Bishop John Arnold’s prayer on the Feast Day of John Henry Newman

Cardinal » Cardinal Newman » » Bishop John Arnold’s prayer o...

The Right Revd John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, offered this prayer on the Feast Day of Blessed John Henry Newman.

It was broadcast on 9 October on BBC Radio 4 at 5:43am.

Prayer for the Day

Good morning.

Today is the Feast of Blessed John Henry Newman whose spiritual journey brought him first to priesthood in the Anglican Church and then to the Catholic Church.

He was known and loved by so many for his pastoral care in his priestly ministry, in Victorian England, and he was also a prolific writer and thinker, producing many volumes of letters, sermons and theological works.

His “Meditation” prayer begins with the simple phrase “God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another“.

It is very easy to lose sight of our individuality and uniqueness. We can describe ourselves by generalisations about what work we do, where we live, where we went to school. Though we may be like other people in many ways, we are very different from them in so many other ways and we can never be exactly the same as anyone else.

We each have our own unique bundle of gifts and talents, likes and dislikes. And John Henry Newman would have us believe that all those things that make me uniquely what I am are there for a definite service.

Let’s not be afraid to ask what that “definite service” may be. What might God be asking uniquely of me? Something that no-one else can do in exactly the same way.

Let’s start today by having a good look at who we are and what gifts we have. We may well be surprised.


Loving Father, you created each one of us as unique individuals. Help us to see ourselves as we are, as You have made us, and to discover the “definite service” you wish us to complete. Amen

Listen Again


The BBC clip below misses the opening lines of the Bishop’s reflection and starts from: “His ‘Meditation’ prayer begins…”

You can download the audio using this link.