Saturday, May 24, 2008

Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia - 8th Day of the Novena to St Philip Neri

From Fr Faber:

XII. ST PHILIP’S DAY. [1861] [1st part: I.-II.]

I. For two hundred and sixty-six years [lege four hundred and thirteen years] St. Philip has been looking upon the Face of God: he has never wearied. It is ever new; the years have sped silently away; they have not been like years; no springs or autumns, no winters or summers; there has been the calmness of eternity.
1. How much the world has gone through since, and his own favourite Rome.
2. His own work, how it has lasted and spread — and to how many souls it has gone!
3. Does not the thought of him, and of his calm looking upon the Face of the Most Holy Trinity this day, make us long for heaven. The times are evil — that makes us long for heaven. We are evil ourselves, we are wearied of our own foolishness — oh how we long for the security, the peace, the truth, the charity of heaven! Oh yes! most of all for the charity of heaven.
II. But there are lives on earth which have a look, a feeling, a fragrance of eternity about them. This was quite a distinguishable characteristic of St. Philip’s life.
1. How his years were like eternal years — so still, so swift, so calm, so like each other.
2. Full of crosses, yet no ripples, no rufflings, no sounds at all — it was too deep.
3. He was called an apostle — think of Roman roads and hurrying toil — he in his room for the most part, or in quiet churches, or leisurely pacing the streets of Rome: he stationary, and Rome flowed by him, touched at him as at a harbour, and went on all controlled by him.
4. Yet he was like an apostle in his love of the primitive times, and early Christian life; hence his simplicity, his unity — he kept aloof from the world, yet exercised an almost ubiquitous influence, through his simplicity and his love. People told him he might influence it more by leading a more public life. No! he knew his place; he had ascertained his calling; he was stationary, like eternity.
5. His unity was like eternity. He had only one thought, only one secret, only one way, only one work: to make God dearer to men, and that in direct ways, never indirect, however excellent. Hence his success, hence that remarkable, and it would have seemed so unlikely, oracle of the Church, which authoritatively conferred upon him the title of Apostle of Rome. Is not it strange? An apostle shy and hidden, keeping out of people’s way, shunning every kind and shape of notoriety; a light whose power was in its being well-nigh invisible. [ctd]

[Faber, Frederick William. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. Volume 1. “Mysteries and Festivals.” 3rd ed. London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [post 1866], pp. 375-6]

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