‘You asked me for a “secret”. The secret is prayer “Ask (for true first principles) and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find”. It is a slow process. The same scene looks very different when viewed from the various stand points. Pray God to give the true standpoints.’ (Letters and Diaries XXX P.390)
Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Understanding them, in part, depends on who’s shoes we put on in our minds to walk around any given situation. We might Initially choose the comfort of our own footwear. Before comparing and contrasting it with brands provided by the trusted wisdom of family, friends or the wider community. Whichever we pick, to begin this exploration of the terrain before us, we use the ability for decision making called our conscience. During our imaginary travels, Newman says, that the evidence we are gathering needs to be informed by the commandments and teaching of the Church. These, combined with the advice of others close to us who are also seeking as we are to grow closer to Jesus, helps us to do his will in all things. Newman suggests, in our journey of faith, hope and love, that we are like mountaineers looking for the next secure toe and finger hold while climbing up the rock of life towards heaven as our goal.
Any assent involves natural pauses before the next move is made. Newman’s motto was ‘virtue consists in action’ but not in the sense of being impulsive:
‘I did not trust my first impression -and I resisted it. I trust I did so on principle; certainly I have long thought it is a duty to resist such impressions – if true they will return.’ (Letters and Diaries VIII, p.239)
We need to long to have Christ-like eyes, thoughts and ways of living. The grace of prayer always communicates the risen Easter presence of the Lord to celebrate our joys in the present and dreams for the future. The raising of the heart and mind to God consoles our fears, comforts our sorrows, heals our sins and gives clarity to our vision. May St John Henry Newman walk with us and pray for us. Amen.