blank'/> SHARING CATHOLIC TRUTH: May 26 - St Philip Neri --- 26 ta' Mejju - San Filippu Neri

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 26 - St Philip Neri --- 26 ta' Mejju - San Filippu Neri


Fool for Love: St. Philip Neri and the Reform of Rome - Published on 1 Aug 2013
This lecture by Dr. Gregory Roper (English) was given at the University of Dallas on November 30, 2012 as part of the Rome Lecture Series.



from Fr Nicholas...

I've just celebrated the Vigil Mass of Pentecost - and, this year (2007), there is a rather nice coincidence since today is the Feast of that great saint of the Holy Spirit, St Philip Neri.

As I'm sure you know, as a young man it was his custom to spend whole nights in prayer in the catacombs, the underground burial places of the early Christians outside the walls of the City. On the vigil of Pentecost in 1544, St Philip was praying in the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, on the Via Appia, as he had done many times, and asked God to give him the Holy Spirit. St Philip was suddenly filled with great joy, and had a vision of the Holy Spirit as a ball of fire. This fire entered into St Philip’s mouth, and descended to his heart, causing it to expand to twice its normal size, and breaking two of his ribs in the process (a fact later proven by his autopsy). He later said that it filled his whole body with such joy and consolation that he finally had to throw himself on the ground and cry out, “No more, Lord! No more!”

During his lifetime many people noticed that he seemed always to be warm; he was often flushed, and would walk around with his cassock unbuttoned at the chest, even in the middle of winter. Not only that, but several of his disciples reported that his heart used to beat violently when he prayed or preached, sometimes enough to shake the bench on which he was sitting. Some people could hear his heart beating across the room, and others experienced unspeakable peace and joy when he embraced them and held their heads to his breast.

St Philip's experience of the Holy Spirit was unique - but we pray that the same Spirit will come upon us this Pentecost. Leo XIII said that ‘if Christ is the head of the Church, the Holy Spirit is her soul.' He abides in each member of the Church as the dulcis hospes animae (sweet guest of the soul), so that we receive His consolation and strength and bear witness to Christ, just like the apostles on the day of Pentecost and just like the lives of countless saints down the centuries.

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Sermon for the feast of St Philip Neri 

St Philip, a saint for saints
My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and be glad. (Psalm 33.2)
Fr Bowden in his Miniature Lives of the Saints says that the life of St Bernadine was St Philip’s favourite among the saints and the last he read before his death. Fr Bouyer on the other hand says that the last book he had read to him was the Fathers of the Desert. Perhaps we should make a distinction between reading or being read to; or perhaps St Philip inspired the two fathers with different information as a joke.

We can understand why St Philip loved St Bernadine when we think of the great gatherings of feuding renaissance factions listening to his sermons and then ending with an emotional reconciliation with the bacio di pace. The holy Franciscan’s withering attacks on homosexual vice would also have met with approval surely from the Holy Father who could smell the vice of impurity in some of his penitents.

On the other hand, we can imagine the attraction which the Desert Fathers held for St Philip. His nights of solitude in the catacombs, his frugal diet and his devotion to the ascetical life all speak of lessons learned from those holy Fathers.

Yet we know that St Philip’s ascetical life was combined with the love of genuine friendship and holy allegria. His was an asceticism that could also participate in a wine-drinking contest in the interest of the apostolate.

St Bernadines’ original bonfires of vanities, predated that of Savonarola (whom St Philip also admired greatly) by several decades. Those bonfires find an unexpected echo in the glee of St Philip’s companions at singing “vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas” (vanity of vanities, all is vanity) as they tramped through Rome from Church to Church.

In the history of the Church, there have been various ways of dealing with corruption and worldliness. Not the least of St Philip’s achievements was to trump the worldliness of Rome in has day with a vivid, existential demonstration of the joy of the Christian life of prayer, penance and charity lived without compromise. As Newman put it:
“he perceived that the mischief was to be met, not with argument, not with science, not with protests and warnings, not by the recluse or the preacher, but by means of the great counter-fascination of purity and truth”
In his lifetime too, of course, St Philip was the mentor and acquaintance of saints. Having such devotion to St Bernadine, it must have warmed his heart to have seen the see the completion of the Church of the Gesu for the now thriving company formed by his friend St Ignatius. We can recall the famous saying of St Ignatius that his friend Philip was like a Church bell, calling people to enter but remaining in his tower.

He was also a friend of St Francis Xavier and would have followed him to the missions but for the famous advice of his confessor “Rome will be your Indies”; advice for which I am sure we are all very grateful here.

St Charles Borromeo came to his assistance when he was falsely accused. St Charles’ cousin, Federico was, of course, one of St Philip’s most regular visitors. He was the confessor of St Camillus de Lellis and advised him to become a priest, thereby indirectly being responsible for the founding of the Camillan fathers, and incidentally for a major contribution to care for victims of HIV and AIDS today.

He was also a friend of St Felix of Cantalice and organised with him a procession with a crucifix during the carnival at the conclusion of which a famous fellow Capuchin preached, effectively wrecking the carnival for that year. St Philip managed to get Giuseppe de Cesari to sketch a portrait of St Felix surreptitiously – a portrait that he cherished ever afterwards. Then of course, the heroic virtue of his protégé, Baronius was recognised by Pope Benedict XIV.

It is rightly said of St Philip that he was very cautious and reserved about falling into bad company. However he seems to have been quite adept at falling into good company. Terrible as the reformation was for the Church, God raised up a new “great cloud of witnesses” in response, several of the most renowned being personal friends and confidantes of St Philip. He is almost like the president of a saints’ club. “Almost”, not because there wasn’t a saints’ club – I think that is quite a good description of these varied characters in 16th century Rome – but because the title “President” would never have fitted his unique self-effacing and humble way of influencing others to follow Christ.

His character was different from the determined and necessary vigour of St Charles to ensure that the decrees of the Council of Trent did not become a dead letter, excommunicating offenders where necessary. He did not require of his company the military obedience that was necessary for St Ignatius to organise the counter reformation. And he did not go around Rome with a shirt of mail studded with spikes as did his friend St Felix. He was radically different from all of them yet a cherished friend of each. He understood the importance of the unique and necessary contribution which God in his providence had called each of them to make to the to the life of the Church; yet he did not find it necessary to imitate their particular characteristics, being a large enough and saintly enough character to bring his own unique and universal attractiveness to his apostolate in Rome itself.

I believe that the “saints club” did not finish at his death. We may discern in St Philip’s life an anticipation of the characteristics of many saints who were to follow him.

When we consider the effect St Alphonsus had in preaching on the last things so graphically, we may recall the tactic of St Philip Neri in getting worldly young men to consider graphic reconstructions of being in the tomb or conversing with a poor soul in hell.

The long hours spent in the confessional by St John Vianney remind us of St Philip’s habit of hearing 40 confessions before dawn and even cutting short his thanksgiving after Mass in order to hear confessions until lunchtime.

Reading the life of the little flower, dear St Therese, we find that she wanted to be a missionary and even became the patron saint of the missions without leaving her native France. She echoes the desire of St Philip to follow his friend St Francis Xavier.

St Francis de Sales’ understanding of the world, St John Bosco’s skill at motivating boys, St John Eudes’ love for the Blessed Sacrament, St Vincent de Paul’s practical love for the poor could all be found in the life of St Philip.

Fr Bouyer said that St Philip lived in an age “captivated by beauty, freed from all control, and suspicious of any restraint…” Newman describes well his response to that age

“he preferred tranquilly to yield to the stream, and direct the current, which he could not stop, of science, literature, art, and fashion, and to sweeten and to sanctify what God had made very good and man had spoilt.”
It has often been said of St Philip that he was, in the best sense “all things to all men”. Perhaps that why he has retained such affection from his many followers in the Oratories and those who come to known him through their work.

Our age has many characteristics in common with his except perhaps that it is captivated less by beauty and more by excitement and sensual pleasure. His uncompromising insistence on purity is necessary today more than ever.

His jocularity and sense of fun is important but should always be seen in conjunction with his asceticism and love of the Mass. It would be easy enough to promote a Catholic life that was superficial and witty. The genius of St Philip is not that he could play jokes on others – any fool can do that. St Philip managed to do so as a part of his apostolate which had the determined aim of saving sinners from hell and producing saints instead.

It is that which the Church needs in any time of reform. It needs it today and we pray to dear St Philip to help us also to begin to do some good.


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 Fr Philip Neri gives an original penance for infamy !

Do not dishonour, do not judge, do not condemn.....Here Fr Philip Neri gives penance for spreading grievious lies on a person by......making the sinners (in this case a couple ) conscious of the gravity of their sin -- As penance he sends them to pluck the feathers from a dead chicken, spreading them along their way through the streets of the city -- When they finish they meet with Fr Philip Neri who  suggests to them to TRY to gather back the feathers...which is impossible.......THAT IS HOW GRIEVIOUS IS THE SIN OF MAKING UP STORIES ON SOMEONE AND SPREADING THEM TO OTHER PEOPLE.

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Prayer to St. Philip Neri (Detachment from Temporal Goods)  

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6.19-21)

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Saint Philip Neri was often consulted by bishops to judge the authenticity of mystics. The practice of humility and obedience allowed him to infallibly test false mystics, because the devil is proud and independent. One day in 1560, the cardinals were divided about a nun who was having visions. Since they sought his opinion, Philip went to see the young sister. He looked at her warmly and said, "Sister, I didn't want to see you, I wanted to see the saint." And the nun replied, "But I am the saint!" Philip turned on his heels, retorting, "Ah, you're the saint? Thank you." And the verdict he gave the Cardinals was, "It's not from God..."

Another time, one of his penitents confided to him that the Virgin had come in the night in her room, filling it with joy and light! So Philip said, "Listen, the next time she comes you should spit in her face." The following night, the apparition spoke to her of God, but remembering the promise she had made to her spiritual director she spat in her face. The apparition immediately disappeared in a cloud of sulphur smoke: it was the devil. That same night, she awoke in the room full of light with a new apparition that smiled at her. This time the figure was not sitting on her bed, she was standing in a corner of the room. The seer went over to spit again, but the apparition just said, "You can spit if you want." The apparition was too far to spit on, but she congratulated her for her obedience to her spiritual director!
And Father Neri told her that that time it was the Virgin Mary.

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San Filippu Neri - 26 ta' Mejju

Huwa wiehed mill-aktar qaddisin li jigbdu simpatija. Ghalkemm twieled Firenze fl-1515, izda aktar hu marbut mal-Belt Eterna. Kien bniedem imheggeg bl-imhabba ta' Alla li wrieha fl-imhabba lejn ghajru. Ghalhekk waqqaf ghaqda biex il-membri taghha jghinu u jiehdu hsieb il-morda foqra. Meta fl-1551 f'Ruma sar qassis inghata ghall-hidma fost it-tfal u z-zghazagh u beda l-opra ta' l-Oratorju ghat-tahrig fit-taghlim u fil-kant. Ghal dan il-ghan waqqaf il-kongregazzjoni ta' l-Oratorjani. Fost hwejjeg ohra fl-oratorju lit-tfal kien jghallimhom siltiet mill-Vangelu u jimmuzikahomlhom biex ikantawhom. Minn dan tnisslet l-idea ta' l-Oratorio -- generu muzikali li mbaghad zviluppawh kompozituri kbar bhal Mendelssohn, Hendel, Bach u ohrajn.

San Filippu Neri, magħruf ukoll bħala t-tieni Appostlu ta' Ruma (Firenze, 22 ta' Lulju 1515 -- Ruma, 25 ta' Mejju 1595) kien saċerdot Taljan, magħruf għat-twaqqif ta' soċjetà ta' qassisin sekulari msejħa "Il-Kongregazzjoni tal-Oratorju".

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 Holy Mass Proper Readings & Office of Readings

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Preferisco il Paradiso - Nippreferi l-Ġenna - I Prefer Heaven --- SAN FILIPPO NERI - SAINT PHILIP NERI, 2nd Apostle of Rome...


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