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Newman Studies Journal

Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Joseph F. Keefe
Pages 30-42

“The Intellectual Difficulty of Imagining and Realizing Emmanuel”: Newman’s Concept of Realizing Christ in Parochial and Plain Sermons

This essay explores and interprets two texts from Parochial and Plain Sermons in light of Newman’s understanding of religious imagination—specifically, the act of realization. Both texts suggest that for Newman, realization is a type of self-appropriation by which a fact or an object (real in itself) is assimilated (made personally real to the subject). One sermon concerns the Passion, the other the Resurrection. He indicates that when the object of the imagination is Christ, realization comes about through meditation on Scripture, and produces a stronger or weaker vision of Jesus in the soul based on one’s personal dispositions. It is often employed when the mind engages in conflicting ideas, such as Christ as both God and man.