Saint had several of hisyoung clergy men
Saint Philip Neri was born in Florence, Italy, in the year 1515. He was theoldest son of Francis Neri and Lucretia Soldi, both descendants of Tuscanfamilies. He was kind hearted as a kid and soon became known as Philip theGood – “the good Pippo.” As a child, he studied philosophy and later he tooka comprehensive course in theology.
With fourteen companions, he createdthe Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for looking after pilgrims andconvalescents. The members met for Communion, prayer and other spiritualexercises in the Church of San Salvatore, and Philip himself introduced theidea of having exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least once a month.At these devotions, Philip preached, even though he had not yet become apriest. In 1550, he transferred this Confraternity to the Church of the HolyTrinity, and built a new hospital. His work continued and in 1551, he wasordained a priest at the age of thirty-six. As a newly ordained priest, Philip continued his spiritual conferences toever-increasing numbers, who came seeking his guidance and help.
In a shorttime, several priests and young clergymen associated themselves with him.They began to aid him with his conferences and in reading prayers andmeditations to the people of the Church of the Holy Trinity. This smallgroup soon became known as an Oratory, because at certain hours each day,they would gather the people together for prayer and meditation. Thereforethey laid the foundation of a new religious society. In 1564, when Philiphad formed his congregation into a regular community, he had several of hisyoung clergy men ordained to the priesthood.
Saint Philip lived to be eighty years of age. In the year 1595, he wasstruck by an unusual violent fever and was confined to his bed for theentire month of April. Cardinal Caesar Baronius game him Extreme Unction andCardinal Frederick Borromeo, an intimate friend, brought him Holy Viaticum.His entire congregation accompanied him on his deathbed.
It was shortlyafter midnight on May 26th, 1595 that he passed away.Saint Philip was noted also for his kindness and simplicity and was muchsought after as a confessor. His sense of humor was note worthy. He wasbeautified by Pope Paul V in 1615 and was canonized a saint by Pope GregoryXV in the year 1622.
After Philip’s death it was discovered that two of his ribs were broken andhad formed an arch, enlarging the normal space for the heart. His body restsin the Chiesa Nuova where it remains miraculously incorrupt. He iscelebrated on May 26th. It was here that a series of mystical experiencesoccurred to him. One evening, while fervently praying, a globe of fire appeared in frontof him.
It entered his mouth and a moment afterwards he felt his chestdilating. Instantly he was filled with such paroxysms of divine love that he rolledupon the ground yelling, “Enough, Lord, I can bear no more!” When he rose and was more composed, he discovered a swelling as big as aman’s fist in the region of his heart. This swelling remained with him forthe rest of his life and, at times, the emotional passion that it caused wasso strong it forced him to bare his breast to relieve the heat it created.In those moments he prayed that God would lessen his blessings before hedied of excess love. His face would shine with a mysterious light and oftenhe was transfixed in heavenly bliss and unable to lower his arms.
Occasionally in these fits he was seen lifted off the ground, his bodyweightless. Not only did his face shine with light, but real sparks of fireflew from his eyes. All of these were miracles used for his canonization.
The Oratory is a non-monastic house of prayer where people are gathered inoffer to better learn scriptures and offer meditation and prayer. This isthe type of life that Saint Philip Neri lived and by his example more andmore people are coming together for meditation. His life is a very modernway in which we can live extremely holy lives, and it is flexible enough sothat even one who is not in an oratory can live it with a little effort.Today in our lives his example can teach us to know more than just theprayers themselves but to understand the prayers and learn our faith.
Thiscan greatly enhance what we derive from our relationship with God. SaintPhilip devoted himself also to the people by giving service to them this isa great example to follow his love was shown through the poor by hishospital work and his balance of bringing people together for prayer andmeditation. He showed great zeal towards Gods commandment to love. He alsodevoted himself whole heatedly to the church a passion, which we shouldstrive for. PrayerSt.
Philip let me love with your passion and meditate with your skill inorder to more fully understand Gods ways and to better prepare my mind andheart for the day in which we are united with Christ. And help me to workas wholeheartedly towards the Lord’s work before I die.* Inspired by St. Philip’s quote “Last of all, we must die.”Bibliography1.
Bowden, Henry Warner. Dictionary of American Religious Biography.Greenwood Press, Westport, 1977. 2. Butler, Alban. Butler’s Lives of the Saints.
Harper and Row, SanFrancisco, 1985. 3. Carlson, John, Ed. The Saints: A Concise Biographical Dictionary.Hawthorn Books, New York, 1960.
4. Foley, Leonard, Ed. Saint of the Day. St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1974.5.
World Book Encyclopedia. Field Enterprises, ChicEnglish