created, whatever is earthly, pleases but for the time, and then palls and is a weariness. I believe that there is nothing at all here below, which I should not at length get sick of. I believe, that, though I had all the means of happiness which this life could give, yet in time I should tire of living, feeling everything trite and dull and unprofitable. I believe, that, were it my lot to live the long antediluvian life, and to live it without Thee, I should be utterly, inconceivably, wretched at the end of it. I think I should be tempted to destroy myself for very weariness and disgust. I think I should at last lose my reason and go mad, if my life here was prolonged long enough. I should feel it like solitary confinement, for I should find myself shut up in myself without companion, if I could not converse with Thee, my God. Thou {433} only, O my Infinite Lord, art ever new, though Thou art the ancient of days—the last as well as the first.

2. Thou, O my God, art ever new, though Thou art the most ancient—Thou alone art the food for eternity. I am to live forever, not for a time—and I have no power over my being; I cannot destroy myself, even though I were so wicked as to wish to do so. I must live on, with intellect and consciousness for ever, in spite of myself. Without Thee eternity would be another name for eternal misery. In Thee alone have I that which can stay me up for ever: Thou alone art the food of my soul. Thou alone art inexhaustible, and ever offerest to me something new to know, something new to love. At the end of millions of years I shall know Thee so little, that I shall seem to myself only beginning. At the end of millions of years I shall find in Thee the same, or rather, greater sweetness than at first, and shall seem then only to be beginning to enjoy Thee: and so on for eternity I shall ever be a little child beginning to be taught the rudiments of Thy infinite Divine nature. For Thou art Thyself the seat and centre of all good, and the only substance in this universe of shadows, and the heaven in which blessed spirits live and rejoice.

3. My God, I take Thee for my portion. From mere prudence I turn from the world to Thee; I give up the world for Thee. I renounce that which promises for Him who performs. To whom else should I go? I desire to find and feed on Thee here; {434} I desire to feed on Thee, Jesu, my Lord, who art risen, who hast gone up on high, who yet remainest with Thy people on earth. I look up to Thee; I look for the Living Bread which is in heaven, which comes down from heaven. Give me ever of this Bread. Destroy this life, which will soon perish—even though Thou dost not destroy it, and fill me with that supernatural life, which will never die.



Written in Prospect of Death

March 13th, 1864, Passion Sunday, 7 o'clock a.m.

I WRITE in the direct view of death as in prospect. No one in the house, I suppose, suspects anything of the kind. Nor anyone anywhere, unless it be the medical men.

I write at once—because, on my own feelings of mind and body, it is as if nothing at all were the matter with me, just now; but because I do not know how long this perfect possession of my sensible and available health and strength may last.

I die in the faith of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. I trust I shall die prepared and protected by her Sacraments, which our Lord Jesus Christ has committed to her, and in that communion of Saints which He inaugurated when He ascended on high, and which will have no end. I hope to die in that Church which our Lord founded on Peter, and which will continue till His second coming.

I commit my soul and body to the Most Holy Trinity, and to the merits and grace of our Lord Jesus, God Incarnate, to the intercession and compassion of our dear Mother Mary; to St. Joseph; {438} and St. Philip Neri, my father, the father of an unworthy son; to St. John the Evangelist; St. John the Baptist; St. Henry; St. Athananius, and St. Gregory Nazianzen; to St. Chrysostom, and St. Ambrose.

Also to St. Peter, St. Gregory I., and St. Leo. Also to the great Apostle, St. Paul.

Also to my tender Guardian Angel, and to all Angels, and to all Saints.

And I pray to God to bring us all together again in heaven, under the feet of the Saints. And, after the pattern of Him, who seeks so diligently for those who are astray, I would ask Him especially to have mercy on those who are external to the True Fold, and to bring them into it before they die.
J.H.N. {439}

Written in Prospect of Death

July 23, 1876

I WISH, with all my heart, to be buried in Father Ambrose St. John's grave—and I give this as my last, my imperative will. [This I confirm and insist on, and command. Feb. 13, 1881.]

If a tablet is put up in the cloister, such as the three there already, I should like the following, if good Latinity, and if there is no other objection: e.g., it must not be if persons to whom I should defer thought it sceptical. [J. H. N., Feb. 13, 1881.]




DIE — — A.S. 18

Requiescat in pace

My only difficulty is St. Paul, Heb. x. 1, where he assigns 'umbra' to the Law—but surely, though we have in many respects an [eikon] of the Truth, there is a good deal of [skia] still, as in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Cardinal Newman was born Feb. 21, 1801, received into the Catholic Church, October 9, 1845, created Cardinal, May 12, 1879, and died late in the evening of Aug. 11, 1890.

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