Sunday 30 June 2019

Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman - Mike Aquilina and Juan Velez

Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman
Mike Aquilina
Juan Velez
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9781592768004

This book was edited and compiled by Mike aquiline and Juan Velez. It is one of three books co-authored by Mike that are in this style and format:

Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius
Take Five: Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman

It is the second of the three that I have read. And yet I plan on reading the third and then reading all of them over again. This book was very hard to put down. I had to ration it and found myself doing one meditation in the morning, and one in the evening because I just could not stop reading. In the How To Use This Book section we are told:

“Yet so many sermons and books on the spiritual life seem to ignore these everyday realities and focus instead on matters that are important — methods of meditation, volunteer work, almsgiving — but that hold a marginal place in the ordinary days of ordinary people.

In this book, we bring the rich teachings of Cardinal John Henry Newman to bear on the everyday circumstances of working life. Cardinal Newman lived a busy life as a teacher, editor, administrator, and clergyman — and he still found time enough to write books that have been profoundly influential in the fields of theology, philosophy, history, and fiction. His collected works fill dozens of volumes.”

Each meditation is an extract from the works of cardinal Newman’s, from sermons, many sources, but mainly Newman’s writings and talks. They can be read in any order. And you can return to the book and read them again and again. There are 76 meditations or reflections in this volume. They cover a wide range of topics. The format of each is:

Think About It – a few points for prayer.
Just Imagine – a biblical passage for reflection.
Remember – a quote to take with you for the day.

As I stated in my previous Take Five review: I am typically an eBook guy, I read 30 eBooks for every physical book. This is one I will pick up a physical copy of to keep in my bedside bookcase, so that I can randomly open it any where and read them again from time to time. The 76 meditations are:

1. The Soul’s Happiness
2. The World Is Too Small to Satisfy Us
3. God Is the Only Key
4. God Is Always There
5. Feel-Good Religion
6. To Watch for Christ
7. Progress Through Virtues
8. Be Sincere and Humble Before God
9. The Snares of Pride
10. Love Lasts
11. Understand and Accept Others
12. Conscience: God’s Voice
13. The World as Witness
14. Deep in History
15. Beyond Study: Prayer and Fasting
16. Trust in Religious Truths
17. Faith’s Power of Persuasion
18. The Greatest Science
19. Holiness in Everyday Life
20. Back to Basics
21. Make Small Sacrifices
22. Fight, Not Flight
23. Self-Examination
24. Check Your Emotions
25. Playing Judge
26. Conversion: A Question of Truth
27. The Joy of Seeing God
28. Defending the Practice of Celibacy for Catholic Clergy
29. Power of Prayer
30. Your Guardian Angel
31. Jesus’ Story Is Mary’s, Too
32. The Rosary as a Great Creed
33. Make the Holy Family Your Home
34. Walk by Faith
35. The Church’s Supernatural Origin
36. God’s Oracle
37. The Heart’s Reasons
38. Bringing Friends to Christ and the Church
39. Only the Finest for God
40. Jesus Had a Home
41. Thank God!
42. Think of the Martyrs
43. Pray Constantly
44. Overcoming Anti-Catholicism
45. Scripture Is Sacred
46. What Are You Looking For?
47. Joy, the Sign of a Christian
48. Life Without God
49. Speak Kindly
50. Actions Speak Louder Than Words
51. Lasting Peace in Heaven
52. The Holy Eucharist Is a Feast
53. Know Yourself
54. Turning Away From God
55. Making Our World Holy
56. Don’t Write Anyone Off
57. Restoring God’s Image
58. Bear Witness to Christ
59. Take Courage
60. The Gospel Paradox
61. A Child’s Happiness
62. The Hunger for True Bread
63. Worldliness
64. Build on a Solid Foundation
65. There Are No Short Ways to Perfection
66. Learn How to Do Without
67. God Made Us Valuable to Himself
68. In Mary’s Arms
69. Not Worrying About What Others Think
70. Living in God’s Presence
71. Don’t Be Puffed Up
72. You Are in God’s Hands
73. Keeping in Touch With Friends
74. Save Your Soul
75. Reviving Old Friendships
76. Friendship Based on Christ

This volume Focuses on 5 areas of Newman’s thought:

1. The pursuit of objective religious truth.
2. Teaching on the virtues.
3. Defense of the Catholic Church.
4. A devout spiritual and moral life.
5. Generosity and loyalty in his friendships.

Some of the meditations are only a few short sentences. And some are a few long paragraphs. An example is:

13. The World as Witness

Christianity is not a theory. It is a historical fact, and history is its witness.
Christianity has been long enough in the world to justify us in dealing with it as a fact in the world’s history. Its genius and character, its doctrines, precepts, and objects cannot be treated as matters of private opinion or deduction, … unless the testimony of so many centuries is to go for nothing. Christianity is no theory of the study or the cloister. It has long since passed beyond the letter of documents and the reasonings of individual minds, and has become public property. Its “sound has gone out into all lands,” and its “words unto the ends of the world.” It has from the first had an objective existence, and has thrown itself upon the great concourse of men. Its home is in the world; and to know what it is, we must seek it in the world, and hear the world’s witness of it.
Dev, 3-4


 With the Incarnation, Christ entered history and embraced our humanity.

 Can I respond intelligently to those who misconstrue events in Christian history?

 We must learn about the decisive contributions of Christianity to the world of culture, education, family life, science, government, and public life.


In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
LUKE 2:1-7


Christianity’s home is in the world; and to know what it is, we must seek it in the world, and hear the world’s witness of it.”

This book is an excellent read. It is great as in introduction to Newman’s thought. It is wonderful as a devotional. The hard part will be sticking to just one meditation at a time. Another excellent resource from Mike Aquilina and my introduction to the works of Juan Velez. Highly recommend. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Book by Juan Velez:
Passion For Truth: The Life of John Henry Newman
A University Education for the 21st Century: The Opening of the American Mind
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna

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