Prayer to Saint Philip Neri
(Can be said as a Novena for Nine Consecutive Days)

O glorious St. Philip, who wast so favored by God with the gift of consoling and assisting thy spiritual children at the hour of death, be also my advocate and father when I shall find myself at that dreadful moment. Obtain for me that at that hour the devil may not conquer me, nor temptation overcome me, nor fear itself revile me; but that, strengthened by a lively faith, a fervent hope and, a sincere charity, I may sustain with patience and perseverance that supreme struggle, and that, full of confidence in the mercy of the Lord, and in the infinite merits of Jesus Christ and the protection of the Most Blessed Mary, I may deserve to die the death of the just, and be united with thee and all the saints in the blessed home of Paradise, to praise and enjoy the Lord forever. Amen.

(An Indulgence of 100 Days, once a day)

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Prayer of Saint Philip Neri

Immaculate Virgin, thou hast to save me. Grant that I may always remember thee ; and thou, do thou never forget me. The happy day, when I shall go to behold thy beauty in paradise, seems a thousand years off. So much do I long to praise and love thee more than I can now do, my Mother, my Queen, my beloved, most beautiful, most sweet, most pure, Immaculate Mary. Amen








Quotes From Saint Philip Neri


"It is an old custom with the servants of God always to have some little prayers ready and to be darting them up to heaven frequently during the day, lifting their minds to God out of the filth of this world. He who adopts this plan will get great fruit with little pains."


"Watch me, O Lord, this day; for, abandoned to myself, I shall surely betray thee."


St. Philip Neri, in his exhortations to his penitents, used always to say: "My children, if you desire perseverance, be devout to our Blessed Lady."


Saint Philip Neri says, that "in the war of the senses, cowards conquer:" that is to say, those who fly from dangerous occasions.



Virgin Mother of God, Mary, pray to Jesus for me.

(An Indulgence of 50 Days, once a day)






St. Philip Neri and the Poor Souls

St. Philip Neri had a very tender devotion for the souls in purgatory. His great attraction was to pray for those whose consciences he had directed during life. In his opinion, a father's charity ought to follow them to eternity, because real charity, says St. Paul, never falleth away. He avowed that many of his spiritual children appeared to him after their death, to request his prayers or to thank him for those he had said in their favor. We are also assured by him that he obtained by the aid of these poor souls very many graces. He himself appeared to a holy Religious, crowned with glory in the midst of a beautiful procession. The Religious, encouraged by the friendly and meek air with which the saint regarded him, asked who were the happy beings that surrounded him. St. Philip answered they were the souls whom he had helped during his life in this world, and who had been delivered from purgatory by his prayers. He added that they had met him at his death and introduced him into the kingdom of the blessed.



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Prayers to Saint Philip Neri
for every day of the week


FOR SUNDAY:
Prayer to obtain the virtue of Humility

Philip, my glorious Patron, who on earth wast so enamored of humility as to count as dross the praise and even the good esteem of men; obtain for me also this fair virtue by thy prayers. How haughty in my thoughts, how contemptuous in my words, how ambitious in my works, I am, thou knowest. Ask for me, then, humility of heart; that so my soul may be divested of all pride, and in its place may dwell deep-seated that low esteem of self which thou hadst of thyself, counting thyself worst of all men, and for that reason rejoicing when thou didst suffer contempt, and thyself seeking out occasions of it. Ah, my great saint, obtain for me a true humble heart and the knowledge of my own nothingness; that I may rejoice when I am despised, and resent not when others are preferred before me; be never proud when praised, but ever seek only to be great in the eyes of God, desiring to receive from Him alone all my exaltation.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR MONDAY:
Prayer to Obtain the virtue of Patience.

Philip, my holy Advocate, whose heart was ever so constant in time of trouble, and whose spirit was so loving under suffering, as, whether persecuted by the jealous, or calumniated by the wicked who thought to bring shame upon thee, or tried by God with many long, painful infirmities, ever to bear all with wondrous tranquility of heart and soul; O obtain for me too by thy prayers, dear Saint, a spirit of true courage in all the trials of this life. Alas, how do I stand in need of patience! I shrink from every little trouble; I sicken under every light affliction; I fire up at and resent every trifling contradiction; nor ever learn that through the thorny path of tribulation lies the road to paradise. Yet was this the road our divine Master Jesus deigned to tread; this too was trod by thee, my darling Saint. Obtain for me this strong courage, with good hearty will to embrace the crosses which every day I receive from God, and to bear all with such endurance and such ready will as thou didst when on earth; that so I may be made worthy to enjoy the blessed fruit of sufferings with thee in heaven above.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR TUESDAY:
Prayer to obtain the virtue of Purity.

Glorious Philip, who didst ever keep unsullied the white lily of Thy purity, with such great honor to thyself that the brightness of this fair virtue dwelt in thine eyes, shone forth from thy hands, and cast its fragrance over Thy whole body, causing it to exhale such sweet perfume as gave consolation, fervour, and devotion, to all who abode with thee; O obtain for me from the Holy Spirit of God so true a love for that most beauteous virtue, that neither the words nor bad examples of sinners may ever make impression on my soul. O never suffer me in any way to lose that lovely virtue; and seeing that avoidance of occasions, prayer, labour, humility, mortification of the senses, frequent use of the sacraments, were the arms with which thou didst conquer the dread enemy of the flesh, even so obtain for me, I pray thee, grace to use these very arms to vanquish this same foe. Take not away thy help from me; show forth that zeal in my behalf which in thy life thou hadst for thy penitents, keeping them far removed from all infection of the senses. Do this for me, my holy advocate; in this fair virtue be thou ever my protector.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR WEDNESDAY:
Prayer to Obtain the Love of God.

Wondering I contemplate, Philip, the great miracle wrought in thee by God's Most Holy Spirit, when into thy heart He poured such floods of heavenly charity, that to give them place within thy breast, through vehemence of love thy ribs were burst asunder; then, beholding thy heart and mine own, I am sore confounded. I see thy heart all burning with love; mine, all frozen, wrapt up in creatures. I see thine inflamed with a fire from heaven, whose brilliance was so diffused throughout thy body that it shone forth from thy face like sparks of fire; while mine is full of earthly love. I love the world, which allures me and can never make me happy; I love the flesh, which ever wears me with its cares, and can never render me immortal; I love riches, which I can enjoy but for a moment. O, when ever shall I learn of thee to love naught else save God, my incomprehensible and only Good! Make it thy care, then, Blessed Advocate, by thy intercession that I begin at least today: obtain for me an efficacious love, made known by works; a pure love, making me love God most perfectly; a strong love, enabling me to surmount all obstacles which might hinder my union with God in life, that so I may become one with Him for ever after death.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR THURSDAY:
Prayer to Obtain the Love of our Neighbour.

Glorious Saint, who didst employ thyself wholly in thy neighbour's good, thinking for all, sympathizing with all, helping all, and who throughout thy whole life didst ever try to secure the salvation of all, nor ever shrink from labour or from burden, keeping for thyself no time or comfort, that thou mightest win all hearts to God; obtain for me, I pray thee, together with the pardon of my sins, charity for my neighbour, that henceforth I may be to him all compassion in his needs, and grace to love every man with pure, unselfish love, as mine own brother, succouring each one, if not with temporal goods, at least with prayers and good advice. And teach me too on every occasion to defend my neighbour's honour, and never to say to him a hurtful or displeasing word; but ever to maintain, even with my enemies, sweetness of spirit like thine own, whereby thou didst triumph over thy persecutors. Ah, then, my blessed Saint, obtain for me this lovely virtue, which already thou hast obtained for so many of thy clients; that so we may all one day come to praise our God with thee in an eternity of bliss.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR FRIDAY:
Prayer to obtain Detachment from Temporal Goods.

Great Saint, who didst prefer a poor and austere life to the comforts of thy home, despising its honours and its glories; obtain for me grace ever to keep my heart detached from the passing goods of this life. O thou, whose desire it ever was to become so poor as one day to beg thy bread, and not to find the charitable hand to offer thee a crumb wherewith to support life; ask for me of God a love of poverty so great that I may turn all my thoughts to goods which never fail. Thou who wouldst rather live in humble guise than be exalted to the highest honours of the Holy Church; still intercede for me, that I go not in ceaseless search of dignities, but content myself ever with that state where God has set me. My heart, alas, is too anxious after the empty fleeting things of earth; but thou ah what a maxim didst thou leave us by thy two words: "And then." O wonder-working words, be ye ever deep impressed upon my soul; that despising the nothingness of earth, God alone may reign sole object of my affections, and be all my thoughts.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.




FOR SATURDAY:
Prayer to obtain Perseverance in Good Works.

Philip, Holy Advocate, who, ever constant in good works and full of merit, didst receive of God Most High the crown of glory in reward of all thy labours; obtain for me grace never to weary in God's holy service. Thou who didst ever so well recompense those who loved thee by gaining for them the gift of perseverance in good, gain, then, this gift for me; fight thou for me, dear father, at the last moment of my life, and obtain for me the grace to depart this life strengthened with the Holy Sacraments. Meanwhile be thou, great Saint, my intercessor, that through thy prayers I may do penance for my sins, and bitterly deplore them all my days. O thou, who from on high beholdest all my miseries, and the bonds which yet yoke me to my sins and to this earth; pray for my liberation from them, and that with fixed purpose I may be all for God. Obtain for me an eager desire to co-operate in my own salvation, and inviolable constancy in the good which I have begun; that so by thy intercession I may deserve to be forever in thy company in an eternity of bliss.


Pater. Ave. Gloria.













St. Philip Neri,
Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory at Rome
by Fr. Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876


Philip Neri, the celebrated Founder of the far-famed Oratory at Rome, was born in Florence, of very pious parents, in ths year 1515. He was so good in his childhood, that he was known under no other name than that of "the good little Philip." To his parents he was so obedient, that his father said he had only once in his life occasion to reprove him, and this only for a slight cause; but Philip, thinking he had grieved his father, was so distressed that he wept bitterly. To pray and to be present at a sermon were his only pleasures; the former he continued for hours, and the latter he never neglected. Until his eighteenth year he remained with his father at Florence, when he was sent to Naples, to his uncle, who, being a rich merchant, wished to make Philip his heir. But Philip had no inclination to become a merchant, and with his uncle's consent, he proceeded to Rome to study theology. At this period, Philip began the austere life which he continued unto his end. He nursed the sick in the hospitals, instructed the poor and the ignorant in religion, visited frequently during the day the seven Churches, and at night the tombs of the holy martyrs, through whose intercession he asked nothing more warmly than a true fervent love of God.

The fervor of his devotion at the time of his prayers was so great, that he tore his garments from his breast, the better to breathe, or laid himself with open breast upon the ground to cool the inward fire-of his love to God. "Oh! my God!" exclaimed he at such times, "O my God, my love! Thou art mine and I am wholly thine. O most adorable God! Thou who hast commanded that I should love Thee; why hast thou given me only one and so narrow a heart?" He was so filled with spiritual comfort, that he often exclaimed: "Leave me, O my Lord, leave me; for human weakness cannot bear such heavenly joys!" On Pentecost, he prayed most devoutly that the Holy Ghost would kindle in his heart the fire of Divine love. During his prayers, his heart was so filled with the ardor of his love, that through its emotion and expansion, two ribs were broken and raised above the others, as was seen with great astonishment after his death. He very seldom said Holy Mass without shedding many tears. He frequently stood for hours before the Altar in raptures, transported out of himself. This happened also to him at other times, and he was seen, while at prayers, raised from the ground and surrounded by a brilliant light. To pass whole nights in prayer was his supreme delight.

With his devotions, however, he did not forget the salvation of souls, for which, out of love to God, he most zealously labored. An almost incredibly large number of hardened sinners he brought to repentance; by his sermons he converted Jews and Heretics, and opened the eyes of frivolous people to the vanities of the world; and this often with very few words. Thus a youth who, out of desire to gain honor and riches, studied jurisprudence and Canon Law, he alienated from the love of all earthly things, by addressing to him the following words: "Francis, you will study law; you will become a great Doctor, and after that an eminent Councillor or Prelate of the Church: you will gain honor and riches; but what then? What will happen then?" These oft repeated words; "but what then? what will happen then?" and the thought they awakened, that death would surely follow, changed the youth into quite a different being, and induced, him to enter the clerical state.

To oppose heresy more effectually, which at that time was gaining ground, St. Philip persuaded the celebrated Caesar Baronius to write the history of the Church. For the better instruction of the Catholics, as well as to strengthen them in the true faith and excite them to the practice of all Christian virtues, he founded a Clerical Congregation, the members of which were obliged, by daily preaching and devout conferences, by unweariedly hearing confessions and other spiritual labors, to advance the salvation of their fellow-men. Towards the Divine Mother he entertained the most tender devotion, and endeavored also to gain her the hearts of others, with the words: "My dear Children, honor the mother of Our Lord, love the Blessed Virgin." The prayer which he most frequently repeated was: "O Mary, Mother of Our Lord! pray to Christ for me! O Virgin! O Mother!" The lives of the Saints were his great delight and his study was to imitate them.

In his love to the poor he showed a more than fatherly heart. No beggar was allowed to leave him without having received alms. He even carried alms to those houses where it was manifested to him by divine revelation that need and poverty dwelt. Once, when going on one of these charitable missions during the night, he fell into so deep a pit, that according to human calculation, he should have met his death; but his guardian Angel protected him and helped him out of the pit. At another time, a beggar covered with miserable rags met him, asking alms. Philip gave him all he had, and at the same moment, the beggar vanished, saying: "I desired only to see what you would do."

He preserved his purity unspotted until his death. The danger of losing it he warded off with Christian fortitude. His functions as priest were once required by a woman who pretended to be sick and desirous of confessing. No sooner, however, had he appeared, than she tried to seduce him to vice; but the saint fled from her, and hastened down the staircase and out of the house. At another time some wicked people concealed two shameless women in the room where Philip had to pass the night. When he entered the room to say his prayers, the two women made their appearance, and so frightened the chaste servant of God, that he would have run away, had not those who had concealed the women in his room locked the door on the outside. Throwing himself upon his knees, he called upon God fervently to come to his aid that neither of the women had the courage to speak a word, except to beg his pardon, promising that they would change their lives.

He had the gift of distinguishing the pure from the impure by the sense of smell. When he spoke to any one who was impure, he experienced such a stench that he had to hold handkerchief before his nose. He therefore said to more than one dissipated youth whom he met: "You savor ill, my son, you savor ill." He, on the contrary perceived the most agreeable odor from those whose life was pure.

Notwithstanding his being favored with these and many other gifts, he yet lived in continual humiliation before God and men. He not only evaded idle praise, but rather sought to make himself despicable to others. One, day, on meeting St. Felix, a Capuchin Friar, who was carrying a bottle of wine, he asked for a drink: and having taken it openly on the street, in presence of a great many persons, he placed his own hat upon St. Felix's head and went home bare-headed; which of course gave to many an occasion to laugh at him and deride him. He often cried to God: "Lord, leave me not; as otherwise I shall this day, like Judas, betray you." Such was his mistrust in his own moral strength. During a dangerous sickness, he was advised to call on God in the words of St. Martin; "Lord, if I am needful to Thy people, I will not refuse to labor for Thee, &c." But he answered: "I will not do it; for I am not one who can think himself necessary to a single human being. I should deserve eternal punishment if I could imagine anything like it." His patience, when assailed by the most unjust persecutions and slanders, was invincible. When a great wrong had been done to him, he went into the Church of St. Peter, and there offered a long prayer for his enemies and persecutors. During the most painful maladies, he praised and thanked God, saying frequently: "Lord, increase the suffering, but with it the patience." In the last year but one of his life a mortal sickness befell him, but when every one thought that he could not live a moment longer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him (as had often happened), and immediately restored him to health.







Saint Philip Neri, Confessor
by Father Prosper Gueranger 1870


As we have already said, Joy is the leading feature of the Paschal Season, a supernatural joy, which springs from our delight at seeing the glorious triumph of our Emmanuel, and from the happiness we feel at our own being delivered from the bonds of death. This interior Joy was the characteristic of the Saint whom we honor today. His heart was ever full of a jubilant enthusiasm for what regards God; so that, we could truly apply to him those words of Scripture: A secure mind is like a continual feast (Prov. xv. 15). One of his latest disciples, the illustrious Father Faber, tells us in his beautiful treatise, Growth in Holiness, that Cheerfulness is one of the chief means for advancing in Christian perfection. We, will, therefore, welcome, with gladness and veneration, the benevolent and light-hearted Philip Neri, the Apostle of Rome, and one of the greatest Saints produced by the Church in the 16th Century.

Love of God, but a love of the most ardent kind, and one that communicated itself to all that came near him, was our Saint's characteristic virtue. All the Saints loved God; for the Love of God is the first and greatest of the Commandments: but Philip's whole life was, in an especial manner, the fulfillment of this divine precept. His entire existence seemed to be but one long transport of Love for his Creator; and, had it not been for a miracle of God's power and goodness, this burning Love would have soon put an end to his mortal career. He was in his twenty-ninth year; when one day, it was within the Whitsun Octave, he was seized with such a vehemence of divine charity, that two of his ribs broke, thus making room for the action of the heart to respond freely to the intensity of the soul's love. The fracture was never made good; it caused a protrusion which was distinctly observable; and, owing to this miraculous enlargement of the region of the heart, Philip was enabled to live fifty years more, during which time he loved His God with a fervour and strength which would do honour to one already in heaven.

This Seraph in human flesh was a living answer to the insults heaped upon the Catholic Church by the so-called Reformation. Luther and Calvin had called this holy Church the harlot of Babylon; and yet she had, at that very time, such children as Teresa of Spain, and Philip Neri of Rome, to offer to the admiration of mankind. But Protestantism cared little or nothing for piety or charity; its great object was the throwing off the yoke of restraint. Under pretence of Religious Liberty, it persecuted them that adhered to the True Faith; it forced itself by violence, where it could not enter by seduction; but as for leading men to love their God, this was what it never aimed at or thought of. The result was, that, wheresoever it imposed its errors, devotedness was at an end, we mean that devotedness, which leads man to make sacrifices for God or for his neighbor.

A very long period of time elapsed after the Reformation, before Protestantism ever gave a thought to the infidels who abounded in various parts of the globe: and if, later on, it organized what it calls its Missions, it chose a strange set of men to be the apostles of its Bible Societies. It has made a recent discovery; it has found out that the Catholic Church is prolific in Orders and Congregations devoted to works of Charity. The discovery has excited it to emulation; and, among its other imitations, it can now boast of having Protestant Sisters of Charity. To a certain point, success may encourage it to persevere in these tardy efforts; but anything like the devotedness of Catholic Institutions is an impossibility for Protestantism, were it only for this reason, that its principles are opposed to the Evangelical Counsels, which are the great sources of the spirit of sacrifice, and are prompted by a motive of the Love of God.

Glory, then, to Philip Neri, one of the worthiest representatives of Charity in the 16th Century! It was owing to his zeal, that Rome, and Christendom at large, were replenished with a new life by the frequentation of the Sacraments and by the exercises of Catholic Piety. His word, his very look, used to excite people to devotion. His memory is still held in deep veneration, especially in Rome, where his Feast is kept with the greatest solemnity on this twenty-sixth day of May. He shares with Saints Peter and Paul the honour of being Patron of the Holy City. His Feast is there kept as a day of obligation. The Pope goes, with great solemnity, to the Church of Saint Mary in Vallicella, and pays the debt of gratitude which the Holy See owes to the Saint who accomplished such great things for the glory of our Holy Mother the Church.

Philip had the gift of miracles; and, though seeking to be forgotten and despised, he was continually surrounded by people, who besought him to pray for them, either in their temporal or spiritual concerns. Death itself was obedient to his command, as in the case of the young prince Paul Massimo. The young Prince, when breathing his last, desired that Philip should be sent for, in order that he might assist him to die happily. The Saint was saying Mass at the time. As soon as the Holy Sacrifice was over, he repaired to the palace; but he was too late; he found the father, sister and the whole family in tears. The young Prince had died after an illness of sixty-five days, which he had borne with most edifying patience. Philip fell upon his knees; and, after a fervent prayer, he put his hand on the head of the corpse, and called the Prince by his name. Thus awakened from the sleep of death, Paul opened his eyes, and looking at Philip, said to him: "My Father!" He then added these words: "I only wished to go to Confession." The assistants left the room, and Philip remained alone with the Prince. After a few moments, the family were called back; and, in their presence, Paul began to speak to Philip regarding his mother and sister who had been taken from him by death, and whom he loved with the tenderest affection. During the conversation, the Prince's face regained all it had lost by sickness. His animation was that of one in perfect health. The Saint then asked him if he would wish to die again? " Oh! yes:" answered the Prince, "most willingly; for I should then see my mother and sister in heaven." "Take then," said Philip, "take thy departure for heaven, and pray to the Lord for me." At these words, the young Prince expired once more, and entered into the joys of eternal life, leaving his family to mourn his departure, and venerate a Saint such as Philip.

He was almost continually visited by our Lord with raptures and ecstacies; he was gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and could read the secrets of the conscience. His virtues were such as to draw souls to him by an irresistible charm. The youth of Rome, rich and poor, used to flock to him. Some he warned against danger; others he saved, after they had fallen. The poor and sick were the object of his unceasing care. He seemed to be everywhere in the City by his works of zeal, which gave an impulse to piety that has never been forgotten.

Philip was convinced, that one of the principal means for maintaining the Christian spirit is the preaching the word of God: hence he was most anxious to provide the Faithful with apostolic men, who would draw them to God by good and solid preaching. He established, under the name of The Oratory, an institution, which still exists, and whose object is to encourage Christian piety among the people. By founding it, Philip aimed at securing the services, zeal and talent, of priests who are not called to the Religious Life, but who, by uniting their labours together, would produce great good to the souls of men (The Oratory founded by St. Philip is not to be confounded with the Oratoire de France).

Thus did he afford to Priests, whose vocation does not lead them to the Religious State, the great advantages of a common rule and mutual good example, which are such powerful aids both in the service of God, and in the exercise of pastoral duties. But the holy apostle was a man of too much Faith not to have an esteem of the Religious Life as a State of perfection. He never lost an opportunity of encouraging a Vocation to that holy State. The Religious Orders were indebted to him for so many members, that his intimate friend and admirer, St. Ignatius of Loyola, used playfully to compare him to a bell, which calls others to Church yet never goes in itself!

The awful crisis of the l6th Century, through which the Christian world had to pass, and which robbed the Catholic Church of so many provinces, was a source of keenest grief to Philip during the whole of his life. His heart bled at seeing so many thousand souls fall into the abyss of error and heresy. He took the deepest interest in the efforts that were made to reclaim those that had been led astray by the pretended Reformation. He kept a watchful eye on the tactics wherewith Protestantism sought to maintain its ground. The "Centuries of Magdeburg," for example, suggested to his zeal a counterbalance of truth. The "Centuries" was a series of historical essays, whereby the Reformers sought to prove that the Roman Church had changed the ancient Faith, and introduced superstitious practices in the place of those that were used in the early ages of Christianity. A work like this, with its falsified quotations, its misrepresentation and, not unfrequently, its invention, of facts, was destined to do great injury; and Philip resolved to meet it by a work of profound erudition, a true history, compiled from authentic sources. One of the fathers of his Oratory, Caesar Baronius, was just the man for such an undertaking; and Philip ordered him to take the field against the enemy. The Ecclesiastical Annals were the fruit of this happy thought; and Baronius himself, at the beginning of his 8th Book, acknowledges that Philip was the originator of the work.

Three centuries have passed away since then. It is easy for us, with the means which science now puts into our hands, to detect certain imperfections in the Annals; at the same time, it is acknowledged on all sides, that they form by far the truest and finest History of the Church of the first twelve hundred years, which is as far as the learned Cardinal went. Heresy felt the injury it must needs sustain by such a History. The sickly and untrustworthy erudition of the Centuriators could not stand before an honest statement of facts; and we may safely assert, that the progress of Protestantism was checked by the Annals of Baronius, which showed, that the Church was then, as she had ever been, the 'pillar and ground of truth (I. Tim. iii. 15). Philip's sanctity, and Baronius' learning, secured the victory. Numerous conversions soon followed, consoling the Church for the losses she had sustained. And if, in these our own days, there are so many returning to the ancient Faith, it is but fair to attribute the movement, in part at least, to the success of the historical method begun by the Annals.


Let us now read the Liturgical account of the virtues and holy deeds
of the Apostle of Rome in the 16th Century.


Philip Neri was born at Florence, of pious and respectable parents. From his very childhood, he gave evident promise of future sanctity. Whilst yet a young man, he gave up an ample fortune which he inherited from an uncle, and went to Rome, where he studied theology and philosophy, and devoted himself wholly to the service of Christ Jesus. Such was his abstemiousness, that he frequently passed three days without eating anything. He spent much time in watching and prayer. He frequently made the visit of the Seven Churches of the City, and was in the habit of spending the night in the Cemetery of Calixtus, in the contemplation of heavenly things. Being ordained priest out of obedience, he devoted himself without reserve to the saving souls, and, even to the last day of his life, he was assiduous in hearing confessions. He was the spiritual father of a countless number of souls; and in order to nourish them with the daily food of God's word, with the frequency of the Sacraments, with application to prayer, and with other pious exercises, he instituted the congregation of the Oratory.

He was ever languishing with the love of God, wherewith he was wounded. Such was the ardour that glowed within him, that, not being able to keep his heart within its place, his breast was miraculously enlarged by the breaking and expansion of two of his ribs. Sometimes, when celebrating Mass, or in fervent prayer, he was seen to be raised up in the air, and encircled with a bright light. He looked after the needy and the poor with an all-providing charity. He was once rewarded by a visit from an Angel, who appeared to him in a beggar's garb, and Philip gave him an alms. On another occasion, when carrying loaves to the poor, during the night, he fell into a deep hole, but was drawn forth by an Angel without having sustained any injury. So humble was he, that he had an abiding dread of everything that savoured of honour; and he was most resolute in refusing every ecclesiastical dignity, though the highest offices were more than once offered to him.

He possessed the gift of prophecy, and could miraculously read the inmost thoughts of others' souls. Throughout his whole life, he preserved his chastity unsullied. He had also a supernatural power of distinguishing those who were chaste from those who were not so. He sometimes appeared to persons who were at a distance, and assisted them in moments of danger. He restored to health many that were sick and at death's door. He also restored a dead man to life. He was frequently favoured with apparitions of heavenly Spirits and of the Blessed Mother of God. He saw the souls of several persons ascending, amidst great brightness, into heaven. At length, being in his eightieth year, he slept in the Lord; it was in the year of our Redemption 1595, the eighth of the Calends of June (May 25th), the feast of Corpus Christi, after having said Mass with extraordinary spiritual joy, and at the very hour which he had foretold, which was shortly after midnight. The miracles, wherewith he had been honoured, being authentically proved, he was canonized by Pope Gregory the Fifteenth.

Thy whole life, O Philip, was one long act of Love of Jesus; but it was, also, one untiring effort to make others know and love Him, and thus secure the end for which they were created. Thou wast the indefatigable Apostle of Rome for forty years, and no one could approach thee without receiving something of the divine ardour that filled thy heart. We, too, would fain receive of thy fullness of devotion; and therefore we pray thee to teach us how to love our Risen Jesus. It is not enough that we adore Him and rejoice in His triumph; we must love Him: for He has permitted us to celebrate the various Mysteries of his Life on earth, with a view to our seeing more and more clearly how deserving He is of our warmest love. It is Love that will lead us to the full appreciation of His Resurrection, that bright Mystery which shows us all the riches of the Sacred Heart. The New Life, which He put on by rising from the Tomb, teaches us, more eloquently than ever, how tenderly He loves us, and how earnestly He importunes us to love Him in return. Pray for us, O Philip, that our heart and our flesh may rejoice in the Living God (Ps. lxxxiii. 2)! Now that we have relished the mystery of the Pasch, lead us to that of the Ascension; prepare our souls to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; and when the august mystery of the Eucharist beams upon us, with all its loveliness, in the approaching Festival, the very day that ushered thee into the unveiled vision of thy Jesus, intercede for us, that we may receive and relish that Living Bread, which giveth Life to the world (St. John, vi. 33)!

The Sanctity that shone in thee, O Philip, was marked by the impetuosity of thy soul's longing after her God; and all they that held intercourse with thee, quickly imbibed thy spirit, which, in truth, is the only one that contents our Redeemer's Heart. Thou hadst the talent of winning souls, and leading them to perfection by the path of confidence and generosity. In this great work, thy method consisted in having none; thus imitating the Apostles and ancient Fathers, and trusting to the power of God's own word. It was by thee that the frequenting the Sacraments was restored, that surest indication of the Christian spirit. Pray for the faithful of our times, and come to the assistance of so many souls that are anxiously pursuing systems of spirituality which have been coined by the hands of men, and which but too frequently retard or even impede the intimate union of the Creature with his Creator.

Thy love of the Church, O Philip, was most fervent: there can be no true sanctity without it. Though thy contemplation was of the sublimest kind, yet did it not make thee lose sight of the cruel trials which this holy Spouse of Christ had to endure in those sad times. The successful efforts of heresy stimulated thy zeal: oh! get us that keen sympathy for our holy Faith, which will make us take an interest in all that concerns its progress. It is not enough for us that we save our own souls; we must, moreover, ardently desire, and do our utmost to obtain the advancement of God's Kingdom on earth, the extirpation of heresy, and the exaltation of our holy Mother the Church: if these are not our dispositions, how can we call ourselves Children of God? May thy example urge us to take to heart the sacred cause of our common Mother. Pray, too, for the Church militant, of which thou wast one of the bravest soldiers. Shield with thy protection that Rome which loves thee so devoutly because of the services which she received at thy hands. Thou didst lead her children to holiness during thy mortal career; bless her and defend her now that thou art in heaven. Amen






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