A Lenten Journey through Newman's Sermons

"So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after preaching to others I myself should not be disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:26–27). Since the earliest years of Church history, Christians have practiced various forms of ascetical discipline for the sake of strengthening their spiritual resolve. As the centuries passed, the Lenten season leading up to Easter took on unique importance, becoming a time of year specially dedicated to self-renunciation and penance.

This Lent, join us as we plumb the depths of Blessed John Henry Newman's Lenten sermons. Newman was a prolific preacher, and his voluminous collection of sermons remains an invaluable resource for Christians seeking guidance about how to grow in their faith. Our discussions will be held on Monday evenings (from 7–8 p.m.) at the Gailliot Center for Newman Studies (211 N. Dithridge St., Pittsburgh). The dates for the gatherings are as follows:

March 11

March 18

March 25

April 1

April 8

And since prayer is not only the weapon, ever necessary and sure, in our conflict with the powers of evil, but a deliverance from evil is ever implied as the object of prayer, it follows that all texts whatever which speak of our addressing and prevailing on Almighty God, with prayer and fasting, do, in fact, declare this conflict and promise this victory over the evil one. Thus in the parable, the importunate widow, who represents the Church in prayer, is not only earnest with God, but against her adversary. "Avenge me of mine adversary," she says; and our "adversary" is "the devil, who, like a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour; whom resist," adds St. Peter, "stedfast in the faith." Let it be observed that, in this parable, perseverance in prayer is especially recommended to us. And this is part of the lesson taught us by the long continuance of the Lent fast,—that we are not to gain our wishes by one day set apart for humiliation, or by one prayer, however fervent, but by "continuing instant in prayer." ~Blessed John Henry Newman, "Fasting as a Source of Trial" (PS vi.1) 

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