26 May 2009

Feast of St. Philip Neri

"Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow."
~St. Philip Neri

St. Philip Neri liked to pray at night. He would go out in the streets, sometimes to churches, but most often into the catacombs.

On the vigil of Pentecost in 1544, St Philip was praying in the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, as he had done many times, and asked God to give him more of the Holy Spirit.

As the night passed, he was suddenly filled with great joy, and had a vision of the Holy Spirit, who appeared to him 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. He 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!"

St Philip is often described in art, poetry and prayers as having a "heart of fire". St. John Newman called him a "Vessel of the Holy Spirit".

When asked how to pray his answer was, "Be humble and obedient and the Holy Spirit will teach you."

St. Philip Neri was well known for his sense of humor. To honor him today try to laugh at yourself when something annoying happens, try to make someone else happy by your cheerful disposition.

His order, the Oratorians, have established oratories throughout the world. One North American oratory is in Toronto.

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