“Ask our Lord what he has in mind for you! Ask him for the generosity to say ‘yes!’ Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfill your
Pope Benedict noted that at the end of Newman’s life the theologian described his life’s work as a struggle against “the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion.” This teaches that, although an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to undermine society, “we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfillment of our deepest human aspirations.”
“In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself ‘the way, and the truth, and
the life’,” the Holy Father explained, citing the Gospel of John.
“Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly,” Pope Benedict continued. He explained that liberating truth cannot be kept to oneself. He then referred to the martyrs of Tyburn, whose faithful witness was “ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke.”
“In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied.”
Despite this, the Church cannot stop proclaiming Christ and the Gospel as “saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society.”
According to Pope Benedict, Newman also teaches that there cannot be a separation between one’s belief and the way one lives. He recognized that truth is not accepted in a purely intellectual act but is embraced in “a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being.”
“Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom,” Pope Benedict explained, saying that truth is passed on not only by formal teaching but by “the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness.”
The pontiff then asked the crowd to join him in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and in prayer to Jesus Christ.
“In a special way, let us thank him for the enduring witness to that truth offered by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Trusting in his prayers, let us ask the Lord to illumine our path, and the path of all British society, with the kindly light of his truth, his love and his peace.”