Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Newman : Sermon 2 - The Religion of the Pharisee

I was saying to an Evangelical Seminarian friend of mine that the prayer I pray every night has been either the Jesus Prayer (in English or Latin) or a modified version of it: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinful man'. This comes from the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in St. Luke's account chapter 18, verse 3.

I read a sermon by the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman about it today :

It was an alright sermon, if you don't like Newman I wouldn't bother reading it.

His main message was that Paganism was the Same Religion of all mankind and that of the Pharisee. It was based on self-sufficiency and social rewards. He calls it 'religious in the worst sense of the word'. It is not a religion of repentance, but pride. He states that the "The Catholic saints alone confess sin, because the Catholic saints alone see God" and his argument is that because as Christians we see God, we know we can never reach his standard without resting wholly on his grace and mercy. Thus the prayer of the Christian is always for God's grace and mercy.

"...whether it be the thief on the cross, Magdalen at the feast, or St. Paul before his martyrdom:—not that one of them may not have, what another has not, but that one and all have nothing but what comes from Him, and are as nothing before Him, who is all in all.... Let us thank Him for all that He has done for us, for what He is doing by us; but let nothing that we know or that we can do, keep us from a personal, individual adoption of the great Apostle's words, "Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief." - John Henry Cardinal Newman 1856

I love Newman, he always focuses on God's grace, he's very Augustinian.

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