Saturday, May 17, 2008

Novena to St Philip Neri - 1st Day

Today I'm feeling a bit unwell, and taking things slowly...

However, today I must begin my Novena to St Philip Neri, and intend to do so, first of all, by praying each day the Litany of St Philip Neri, which may be found, together with Newman's Novena to him, here.

However, I also wish to post here, since they aren't otherwise online, some other items referring to Holy Father Philip, such as those of Fr Faber's own sermon notes that can be assembled to make up a Novena; and, since Faber's notes on St Philip only extend to eight in the book I consulted, I choose to begin with his sermon notes for Pentecost, since today is Whit Saturday, and also because these notes refer to St Philip's own unique communion with the Holy Ghost:

GOD A GOD OF FIRE. [Whitsunday, 1858]

I. I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled? [Ignem veni mittere in terram, et quid volo nisi ut accendatur?] — St. Luke xii. 49. How strange this sounds from Jesus, meek and humble of heart! [Cf. St. Matthew xi. 29.]
1. Compare the spirit of it with the night of the Incarnation and the night of Bethlehem.
2. Or the quiet fires in the hearts of Mary and Joseph in the holy House of Nazareth.
3. Or with the abysses of the abjection of the Passion.
4. Or with the secret apparitions of the beautiful Forty Days after the Resurrection.
5. Or with the passive, patient stillness of the Blessed Sacrament.
II. Yet the scene at Pentecost.
1. They wait, Mary in the midst, and the chosen few, for Him Who is to be so much to them that it was well that Jesus should go away. [Cf. Acts i. 13, 14; St John xvi. 7.]
2. They wait for Him, Who is eminently the Spirit of Jesus, and who will bring to mind all he said. [Cf. St. John xiv. 26.]
3. For Him with Whom Jesus in His Human Nature has now been ten days in heaven! Oh, the marvellous occupations of those ten days!
4. He comes to them in the vehement majesty of a mighty wind, and scatters Himself in showers of fire like cloven tongues. [Cf. Acts ii. 2, 3.]
5. So that Mary and the Apostles seemed to the multitudes to be drunk with new wine. [Cf. Acts ii. 13.]
III. God always a God of fire.
1. He calls Himself so: The Lord thy God is a consuming fire. Deut. iv. 24. [& Heb. xii. 29.]
2. He appeared as such to Isaias; as a whirlwind and enfolding fire to Ezekiel. [Cf. Ezech. i. 27.] St. John says (Apoc. i. 14), His eyes were as a flame of fire.
3. Burning Bush: in the inner folds of the desert, and ravines of Horeb, to Moses. [Ex. iii. 2.]
4. (Daniel vii. 9, 10.) His throne like flames; the wheels of it like burning fire, and a swift stream of fire issued forth from before Him: vision seen in the first year of Baltassar, King of Babylon.
5. In these sweet fires we are to dwell eternally. Isaias (xxxiii. 14) asks, which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings? and the answer is, he that walketh in justices.
IV. So our religion is a religion of fire.
1. It was the one will of Jesus to kindle this fire on earth.
2. The Holy Ghost is never otherwise in the heart than as fire.
3. The fires of the Eternal Father are to be our everlasting home.
4. What manner of fire should we have then?
Fiery love, fiery faith, fire consuming self, fire burning the world out of our hearts, fire likely to make men think us drunk or mad.
5. What is the case in reality? Do we burn? Are we vehement? Do our hearts throb and beat tumultuously with the love of God? Do we understand that lifelong broken heart of our great father St. Philip, burst with the ball of fire, which was the Holy Ghost? — Oh if our religion be a moral indifference, a calm bargaining with God, a prudential speculation, a discreet fear of hell, a frigid propriety, a servile keeping of the letter of God’s law, — it may be a religion — but is it the religion written in the Bible? Is it the fire which it was our dearest Lord’s one will to kindle?
Oh that the Divine Person would come down upon us with His fire to-day, would break our hearts with the magnificent excesses of the love of God, would burn us with the pain of the great pleasure of His fire! Sweet, gentle, plaintive, vehement, fiery, enthusiast Spirit! — Oh that He would so light His flames in our hearts that from this hour our whole life should be nothing but an unbroken Pentecost!

[Faber, Frederick William. Notes on Doctrinal and Spiritual Subjects. Volume 1. “Mysteries and Festivals.” 3rd ed. London: Burns & Oates, n.d. [post 1866], pp. 103-5]

This certainly makes for a good examination of conscience!

Furthermore, it corresponds to the heartfelt plea of these chants, readings, and collects used at the Ember Saturday Mass today - or rather, to what should be felt in the heart when praying them:

The charity of God is diffused throughout our hearts, alleluia, by the indwelling of His Spirit in us, alleluia. ... [Introit, from Romans v, 5 (which is also read as part of today's Epistle, and is used also for the Feast of St Philip)]

Mentibus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, Spiritum Sanctum benignus infunde: cujus et sapientia conditi sumus, et providentia gubernamur. Per... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti...

(Into our minds, we beseech, Lord, the Holy Spirit benignly pour: by Whose wisdom we were created and by Whose providence we are governed. Thro'... in the unity of the same Holy Ghost...)

I will pour out My Spirit over all flesh... And moreover over my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour out my Spirit... [From the 1st Lesson - Joel ii, 28-32]

Illo nos igne, quæsumus, Domine, Spiritus Sanctus inflammet: quem Dominus noster Jesus Christus misit in terram, et voluit vehementer accendi: Qui tecum vivit... in unitate ejusdem...

(May the Holy Ghost inflame us with that fire, we beseech, Lord, that our Lord Jesus Christ sent to earth, and vehemently willed to enkindle: Who with Thee liveth... in the unity of the same... [Cf. St Luke xii, 49])

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love. [Alleluia verse after the fourth lesson]

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte cælitus
lucis tuæ radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animæ,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in æstu temperies
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.
Amen. Alleluja.

I try to pray to the Holy Spirit in these terms, and will redouble my efforts!

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