Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trinity Sunday - 2nd Day of Novena to St Philip Neri

Glory to Thee, Trinity! - and to captives, liberty.

(See my earlier post regarding the Trinitarians.)

Today I again quote from Fr Faber as part of the lead-up to St Philip's feast:


All lives of men are beautiful in their changes and vicissitudes, all full of romance and poetry: or like various music, a quiet pastoral, a stirring march, a pathetic drama, a touching elegy, or strains of mutable, fitful sweetness. Such is man’s life as outward Providence ordains it: sin mars it. We are concerned now with a life lived in the sixteenth century in the great city of Rome, which with manifold vibrations is working still on earth.
I. St. Philip’s Picture.
1. The aged priest for the most part ashy pale, not foreign-looking to us.
2. With a soft mellow sweetness as of one to be familiar with, yet with a sternness underneath as of one not to take liberties with.
3. Very simple and childlike, yet with a depth as of one who knew secrets and had seen visions. We do not exactly know why, but as we look on him we think of St. Joseph.
II. The Boyhood.
1. He was born in beautiful Florence, on the eve of St. Mary Magdalen. The gravity and sweetness of his childhood, which yet was not without traits of humour and fun and geniality.
2. Gaeta — the cleft mountain — the inheritance renounced.
III. The beginnings at Rome.
1. He was drawn there by instinct, and lived there at first as a tutor in poverty and silence.
2. In catacombs, and studying in moonlit porticoes.
3. Receiving pilgrims and visiting hospitals.
4. Priesthood — St. Girolamo — the Seven Churches — beginnings of the Oratory — his penitents.
IV. The sort of life.
1. Absence of all singularity.
2. Miracles daily, and ecstasies almost continually.
3. Apostolate of conversation and supernatural outbreaks of devotion.
4. He silently took possession of all Rome as a perfume fills a room.
5. After eighty years he dies. And this life so beautiful on earth was quietly translated to heaven, to be continued still more beautifully — and on earth houses rose up all over the world to catch the image of that life, and to try to live it over again, and everywhere loving hearts gather round these houses and feel instinctively a joy and a security in belonging to St. Philip.

[Faber, Frederick William. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. Volume 1. “Mysteries and Festivals.” 3rd ed. London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [post 1866], pp. 363-4]

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