John Henry Newman referred to the day on which he became a Catholic, 9th October 1845, as simply, “my day”.
In his early evangelical days he thought that the Church of Rome had added to the original deposit of faith.
“Now I come to two other works, which produced a deep impression on me in the same Autumn of 1816, when I was fifteen years old, each contrary to each, and planting in me the seeds of an intellectual inconsistency which disabled me for a long course of years. I read Joseph Milner’s Church History, and was nothing short of enamoured of the long extracts from St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and the other Fathers which I found there. I read them as being the religion of the primitive Christians: but simultaneously with Milner I read Newton On the Prophecies, and in consequence became most firmly convinced that the Pope was the Antichrist predicted by Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John. My imagination was stained by the effects of this doctrine up to the year 1843.”
(Apologia pro vita sua. 1864)
At one stage on his journey to Catholicism he could not bring himself to ask the saints to pray for him. He saw them as unnecessary intermediaries between the soul and God. He prayerfully and studiously examined all such doubts. By October 1845 the effects of grace upon his mind and heart had resolved all previous doubts and he asked Fr.Dominic Barberi to receive him into the Church Christ founded, the one true fold of the Redeemer.
Blessed John Henry Newman’s long pilgrimage exemplifies to a heroic degree both spiritual persistence and spiritual docility. He actively quested, and he also let himself be led.
It was the tenacity and sobriety of his unremitting quest for God’s truth that made him great and which underpinned the heroicity of all his other virtues.
Please pray with us that our belovèd Cardinal may soon be raised to the altars. Then he will truly belong to everyone throughout the universal Church, and his holiness and wisdom will shine forth even more brightly, for the good of all.