What an amazing first reading today
At Miletus, Paul spoke to the presbyters of the Church of Ephesus:
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock
of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers,
in which you tend the Church of God
that he acquired with his own Blood.
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you,
and they will not spare the flock.
And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth
to draw the disciples away after them.
So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day,
I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears.
And now I commend you to God
and to that gracious word of his that can build you up
and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.
I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
You know well that these very hands
have served my needs and my companions.
In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort
we must help the weak,
and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said,
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had finished speaking
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.
This is my Confirmation saint…..
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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
- He always wanted to be a missionary in India, but his spiritual director told him: ROME IS YOUR INDIA … thank heavens!
- 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
- 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!
- From beggars to youth to cardinals, Philip made friends. People flocked to him. They were drawn to him, like iron to a magnet.
- 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”.
- Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous.
- 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
- 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.
- He was canonized with St Ignatius and St Teresa of Avila in 1622
- 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
If you’re helping someone and expect something in return, you’re doing business. Not kindness.
To live a life of prayer and fasting is to live a life filled with miracles
The word POWER shows up a bunch today
God is always working miracles. Someone said that the Ascension is when Jesus went to work from home. HA.
But he is still working here too!
All the time
Look at the Acts of the Apostles! Look at the Gospels! MIRACLES AFTER MIRACLES
Why should we be surprised by miracles?
Why should we think that what is the norm in the Gospel shouldn’t be the norm now
If you pray your holy hour for your family, fast for your family, serve your family, GOD WILL WORK miracles in your famiy!
the same for a priest and his parish
Miracles are not “crazy stories” – they are manifestaions of God’s power, his work – and if we truly are living in him, miracles will happen all the time
“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds . . . What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”
— St. Thomas More
“Do not be scared of the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. … We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.”
— C.S. Lewis