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The measure of the World The Crucifix inspires love

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The measure of the World The Crucifix inspires love

Four years before his conversion, on Palm
Sunday, 9 April 1841, John Henry Newman preached on “€œThe Cross of Christ, the
Measure of the World”€. The content of this homily explains the charm of the
essential mystery of the Christian faith.

In this sermon, Newman starts from the
fact that thinking men question themselves regarding the meaning and the right
interpretation of the events of the world, of the course of history and of the
events of their own lives. They search, in short, for a “€œkey”€ to the
understanding of the world. What is the right key, the Christian interpretation
of the world? Newman answers that it is “€œthe Crucifixion of the Son of God. It is
the death of the Eternal Word of God made flesh, which is our great lesson how
to think and how to speak of this world. His Cross has put its due value upon
everything which we see.”€ Newman applies this key in a concrete way to various
dimensions of human life. He begins with the human search for power, prestige
and pleasure when he states, “€œGo to the court of princes. See the treasure and
skill of all nations brought together to honour a child of man. Observe the
prostration of the many before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the
pomp, the state, the circumstance; and the vainglory. Do you wish to know the
worth of it all? Look at the Cross of Christ.”€

The preacher, drawing attention to the
jealousy, envy and selfishness in the political, economic and social world,
declares: “€œSee nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and
fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community,
its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of
the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil? The grave. What is the
measure? The Cross.”€

Hermann Geissler



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