26 May 2008

May 26th: St Philip Neri

Today is the feast day of my patron saint, Philip Neri. Known as the "Second Apostle of Rome," he lived from 1515 to 1595. He was canonized in 1622 along with St. Therese of Avila and St. Ignatius of Loyola. Philip was notorious for assigning unusual penances to his somewhat haughty crowd of penitents. He was also a notorious prankster and funny-man, one to never tolerate pompous or self-righteous behavior from anyone--most especially clerics! Philip is also called "The Joyful Saint!" The cause of Philip's death was a heart grown too large for his chest.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Philip Neri:

In this catacomb, a few days before Pentecost in 1544, the well-known miracle of his heart took place. Bacci describes it thus: "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 sometime, 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." The cause of this swelling was discovered by the doctors who examined his body after death. The saint's heart had been dilated under the sudden impulse of love, and in order that it might have sufficient room to move, two ribs had been broken, and curved in the form of an arch. From the time of the miracle till his death, his heart would palpitate violently whenever he performed any spiritual action.

Please pray for Philip's brothers, the Oratorians. And please pray for me that I might be more like Philip and less like me!

A video in honor of St Philip Neri:


  1. Anonymous7:00 AM

    I don't know the formula to be used in similar circumstances. In Italy there is a proper name for the day: it's called "onomastico" and so consequently we say "buon onomastico". I imagine it could be rendered by "Have a good patron saint's feast".
    The obvious Italian cinematographic reference is "State buoni se potete" a film whose (famous in Italy) soundtrack invites to reflect on Qohelet's "Vanitas vanitatis"(http://youtube.com/watch?v=VUxxwhfNjzE) (http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_buoni_se_potete_%28film%29)
    I disagree on the choice of music for the video (it's a disguised form of Carmina Burana) intermixed with "Divino Messia" (though they pronounce it 'divano', that in Italian sounds definitely funny [it means couch]).
    You have a rosary from me, today.

  2. I wasn't crazy about the music either! But it is dramatic...

    Thanks for the good wishes and the rosary...

    Fr. Philip, OP

  3. Blessed Saint day, Father!

  4. Happy Name Day Father!

  5. Happy Feast Day, Father P!

    St. Phillip is one of my favorite saints. I wrote a little on him, too.

    I gained some new insights from your post today. Thank you!

    God bless you!

  6. Anonymous6:57 PM

    Happy Bday Fr. Philip!

  7. Happy b'day!

    St. Philip's sons in Rome got 3 novices this year - and given two deaths in 2008 of VERY senior members of the Conregation their average age has to have dropped by 30 or 40 years!

  8. Happy birthday and feast day! How wonderful that the two are the same!

    I humbly ask your prayers for a family friend who died on Tuesday, Veronica Hassman. Her husband Everett will be having an extremely hard time with this. Thank you ever so much.