Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday of the 1st Week after Pentecost - 7th Day of the Novena to St Philip Neri

Around this hour, after midnight after the day of Corpus Christi in 1595, St Philip passed from this world to his everlasting reward.

From Fr Faber:


All God’s works come to an end, and for the most part their end is more beautiful than their beginning; and the end is often the beginning of a more heavenly and eternal beauty. How true this is of the deaths of the saints. [Cf. Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus. Ps. cxv. 15.]
The feeling in the morning all through the house, and then all through Rome, when St. Philip’s death was known. What it must have been to have lived with a saint!
I. As if the end of the world was come; what next? there is no next! He had grown into the habits of men’s lives; and yet, though warned in every way, they found themselves unprepared.
II. His ways, his words, his looks, his haunts, all grow vivid and into a unity to them; they begin to understand him.
III. Hence they want him most, now that he is gone; to whom are they to go to confession? How are they to do without his room, now become like a sacrament to them? He has been so quietly necessary to them, that it is incredible he should be gone. They feel as if they also should have died with him, for how can they go on?
IV. Yet, strange to say, a growing joy makes itself felt in their hearts. The joy comes from within, and without any apparent natural cause.
V. They see him on his bier in church, and as he gave light and perfume in his life, so he gives light and sheds sweet odours down on the souls of those who kneel there. It is the light of God, the sweet odour of Jesus Christ. [Cf. II Cor. ii. 15; Eph. v. 2.]
VI. Spiritually he will continue to give this light and to shed this perfume in our souls in an especial manner on his feast-day year by year until Jesus comes to Judge the world.
He has many places to look to this evening, many Oratories to bless with his paternal benediction; many hearts to touch with his love, many benefactors of his Congregations to enrich with especial graces; many souls to fill with his light and perfume; but the Blessed can do all these things quietly in God. I feel that his light and perfume are coming to us here. By the light we see God and the shores of the Eternal Land more plainly. By the perfume we lose more and more of our relish for earthly things and are secretly drawn to Jesus. O St. Philip, St. Philip! my Father and my Master! how fair is that light, and how peculiar is the fragrance of that perfume! Sweet light of St. Philip! oh, that we may always walk by it! Sweet perfume of St. Philip! oh, that it may always cling about our souls like a sensible presence of our Blessed Lord! Father, be not afraid, do not doubt we will come to thee in Paradise!

[Faber, Frederick William. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. Volume 1. “Mysteries and Festivals.” 3rd ed. London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [post 1866], pp. 373-5]

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