Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday of the 1st Week after Pentecost (St Bernardine of Siena) - 4th Day of the Novena to St Philip Neri

As St Bernardine preached, we ought ever call upon the most sweet and salvific name of Jesus, for there is no other Name under heaven given unto men whereby we may be saved - whereas, to this Most Holy Name, every knee shall bow:

Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus.

(Jesu, Jesu, be to me Jesus, that is, Saviour.)


For the Novena to St Philip Neri -another saint who never tired of repeating the Holy Name of Jesus - from Fr Faber:


I. All saints seem to have given scandal in their day, St. Philip is no exception.
1. This taking scandal at saints is an evidence of corruption.
2. It was the same with our Blessed Lord. And the world never learns; it would take the same amount of scandal, both in amount and kind, if He came again.
3. That in which each saint gives scandal, is his characteristic peculiarity; and in that will be found to consist the eminence of his holiness and sanctity in its earlier stages, not very easily distinguishable from eccentricity.
II. What people took and take exception to in St. Philip is his liberty of spirit and absence of method.
1. As a saint in his own life.
(1) He was long years in Rome and yet joined no religious order.
(2) He took all his steps as direction and obedience suggested, but even then formed no great or definite plans.
(3) He was ready to give up his works at any moment.
(4) His own spirituality was singularly free, and left to God’s action on him day by day.
2. As a founder and superior.
(1) The way his Congregation grew up piecemeal.
(2) He would not let his subjects have their time to themselves.
(3) He would not have vows in it.
(4) He made the separation of each house essential, that they might not band together for any common end, or to forward any definite views.
(5) His dislike of attachment to their work in his subjects.
3. As a master of the spiritual life.
(1) Absence of set rules and methods; each day was to supply its own materials.
(2) His penitents were to keep in their own spheres and at their social duties.
(3) His little interference with their external things.
(4) His spirit of prayer so full of liberty as to method.
(5) His variety of direction without any recognisable technical peculiarity of his own.
III. Two schools of holiness in the Church, the school of captivity and the school of liberty. St. Philip, like St. Francis of Sales, singularly of the latter.
1. It came from his immense devotion to the Person of the Holy Ghost. Docility to inspirations was to him instead of rule.
2. This made him immensely interior. God was his one demand in himself and in others.
3. His horror of mere formality and habit, or woodenness, or anything cut and dry. This made him negligent, sometimes startlingly so, of externals.
Both systems are holy; I do not say that one is in itself better than the other; both are from God. But I bless God that He has given to His Church the system of liberty as well as that of holy captivity; because I feel for myself that I never could be spiritual on the captivity system, whereas I hope that I may some day or other attain to spirituality on the other system.
II. Living with St. Philip daily.
1. Meeting his clear quiet eye every morning, feeling that we were seen through, that nothing was unnoticed, nothing unremembered.
2. Feeling how easily and also how deeply pained he could be, how he revolted from all insincerity and pretences.
3. Made uncomfortable by feeling that we had weaknesses, he had not.
4. In good times we should enjoy it, in bad chafe under it.
5. His sternness would grow on our notice — and yet his sweetness be ever gaining more empire.
6. Why should such a man attract? Because we have all a distrust of self at bottom — we do not like standing alone — life is a grave thing — we like to lean on some one of whom we are sure — and in sorrow and such like times he was all sweetness and support.

[Faber, Frederick William. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. Volume 1. “Mysteries and Festivals.” 3rd ed. London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [post 1866], pp. 366-9]

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