Saint John Henry Newman

Before I get to the important part of the day, just a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that before the plague set in, I used to run a mile on two mornings a week, maybe three. Now, including this morning, I run a mile and a half every morning. I’m no Mo Farah or Usain Bolt, but if you had suggested to me last October that I extend my mile to a mile and a half, or if you proposed my running two days in a row, I’d probably have recoiled with horror.

This morning, though, is the first full-on festal commemoration of Saint John Henry Newman. I am a very ardent appreciator of Newman, though far from counting as a ‘Newman scholar’; at the same time, I’ve studied and engaged his work, both as a biblical interpreter and as a priest of the church, since I was training for ministry. It’s particularly satisfying to observe his subtlety in working along the edges of doctrines and patterns of reasoning. Where so many before, and in his day, and even now lay down flat asseverations about what must be thought, Newman frequently focuses on fine distinctions in the name of truth (and Truth). That’s my kind of discursive move, and I admire it even when I don’t entirely agree with it. It was a joy to celebrate this morning’s Mass in commemoration of Newman, and with special intention for Fr Rob Wainwright and the work of the chapel at Oriel College.

The rest of the day unrolled with meetings with students, course prep, Zoom meetings, and various other such work-related activities. We had leftovers for dinner, watched one episode of Ozark before determining that it was too grimly amoral for persistent watching, then Eight Out Of Ten Cats Does Countdown.

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