There is an inward world into which they enter who come near to Christ, though to men in general they seem the same as before.
They hold the same place as before in the world's society; their employments are the same, their ways, their comings in and goings out.... But, if they have drunk of Christ's cup and tasted the Bread of his Table in sincerity, it is not with them as in time past.
A change has come over them, unknown indeed to themselves, except in its effects, but they have a portion in destinies to which other men are strangers, and, as having destinies, they have conflicts also. They drank what looked like draught of this world, but it associated them in hopes and fears, trials and purposes, above this world. They came as for a blessing, and they have found a work. They are soldiers in Christ's army; they fight against "things that are seen," and they have "all these things against them."
To their surprise, as time goes on, they find that their lot is changed. They find that in one shape or other adversity happens to them. If they refuse to afflict themselves, God afflicts them. One blow falls, they are startled; it passes over, it is well; they expect nothing more. Another comes; they wonder; "Why is this?" they ask; they think that the first should be their security against the second; they bear it, however; and it passes too. Then a third comes; they almost murmur; they have not yet mastered the great doctrine that endurance is their portion.
O simple soul, is it not the law of your being to endure since you came to Christ? Why come you but to endure? Why did you taste his heavenly feast but that it might work in you? Why did you kneel beneath his hand but that he might leave on you the print of his wounds? Why wonder then that one sorrow does not buy off the next?
Does one drop of rain absorb the second? Does the storm cease because it has begun? Understand your place in God's Kingdom, and rejoice, not complain, that in your day you have your lot with prophets and Apostles.
John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Taking Up Our Cross and Following." excerpt from Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997).
This book is in the public domain.
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was born on 21 February 1801, and died on 11 August 1890. Through his published writings and private correspondence he created a greater understanding of the Catholic Church and its teachings, helping many persons with their religious difficulties. At his death he was praised for his unworldliness, humility, and prayerful contact with the invisible world. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman is the author of many books including, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Difficulties of Anglicans, The Idea of a University, Fifteen Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between A.D. 1826 and 1843, and Apologia Pro Vita Sua.Copyright © 1834 Public Domain
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