John Henry Newman’s Prayer for the Church – that only exists in German

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Hint: It was falsely attributed to him

Some years ago, in troubled times, I found this prayer by Bl. John Henry Newman:

O Gott,
die Zeit ist voller Bedrängnis,
die Sache Christi liegt wie im Todeskampf.
Und doch –  nie schritt Christus mächtiger durch diese Erdenzeit,
nie war sein Kommen deutlicher,
nie seine Nähe spürbarer,
nie sein Dienst köstlicher als jetzt.Darum lasst uns in diesen Augenblicken des Ewigen,
zwischen Sturm und Sturm,
in der Erdenzeit zu Dir beten:O Gott,
Du kannst das Dunkel erleuchten,
Du kannst es allein!

(Kardinal John Henry Newman)

O God,
the time is full of distress,
the cause of Christ is like in agony.
And yet – never did Christ walk more powerfully through this time on earth,
Never was His coming clearer
never His proximity more noticeable,
never His service more precious than now.
Let us then in these moments of the Eternal,
between storms,
in this time on Earth pray to you:
O God,
You can illuminate the darkness,
You can do it alone!(Cardinal John Henry Newman)
[translation mine]

It gave me a lot of peace, and took me on a path of discovery, since a friend had already suggested that I read his autobiography “Apologia pro vita sua”. Within, I learned to know a personality who in the depths of his heart was always reaching for the truth. He was someone with a profound piety, the gift of friendship and pastoral care, apostolic zeal, and a high intellectual capacity. He started out as an Anglican clergyman, where he wrote the wonderful poem known to Anglicans and Catholics alike entitled, “Lead, kindly light”, when feeling lonely on his way back to England from Rome. Upon his return from this Continue reading

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The Hidden God: He Knows How to play the Game

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[Written in October 2013, returning from a short trip to Iceland]

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Church in Reykjahlid from 1962, built at the place of the previous church

In 1729, the lava masses from the nearby volcano Krafla had already destroyed all the houses in the village Reykjahlid, in the Northeastern part of Iceland. People took refuge in the church, and together with their pastor, prayed day and night that the lava flow would not reach them. And God heard them: the lava just stopped outside the surrounding wall of the church. A clear sign of divine intervention.

But let’s play devil’s advocate for a second: why do we know it has been divine intervention? Maybe there was an obstacle or a crevice that hindered the lava to follow the path straight to the village’s last building? Continue reading