Saint Philip Neri

Here in England the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ has been transferred to the following Sunday


Saint Philip Neri was educated by the Dominicans in Rome.  As a layman he established a confraternity to care for the poor and the sick.  He considered the life of a hermit but was ordained a diocesan priest in 1551 and became a popular confessor and spiritual director.  Pope Gregory XIV tried to make Philip a cardinal but he declined.  In 1575 he established the Congregation of the Oratory – a group of priests dedicated to preaching and teaching.  Philip died in 1597 and was canonised in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV.  Saint Philip is the patron saint of Rome.

We all remember being at Mass somewhere and sitting near a young child that was inconsolable.  Brother, sister, parents, each in turn tried to distract the child with personal attention and toys, yet in the end the only thing the baby wanted was to be fed.  As adults we know that when we are hungry we sometimes have to wait.  But a small child can’t wait and sometimes everyone becomes aware of his needs when he starts to cry.

Saint Peter picks up on this universal behaviour of infants, and says that just as babies are anxious to be nourished, so we too should direct our needs to the Holy Spirit, who delights to fill us and make us grow and be strong.  Just as infants identify their parents as the source of all they need, so we need to acknowledge God as the source and the fulfilment of all our needs.

The blind man Bartimaeus calls out: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”  Like the young child in church he demanded and called out.  He knew what he needed.  Everyone around him heard his request, but when they tried to silence him he only cried out the louder.  He wanted to see.  And in compassion Jesus reaches out to heal him.

We may ask ourselves if our prayers reflect our total confidence in God’s providence?  Do we call out daily to be fed in order to “taste and see how good the Lord is”?  Do we ask to see with the eyes of faith?  Let us pray today and every day for the confidence to know that our needs will always be met by a loving, generous God who just wants us to ask.

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