Today, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Philip Neri, a Saint who slowly but surely became one of my closest spiritual fathers. His humility, wit, and cheer were introduced to me by way of my own patron, Saint John Henry Newman who considered Saint Philip Neri to be his own spiritual hero and patron. Known as the “apostle of Rome,” Philip spent a lifetime ministering to the wandering hearts of Rome, which at the time was deeply embedded in corruption.
One Pentecost, at the age of twenty-nine, Philip was praying in the catacombs when a globe of light entered into his mouth and rested in his heart, overwhelming his body with the love of the Lord. As he fell to the ground, he yelled out in prayer that it was overbearing and he could not handle any more, for he felt he may die of joy. Throughout the rest of his life, he would experience heart palpitations in moments of consolation, although he felt no pain. Remarkably, his autopsy found he had two broken ribs and that his ribs were peculiarly curved due to the enlargement of his heart.
Saint Philip Neri’s intimacy with the Lord has been unforgettable for me. I am constantly reminded of the literal warmth that radiated from his chest, of his commitment to those in poverty, and of the hours he joyfully spent each day in the confessional hearing confessions. I am moved by his loyalty to his community, to Rome even in its shambles, and to the Lord Whom he loved ardently to the end.
Because of his testimony, I am a woman who desires deeper intimacy with Jesus—and for that, I am so grateful.
Saint Philip Neri, intercede for us always, that our hearts would be enlarged and possessed by the Holy Spirit. Pray that we would encounter the intimate love of Jesus in a new way today.He loved ardently to the end. // @sarahericksonn Click To Tweet
Holy Spirit, we give our hearts to You.
Thank you for being here.
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