The Word Among Us

September 2012 Issue

I Must Change

A Prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman

I Must Change: A Prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman

MAN . . . IS EVER CHANGING. Not a day passes but I am nearer the grave. Whatever my age, whatever the num­ber of my years, I am ever narrowing the interval between time and eter­nity

. . . . O my God, I am crumbling away, as I go on! I am already dissolv­ing into my first elements. My soul indeed cannot die, for you have made it immortal; but my bodily frame is continually resolving into that dust out of which it was taken.

EVERYTHING BELOW HEAVEN CHANGES: spring, summer, autumn, each has its turn. The fortunes of the world change. What was high lies low; what was low rises high. Riches take wings and flee away; bereavements happen. Friends become enemies, and ene­mies friends. Our wishes, aims, and plans change. There is nothing sta­ble but you, O my God! And you are the center and life of all who change, who trust you as their Father, who look to you, and who are content to put themselves into your hands. . I KNOW, O MY GOD, I must change, if I am to see your face! I must undergo the change of death. Body and soul must die to this world. My real self, my soul, must change by a true regenera­tion. Only the holy can see you. . . . Oh support me as I proceed in this great, awful, happy change, with the grace of your unchangeableness. . . . Let me day by day be molded upon you, and be changed from glory to glory, by ever looking toward you, and ever leaning on your arm. .

I KNOW, O LORD, I must go through trial, temptation, and much conflict, if I am to come to you. I do not know what lies before me, but I know this. I know, too, that if you are not with me, my change will be for the worse, not for the better. Whatever fortune I have, rich or poor, healthy or sick, with friends or without, all will turn to evil if I am not sustained by the Unchangeable. All will turn to good if I have Jesus with me, yesterday and today the same, and for ever. .