May 26, 2019: ST. PHILIP NERI
May 26, 2019: COMMEMORATION OF ST. PHILIP NERI, CONFESSOR
Thy whole life, O Philip, was one long act of Love of Jesus; but it was, also, one untiring effort to make others know and love him, and thus secure the End for which they were created. Thou wast the indefatigable Apostle of Rome for forty years, and no one could approach thee without receiving something of the divine ardour that filled thy heart. We, too, would fain receive of thy fulness of devotion; and therefore we pray thee to teach us how to love our Risen Jesus.
O God, who hast raised blessed Philip thy Confessor to the glory of thy saints; mercifully grant, that we who celebrate his festival with joy, may receive benefit from his example. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in unity of the Holy Ghost, God, World without end. Amen.
Let us read the Liturgical account of the virtues and holy deeds of the Apostle of Rome in the 16th Century.
Philip Neri was born at Florence, of pious and respectable parents. From his very childhood, he gave evident promise of future sanctity. Whilst yet a young man, he gave up an ample fortune which he inherited from an uncle, and went to Rome, where he studied theology and philosophy, and devoted himself wholly to the service of Christ Jesus. Such was his abstemiousness, that he frequently passed three days without eating anything. He spent much time in watching and prayer. He frequently made the visit of the Seven Churches of the City, and was in the habit of spending the night in the Cemetery of Calixtus, in the contemplation of heavenly things. Being ordained priest out of obedience, he devoted himself without reserve to the saving souls, and, even to the last day of his life, he was assiduous in bearing confessions. He was the spiritual father of a countless number of souls; and in order to nourish them with the daily food of God's word, with the frequency of the Sacraments, with application to prayer, and with other pious exercises, he instituted the congregation of the Oratory.
He was ever languishing with the love of God, wherewith he was wounded. Such was the ardour that glowed within him, that, not being able to keep his heart within its place, his breast was miraculously enlarged by the breaking and expansion of two of his ribs. Sometimes, when celebrating Mass, or in fervent prayer, he was seen to be raised up in the air, and encircled with a bright light. He looked after the needy and the poor with an all-providing charity. He was once rewarded by a visit from an Angel, who appeared to him in a beggar's garb, and Philip gave him an alms. On another occasion, when carrying loaves to the poor, during the night, he fell into a deep hole, but was drawn forth by an Angel without having sustained any injury. So humble was he, that he had an abiding dread of everything that savoured of honour; and he was most resolute in refusing every ecclesiastical dignity, though the highest offices were more than once offered to him.
He possessed the gift of prophecy, and could miraculously read the inmost thoughts of others' souls. Throughout his whole life, he preserved his chastity unsullied. He had also a supernatural power of distinguishing those who were chaste from those who were not so. He sometimes appeared to persons who were at a distance, and assisted them in moments of danger. He restored to health many that were sick and at death's door. He also restored a dead man to life. He was frequently favoured with apparitions of heavenly Spirits and of the Blessed Mother of God. He saw the souls of several persons ascending, amidst great brightness, into heaven. At length, being in his eightieth year, he slept in the Lord; it was in the year of our Redemption 1595, the eighth of the Calends of June (May 25th), the feast of Corpus Christi, after having said Mass with extraordinary spiritual joy, and at the very hour which he had foretold,—which was shortly after midnight. The miracles, wherewith he had been honoured, being authentically proved, he was canonised by Pope Gregory the Fifteenth.
Taken from: The Liturgical Year - The Paschal Time, Vol. II, Dublin, Edition 1871; and
The Divine Office for the use of the Laity, Volume II, 1806.
St. Philip Neri, pray for us.