Meditations for Eight Days, by Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman, c.1888

Sunday – Our Lord

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, knecling with your hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Apocalypse 1:10-18 –

On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (RSVCE)

3. Bring all you have read before you at once, as if you saw our Lord.

4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:

“His eyes were as a flame of fire,” and ” His countenance shone as the sun shineth in his strength.”

(1) O my God, the day will come when I shall see that countenance and those eyes, when my soul returns to Him to be judged.

(2) Those eyes are so piercing: they see through me; nothing is hid from them. Thou countest every hair of my head; Thou knowest every breath I breathe; Thou seest every morsel of food I take.

(3) Those eyes are so pure. They are so clear that I can look into their depths, as into some transparent well of water, though I cannot see the bottom; for Thou art infinite.

(4) Those eyes are so loving; so gentle, so sweet; they seem to say, “Come to Me.”

5. Conclusion. O Lord, make me love Thee, make me love Thee.


Monday – Guardian Angel

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with your hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Psalm 90 –

Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.

Thou turnest man back to the dust,
and sayest, “Turn back, O children of men!”
For a thousand years in thy sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

Thou dost sweep men away; they are like a dream,
like grass which is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are consumed by thy anger;
by thy wrath we are overwhelmed.
Thou hast set our iniquities before thee,
our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

For all our days pass away under thy wrath,
our years come to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are threescore and ten,
or even by reason of strength fourscore;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Who considers the power of thy anger,
and thy wrath according to the fear of thee?
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on thy servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us,
and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let thy work be manifest to thy servants,
and thy glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us,
yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. (RSVCE)

3. Bring all you have read before you, as if you saw the Angels protecting you, especially your Guardian Angel.

4. Then say to God whatever is suggested to you; for instance:

“He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

(1) O my God, I will go forward in Thy way, for my Guardian goes with me. I am very blind;

I know not what is before me. I know not what will happen to me in life. I do not know whether I shall live long, or die young. But this I know, that in health and sickness, in joy and sorrow, in youth and age, Thou wilt -be with me.

(2) O my sweet Guardian, how beautiful thou art. I wish I could see thee. And thou art as pure and holy as thou art beautiful, and thy breath inspires chaste thoughts. And as gentle and kind as thou art pure.

Conclusion. God of Angels, have mercy on me. Queen of Angels, pray for me.


Tuesday – Saint Joseph

I. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with your hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Psalm 14 –

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none that does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
to see if there are any that act wisely,
that seek after God.

They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt;
there is none that does good,
no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?

There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is his refuge.

O that deliverance for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob shall rejoice, Israel shall be glad.

3. Bring all you have read before you at once, as if you saw our Lord.

4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:

(1) Joseph was pure and innocent in a way unlike any other man who ever lived, our Lord excepted. His soul was as white as snow. He had nothing whatever within his heart to make him ashamed, and he would have found it most difficult to find matter for confession. O Joseph, make me so blameless and irreproachable that I should not care though friends saw into my heart as perfectly as Jesus and Mary saw into thine. O gain me the grace of holy simplicity and affectionateness, so that I may love thee, Mary, and, above all, Jesus, as thou didst love Jesus and Mary.

(2) Joseph was as humble as he was sinless. He never thought of himself, but always of the Infant Saviour, whom he carried in his arms. O holy Joseph, make me like thee in purity, simplicity, innocence and devotion.

5. Conclusion. Jesus, mercy 1 Mary, Joseph, pray for me.


Wednesday – All Saints

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Revelation 7:9-17 –

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Therefore are they before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night within his temple;
and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water;
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

3. Bring all this before you as in a picture.

4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:

“They are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple.”

“They shall not hunger nor thirst any more.”

“The Lamb shall lead them to the fountains of living waters.”

(1) My dear Lord and Saviour, shall I ever see Thee in heaven? This world is very beautiful, very attractive, and there are many things and persons whom I love in it. But Thou art the most beautiful and best of all. Make me acknowledgeth is with my heart, as well as by faith and in my reason.

(2) My Lord, I know nothing here below lasts; nothing here below satisfies. Pleasures come and go; I quench my thirst and am thirsty again. But the saints in heaven are always gazing on Thee, and drinking in eternal blessedness from Thy dear and gracious and most awful and most glorious countenance.

5. Conclusion. May my lot be with the saints.


Thursday – The Paraclete

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Psalm 103:29-36 –

When thou hidest thy face, they are dismayed;
when thou takest away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created;
and thou renewest the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever,
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!

3. Try to imagine the secret power of God dispensing blessing and grace every moment all over the earth.

4. Then say what is suggested by that thought; for instance:

(1) How mysterious is my sovereign Lord and God! He is doing things innumerable always everywhere; yet one does not interfere with another. He hears everything which is said everywhere, yet He never confuses one thing with another. He sustains everything day and night, yet He is not wearied. He is at once most occupied, yet ever in repose. He is sovereign and supreme, yet He ministers, like a servant, to the whole creation.

(2) He is thus mysterious in His works much more mysterious is He in His nature. God the Holy Ghost is the one God but so is God the Father, so is God the Son. How is it that God is at once perfectly one, and perfectly three? I cannot tell no wit of man can tell, no angel can tell it fully for He is incomprehensible.

(3) O my Lord, God the Holy Ghost, I adore Thee, because Thou art so mysterious, so incomprehensible. Unless Thou wert incomprehensible, Thou wouldst not be God. For how can the Infinite be other than incomprehensible to me?

5. Conclusion. Holy angels, who see God’s face, teach me to have faith in Him.


Friday – Jesus

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Luke 22:40-46

And when he came to the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

3. Bring what you have read before you, as a picture.

4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:

(1) What is it that bows down the Almighty Son of God? What is it that so terrifies and overwhelms my dear Saviour? What is it that thus convulses Him from head to foot? See how He trembles! He falls on his knees as under a tremendous load! His flesh quivers, and at length out of its pores comes a dew. It is red, and it trickles down Him, and falls heavily on the ground. It is His precious blood, and this is His agony.

(2) Alas! I know well enough what was the cause of it. He came on earth to undergo it, and to destroy it by undergoing it. It is the weight of sin. The sins of every child of Adam, of the whole race, were all then heaped into one mass, higher than the mountains, and placed upon His head. The burden would have crushed anyone else, even the highest Archangel, even the Blessed Mother of God. One human heart alone could undergo it, the heart of the Divine Son; yet see how His soul and body agonised with it, though it was the soul and body of God Incarnate.

(3) My most dear Saviour, give me some little tenderness to grieve for Thee suffering for me.

5. Conclusion. My dear Mother Mary, thou wert sinless, teach me to grieve with Thee.


Saturday – Mary

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with your hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Isaiah 35 –

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a hart,
and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not pass over it,
and fools shall not err therein.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

3. Think of Mary as robed in white, like the lily.

4. And say:

(1) Thou, Mary, art the Virgin of Virgins. To have a virgin soul, is, to love nothing on earth in comparison of God, or except for His sake. That soul is virginal which is ever looking for its Beloved who is in heaven, and which sees Him in whatever is lovely upon earth, loving earthly friends very dearly, but in their proper place, as His gifts, and His representatives, but loving Jesus alone with sovereign affection, and bearing to lose all, so that she may keep Him.

(2) O Mary, I wish I could see how you used to behave towards father and mother, especially towards Saint Anne; and then how you behaved towards the priests of the temple; and then towards Saint Joseph; and towards Saint Elizabeth, and Saint John Baptist; and afterwards towards the Apostles, especially towards Saint John. I should see how sweet and lovely you were to every one of them; but still your heart was with Jesus only. And they would all feel and understand this, however kind you were to them.

5. Conclusion. O Mary, when will you gain for me some little of this celestial purity, this true whiteness of soul, that 1 may fix my heart on my true love?


Sunday – Our Lord

1. Place yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with your hands clasped.

2. Read slowly and devoutly Apocalypse 1:10-18 –

On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (RSVCE)

3. Bring all you have read before you at once, as if you saw our Lord.

4. Then say, “His head and hairs were white like white wool, and as snow.”

(l) Thy hair is white, O Jesus, because Thou art the Ancient of days, as the Prophet Daniel speaks. From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. Thou didst come indeed to us as a little child Thou didst hang upon the Cross at an age of life before as yet grey hairs come but, O my dear Lord, there was always something mysterious about Thee, so that men were not quite sure of Thy age. The Pharisees talked of Thee as near fifty. For Thou hadst lived millions upon millions of years, and Thy face awfully showed it. And even when Thou wast a child, Thy hair shone so bright that people said, “It is snow.”

(2) O my Lord, Thou art ever old, and ever young. Thou hast all perfection, and old age in Thee is ten thousand times more beautiful than the most beautiful youth. Thy white hair is an ornament, not a sign of decay. It is as dazzling as the sun, as white as the light, and as glorious as gold.

5. Conclusion. Jesus, may I ever love Thee, not with human eyes, but with the eyes of the Spirit, which sees not as man sees.