Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Festa di Pippo Buono

To keep the feast of San Philippo Neri, Pippo Buono (Phil Black, "Good Pip", as we would say in English) – joy!  And a joy it was to go to Mass this evening to honour the saint and worship God Who made him.  I had abundant lights at Communion, reminding me that from one so overwhelmingly blessed as to receive the Lord, what great things ought be expected.  

St Philip, with the lily of purity afore him, is shewn at the footpace of the altar in Mass-vestments of red, signifying his priestly focus upon the Mass and his entire devotion to the Holy Ghost, seen (flanked by angels) illapsing upon him

St. Philip, inflamed with the love of God and a desire of praising him worthily, after offering him all the affections of his soul, and the homages of all his creatures, seeing in their poverty and inability nothing equal to his infinite greatness, comforted himself in finding in the Mass a means of glorifying him by a victim worthy of himself.  This he offered to him with inexpressible joy, devotion, and humility, to praise and honor his holy name, to be a sacrifice of perfect thanksgiving for his infinite benefits, of expiation for sin, and of impetration to obtain all graces.  Hence in this sacrifice he satiated the ardent desires of his zeal, and found such an excess of overflowing love and sweetness in the closest union of his soul with his divine Redeemer.
(Taken from Vol. V of “The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints” by the Rev. Alban Butler, the 1864 edition published by D. & J. Sadlier, & Company)


The Postcommunion of this feast is entirely apposite: 

Cælestibus, Domine, pasti deliciis, quæsumus, ut * beati Philippi [confessoris tui, meritis et] imitatione * semper eadem, per quæ veraciter vivimus, appetamus.  Per...
(Fed, Lord, with celestial delicacies, we beseech that * by the imitation [and merits] of blessed Philip [thy confessor] * we may ever desire the same, by which we truly live.  Through...)

Interestingly enough, St Philip himself often prayed this prayer!  For, saving only the insertion of the words "by the imitation [and merits] of blessed Philip [Thy confessor]", which I have enchased with asterisks, it is the Postcommunion of the 6th Sunday after Epiphany – nowadays used in the Ordinary Form for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  This prayer is thus very ancient and expresses the doctrine of Holy Church with sureness.  At how many altars, for well over twelve hundred years, has this been prayed!

How greatly St Philip's heart dilated at these words of truth... how ought my heart likewise expand.  For in receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion, we partake of the true Manna by which we may expect life without end, beginning even now in this world.  I recall the famed and mysterious Mass of St Philip, celebrated in private as he grew older, that he might without embarrassment give full vent to his mystic love of Christ – a Mass lasting 3 hours, his Communion taking up most of the time; the saint could be heard to whisper in awe when drinking from the chalice, "It's real Blood".

The words in square brackets are omitted in the Novus Ordo, which is usually allergic to the mention of merit, presumably as "unecumenical", meaning, not pleasing to Protestants (thank God the editorial committee didn't remove reference to the saints' merits from the Canon), and which, in the interests of brevity, omits reference to non-martyrs as confessors, especially as the category of "confessor", however ancient, no longer exists as a separate Common.

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