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"Who are you?"


God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.

newman7I have my mission — I may never 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 his — if, indeed, I fail, God 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 connection 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, though not intending it, if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling.

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 me — still he knows what he is about. 

O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, you who guide Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to you.  I trust you wholly.  You are wiser than I — more loving to me than I am to myself.  Deign to fulfill your high purposes in me whatever they be — work in and through me.  I am born to serve you, to be yours, to be your instrument.  Let me be your blind instrument.  I ask not to see.  I ask not to know.  I ask simply to be used.

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newmanSaint John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Who are you?" From Everyday Meditations. (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2013).

Reprinted under a fair use provision. 

The Author

newman72newman71Saint 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. Saint 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 © 2013 Sophia Institute Press

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