Cardinal Newman on Christ and His
Our Lord came to form a
kingdom all over the earth unto the end of time. And to this
end the commission to preach the Gospel, etc. (Mark xvi.
15.) - Now observe what a great problem is this. It had
never been done before; it has never been done since, except
in the instance of that kingdom. Why, a large empire
extending over many countries! Even the Jews, small as they
were, could not keep together in one. Divisions of Reuben -
Benjamin slaughtered; ten tribes; various sects, Pharisees,
etc. And likewise the same is the case with the Protestant
sects, but the Catholic Church has lasted through all time,
and is as much or more one now than ever she has been.
Today's Mass tells us in the epistle and
gospel how it is, and what means God took. It was by means
of faith, which is not only the beginning of all acceptable
service, but is the binding principle of the Church. 'This
is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.' Now
consider this attentively. It is a problem which has never
been solved before. He did not take self-interest, worldly
benefit, etc., because they would not last; and it is what
the world proposes to mankind. When He would make a
universal empire, He did not take a book or law for the
basis. Some would have said the Bible, but the event, the
divisions of Protestants show it would not do.
Not a law, nor politics, nor episcopacy
(as Anglo-Catholics say). Nor reason (as Liberals and
Latitudinarians will say), for it only arrives at opinion.
Nor love (as religious persons may think), quoting: 'By this
shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you
have love one for another'; for concupiscence overcomes
love, and the good will never be the many. Some principle
must be taken which all can have. Therefore He took faith - a
supernatural gift. Faith may be possessed by good and bad,
and is most influential; even the bad are made to serve His
glory and praise. And it is the bond, for thus all have
common objects. Faith is not easily lost. They obey because
they believe. It is not the Church enforces on them faith,
but faith obliges them to take the Church (to the ends of
the earth) (1 John ii. 20). This is our consolation at
all times. Our very sins do not overcome the Church, for
faith is independent of sin.
'O Lord grant that I may see you in all
the actions of your Church, your mystical body and proclaim
it throughout the world!'