"O my God, your overpowering love took me captive. Was any boyhood so impious as some years of mine! Did I not in fact dare you to do your worst? Ah, how I struggled to get free from you; but you are stronger and have prevailed. I have not a word to say, but to bow down in awe before the depths of your love."
Over the years, the brilliant and often voluminous scholarly writings of the author of these words, John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), have drawn into the Church thousands more converts after him.
In this more modest work, his Everyday Meditations, we encounter not Newman the intellectual but Newman the simple Christian, on his knees face-to-face with God. Confident that the Church teaches us rightly but knowing as well that each of us must walk closely with God — hearing His voice not only through the Church but in the depths of our own hearts — Newman here shows us how to look to Jesus and declare:
"I need you to teach me day by day, according to each day's opportunities and needs. Teach me . . . to sit at your feet and to hear your word. Give me that true wisdom which seeks your will by prayer and meditation. . . . Give me the discernment to know your voice from the voice of strangers, to rest upon it, and to seek it in the first place."
This was Newman's greatest desire. It awakened in him ceaseless prayer, countless good works, a profound love of the sacraments, and the habit of daily meditation which strengthened his will, deepened his understanding, and enkindled in him an ever greater love of God. For those qualities, Pope Benedict XVI recently proclaimed Newman "Blessed," just one step from declaring him a saint.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that ongoing growth in sanctity is "an uninterrupted task for the whole Church." If in recent times yours has been interrupted (or merely slowed down), let it begin anew with this modest book.
To help you discern God's voice daily, rest in it, and respond to it according to each day's opportunities and needs, we have here gathered fifty of Newman's most moving Christian meditations, each guaranteed to enkindle in your soul the very same kind of love they enkindled in his. As they nurtured Newman's daily acts of conversion and finally made him worthy of the title "Blessed," so will they call you to daily acts of conversion and finally lead you, as they led Newman, "to bow down in awe before the depths of God's love."
Dimensions & Specifications