John Henry Newman is a well-recognized preacher to Anglican congregations. He is acclaimed for his pastoral sermons on spirituality, including the presentation of God and existence of the Holy Spirit. The phrase Catholic spirituality pertains to the Christian life that is based on the developed personal life that is based on an individual’s relationship with God. The Word of God, also known as the teachings of the Bible, teaches its followers to love God as the Holy Trinity, as well as to love one’s fellow men.
John Henry Newman’s concept of spirituality also follows the concept of the Holy Trinity, yet is also teaches now to deal with the three Persons in distinct ways. It has been described that the desire or hunger is the ultimate foundation of spirituality, wherein an individual acts in response to this desire or hunger. The church has taught that the heart remains restless unless it rests in God. Hence the concept of spirituality is founded on the concept of unrest, wherein it is the effort exerted by an individual to seek the presence of God.
The specific methods and actions that result from this unrest serve as the main force behind spirituality (Newman, 1848). It has been described that prayer, abstinence, fasting and charity work are different ways of expressing spirituality (Newman, 1855). In addition, there is also private prayer, worship and morality, as further forms of leading a spiritual life. Newman preached to his congregations that private prayer, worship and morality are the main ways of developing a good heart and achieving spiritual peace.
Newman does not discuss or mention much about social justice because society is inherently naive regarding the mechanisms that push social systems to function. Hence Newman recognizes that it is better and simpler that each individual just lives a good and simple private life. Another way to view Christian life and spirituality is by the manner in which individuals follows certain beliefs about God, as well as being human, the concept of creation and the connection between worship, basic values and one’s attitudes and lifestyles.
Hence spirituality can be described as the entire conscious relationship with God, in relation to the rest of the followers. Today, spirituality is regarded as the doctrinal study of grace and of being human. Moral theology, which was earlier perceived as the state of sinfulness of a human being, is now modified based on Newman’s teaching that moral theology is the guide to goodness. It does not have specific rules of behavior, but only promotes the acceptance of God’ presence within each individual.
The Holy Spirit within each individual provides the foundation for a good relationship between ethics and spirituality. Thus spirituality often overlaps with ethics because can not be resized to a smaller concept under the topic of ethics. Newman’s first sermon that was published was entitled “Holiness necessary for future blessedness. ” This sermon was mainly based on the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Hebrews, which states “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
” Newman’s sermon explains that holiness is necessary to be accepted into heaven. This is further discussed as individuals should love, fear and obey God by being just, honest, meek and pure in heart. In addition, individuals should be forgiving, self-denying, humble and should always keep heaven in mind, so that all actions of each individual are well thought of before being performed. The teachings of love, fear, obedience and self-denial are always a major component of Newman’s sermons (Newman, 1849a).
He states that these qualities must be shown in an individual’s behavior towards other individuals, and not just being kind to one’s self or in love with one’s self. Such behavior will help teach our heart to be kind and thus brings individuals closer to heaven, where God dwells. Newman teaches that an individual’s good actions will lead him to eternal salvation (Newman, 1849b). Good behavior, also called as good work, is actually not required in an individual, but each person should keep in mind that God’s anger for the sinful actions one performs will be paid for at the end of one’s lifetime.
Hence it is important the each individual should be aware of following God’s grace and that one should follow the holy principles that God has bestowed upon each of us, even if we can not physically see his presence. Newman also explains that the acts of charity, self-denial and forbearance will be worth all our efforts because this will result in our admittance to heaven. He also expresses that frequent prayer and daily humble deeds are forms of communion with God and these acts make heart holy. These acts also prepare individuals for the future presence of God.
He also explains that holiness in not just performing good deeds, but also involves an inward character that follows God’s teaching. It is discussed in his sermons that good works are learned and should be practiced constantly, and such frequent efforts will eventually modify an individual’s heart. The sermons express that the preparation of individuals to enter heaven involves making one’s self holy, and this can not be done in a very short time, hence individuals should give serious thought about every act they perform every day.
Holiness is thus described as a particular character of the mind that also includes a specific state of heart, as well as a distinct condition of affection. Such manifestations in behavior have cultivated the habits of the followers of Newman. It has also been reported that the success of Newman’s sermons were also dependent on the state of mind of his listening audience. Newman was aware that the human mind is easily swayed by prime considerations and the mind does not automatically absorb all information that is put upfront.
People generally react to any supporting evidence before they believe and follow with their specific attitudes and expectations. It is also considered that there is one portion of society that is easily persuaded and another portion of society that is difficult to persuade. Hence Newman was able to reach both types of listeners by providing strong persuasive sermons that were charged with specific examples and considerations.Sample Essay of Essayontime.com