O Almighty God, who alone makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will: grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true
joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen
A reading from the sermons of Blessed John Henry Newman
The heavenly gift of the Spirit fixes the eyes of our mind upon the Divine Author of our salvation. By nature we are blind and carnal; but the Holy Ghost by whom we are new-born, reveals to us the God of mercies, and bids us recognize and adore him as our Father with a true heart. He impresses on us our Heavenly Father’s image, which we lost when Adam fell, and disposes us to seek his presence by the very instinct of our new nature. He gives us back a portion of that freedom in willing and doing, of that uprightness and innocence, in which Adam was created. He unites us to all holy beings, as before we had relationship with evil. He restores for us that broken bond, which, proceeding from above, connects together into one blessed family all that is anywhere holy and eternal, and separates it off from the rebel world which comes to nought. Being then the sons of God, and one with him, our souls mount up and cry to him continually. This special characteristic of the regenerate soul is spoken of by St Paul soon after the text, ‘Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’ (Rom 8:15). […]
The indwelling of the Holy Ghost raises the soul, not only to the thought of God, but of Christ also. St John says, ‘Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’ (1 Jn 1:3). And our Lord himself, ‘If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him’ (Jn 14:23). Now, not to speak of other and higher ways in which these texts are fulfilled, one surely consists in that exercise of faith and love in the thought of the Father and Son, which the Gospel, and the Spirit revealing it, furnish to the Christian. The Spirit came specially to ‘glorify’ Christ; and vouchsafes to be a shining light within the Church and the individual Christian, reflecting the Saviour of the world in all his perfections, all his offices, all his works. He came for the purpose of unfolding what was yet hidden, whilst Christ was on earth; and speaks on the house-tops what was delivered in closets, disclosing him in the glories of his transfiguration, who once had no comeliness in his outward form, and was but a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
First, he inspired the Holy Evangelists to record the life of Christ, and directed them which of his words and works to select, which to omit; next, he commented (as it were) upon these, and unfolded their meaning in the Apostolic Epistles. The birth, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ, has been the text which he has illuminated. He has made history to be doctrine; telling us plainly, whether by St John or St Paul, that Christ’s conception and birth was the real Incarnation of the Eternal Word, – his life, ‘God manifest in the flesh,’ – his death and resurrection, the Atonement for sin, and the Justification of all believers.
Nor was this all: he continued his sacred comment in the formation of the Church, superintending and overruling its human instruments, and bringing out our Saviour’s words and works, and the Apostles’ illustrations of them, into acts of obedience and permanent Ordinances, by the ministry of Saints and Martyrs. Lastly, he completes his gracious work by conveying this system of Truth, thus varied and expanded, to the heart of each individual Christian in which he dwells. Thus he vouchsafes to edify the whole man in faith and holiness: ‘casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Cor 10:5). By his wonder working grace all things tend to perfection. Every faculty of the mind, every design, pursuit, subject of thought, is hallowed in its degree by the abiding vision of Christ, as Lord, Saviour, and Judge. All solemn, reverent, thankful and devoted feelings, all that is noble, all that is choice in the regenerate soul, all that is self-denying in conduct, and zealous in action, is drawn forth and offered up by the Spirit as a living sacrifice to the Son of God.