MAY 26.—ST. PHILIP NERI.
PHILIP was one of the noble line of Saints raised up by God in the sixteenth century to console and bless His Church. After a childhood of
angelic beauty, the Holy Spirit drew him away from Florence, the place of his
birth, showed him the world, that he might freely renounce it, led him to Rome,
modelled him in mind and heart and will, and then, as by a second Pentecost,
came down in visible form and filled his soul with light
and peace and joy. He would have gone to India, but God reserved him for Rome.
There he went on simply from day to day, drawing souls to Jesus, exorcising them
in mortification and charity, and binding them together by cheerful devotions;
thus, unconsciously to himself, under the hands of Mary, as he said, the Oratory grew
up, and all Rome was pervaded and transformed by its spirit. His life was a
continuous miracle, his habitual state an ecstasy. He read the hearts of men,
foretold their future, knew their eternal destiny. His touch gave health of body; his
very look calmed souls in trouble and drove away temptations. He was gay,
genial, and irresistibly winning; neither insult nor wrong could dim the
brightness of his joy.
Philip lived in an atmosphere of sunshine
and gladness which brightened all who came near him. " When I met him in the
street," says one, "he would pat my cheek and say, ' Well, how is Don Pellegrino
?' and leave me so full of joy that I could not tell which way I was going."
Others said that when he playfully pulled their hair or their ears, their hearts
would bound with joy. Marcio Altieri felt such overflowing gladness in his
presence that he said Philip's room was a paradise on earth. Fabrizio de Massimi
would go in sadness or perplexity and stand at Philip's door; he said it was
enough to see him, to be near him. And long after his death, it was enough for
many, when troubled, to go into his room, to find their hearts lightened and
gladdened. He inspired a boundless confidence and love, and was the common
refuge and consoler of all. A gentle jest would convey his rebukes and veil his
miracles. The highest honors sought him out, but he put them from him. He died
in his eightieth year, A.D. 1595, and bears the grand title of Apostle of Rome.
REFLECTION.--Philip wished his children to serve God, like the first Christians, in gladness of heart. He said this was the true filial spirit ; this expands the soul, giving it liberty and perfection in action, power over temptations, and fuller aid to perseverance.
INTERCESSORY PRAYER -- If you have a specific spiritual need or know someone who is ill and in need of healing, ask Saint Philip to obtain help for you from God.