Daily homily thoughts, 5/26

This is my Confirmation saint…..

  1. St. Philip Neri was from a noble family of Florence Italy in 1515, two years before the Reformation.  He gave up a large inheritance to follow Jesus. He moved to Rome in 1533.
  2. He was friends with St. Ignatius of Loyola, “Ignatius’ bell” b/c he sent so many young men to become Jesuits.  He wanted to go work for salvation of souls in India with St. Francis Xavier.  He was formed by Dominicans. He lived near the Benedictines. and went there all the time.
  3. He studied theology and philosophy for 3 years but gave up because it was interfering with his prayer life. He spent 13 years as a layman, didn’t want to be a priest, and he went to live sort of the life of a hermit
  4. There was a deeply spiritual side to Philip: Philip would often go and pray in the catacombs, which were the historical burial places for Christian martyrs.
  5. The greatest miracle that happened to St. Philip was when God manifested His love to him.  “In the catacomb of St. Sebastian, St. Philip Neri kept the long vigils and there received many consolations.  A few days before Pentecost in 1544, the miracle of his heart took place. “While he was with the greatest earnestness asking of the Holy Ghost His gifts, there appeared to him a globe of fire, which entered into his mouth and lodged in his breast; and thereupon he was suddenly surprised with such a fire of love, that, unable to bear it, he threw himself on the ground, and, like one trying to cool himself, bared his breast to temper in some measure the flame which he felt. When he had remained so for some time, and was a little recovered, he rose up full of unwonted joy, and immediately all his body began to shake with a violent tremour; and putting his hand to his bosom, he felt by the side of his heart, a swelling about as big as a man’s fist, but neither then nor afterwards was it attended with the slightest pain or wound.”
  6. In 1548 Philip formed a confraternity with other laymen to pray but also to minister to pilgrims who came to Rome without food or shelter. The spiritual director of the confraternity convinced Philip that he could do even more work as a priest. After receiving instruction from this priest, Philip was ordained in 1551. He was ordained reluctantly
  7. He always wanted to be a missionary in India, but his spiritual director told him: ROME IS YOUR INDIA … thank heavens!
  8. In Rome, he started the oratory (he didn’t mean to – it was just “a group”) with his old friends and new ones, conferences, singing, etc.  The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns
  9. Philip lived a beautiful life. He once shaved half his beard to bring smiles to children. Youth flocked to him. He would go to the bars. One day a group traveled from Poland to Rome came to hear Philip preach, but he instead read to them from a joke book.  The Pope tried to make him cardinal, but instead he played soccer with the cardinal’s hat. But behind his jocular appearance was much wisdom and sanctity!
  10. From beggars to youth to cardinals, Philip made friends. People flocked to him. They were drawn to him, like iron to a magnet.
  11. He saw so many Catholics leaving the true Church of Jesus because of a falsified history of the Church.  So he asked one of the Oratortians, Baronius, to write a true historical account of christianity. It took him 30 years to write “Ecclesiastical Annals”.
  12. Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous.
  13. Although Philip himself was blessed with a zeal and gift for winning souls for the Lord, he was never a very public person and avoided the limelight
  14. St. Philip Neri died on May 25 in 1595, the feast of Corpus Christi, shortly after a vision of Blessed Mother!!!  When the doctors examined his body after death, they discovered that the saint’s heart had been dilated so much under this powerful impulse of love, that in order that it might have sufficient room to beat, two ribs had been miraculously broken and curved in the form of an arch. His skin projected out, in his chest, about the size of a man’s fist. From this time on, until his death, his heart would beat violently whenever he performed any spiritual action.
  15. He was canonized with St Ignatius and St Teresa of Avila in 1622
  16. Over the centuries the Congregation of the Oratory has grown slowly and steadily. Today there are over 70 Oratories and over 500 priests in the Congregation