Saturday, May 26, 2012

Feast of St. Philip Neri

The Birmingham Oratory has a new website, and posts this information about Blessed John Henry Newman's patron:

St Philip Neri was born into a prominent family in Florence in 1515, although the financial fortunes of his family had declined by the time of his birth. He was educated by the Dominican friars in Florence, where he learned to venerate the memory of the fiery Florentine friar, Sarvanola. As a young man he was sent to work for his uncle in San Germano, near Monte Cassino, who planned to hand over his business to Philip. It was here, while living in the shadow of the Benedictine abbey at Monte Cassino, that Phillip gained a profound love for the sacred liturgy and an appreciation for the wisdom of the desert fathers. Philip had little interest in taking over his uncle’s business and within a year had gone to live in Rome.
When Philip came to Rome he lived with a Florentine family who gave him lodgings and food in return for teaching their two sons. His real joy, however, lay in spending nights in the catacombs in prayer. He had a great affinity with the early Christians, and in his Litany of St Philip, Newman calls him, Vir Prisci Temporis or Man of Primitive Times. In his early years in Rome, Philip pursued philosophical and theological studies with the Augustinians in the city, but was content to remain as layman. Contemporaries noted his great eloquence in theological matters, but Philip didn’t see his studies as an end in themselves and happily sold his text books to give financial help to other students.
In 1544 Philip had a mystical experience, while praying in the catacombs of San Sebastiano, in which he felt the Holy Spirit enter him in a special way, and from that time onwards he had great feeling of warmth in his heart. Philip hid this experience for most of his life and only in his last years did he confide in his trusted friend Pietro Consolini about the experience.
Read the rest here.

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