Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri Cong. Orat.(1515-1595)

Thought for the Day – 26 May – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy:  the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, Philip abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God.   After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination.   The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends, from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals.   He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality.   Initially, they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.

At the urging of his confessor, Philip was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor himself, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke.   He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents, in a room above the church.   He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of Philip’s followers became priests and lived together in community.   This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded.   A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers and composed music for the services. The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns!

Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day.   He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself.   His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.

After spending a day hearing confessions and receiving visitors, Philip Neri suffered a hemorrhage and died on the feast of Corpus Christi in 1595.   He was  Beatified in 1615 and Canonised in 1622.   Three centuries later, Cardinal John Henry Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory in London.

Many people wrongly feel that such an attractive and jocular personality as Philip’s cannot be combined with an intense spirituality.   Philip’s life melts our rigid, narrow views of piety.   His approach to sanctity was truly catholic, all-embracing and accompanied by a good laugh.   Philip always wanted his followers to become not less but more human through their striving for holiness.

St Philip Neri, Please Pray for us!st philip neri - pray for us - 26 may 2018



Quote/s of the Day – 26 May – “Mary’s Month! – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Quote/s of the Day – 26 May “Mary’s Month! – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

“To petition Our Blessed Lady in our most urgent need,
repeat, after the fashion of the Rosary,
“Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.”to petition our lady in our most urgent need - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

Cast yourself into the arms of God
and be very sure that if He wants anything of you,
He will fit you for the work and give you strength.cast yourself into the arms - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

First let a little love,
find entrance into their hearts
and the rest will follow.

The cross is the gift God gives to His friends.

The greatness of our love of God,
must be tested by the desire we have,
of suffering for His love.first let a little love, the corss is the gift, the greatness of our love of god - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

The true servant of God,
acknowledges no other country
but heaven.the true servant of god - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

At communion we ought to ask 
for the remedy of the vice to which 
we feel ourselves most may 2017

The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.

the-best-way-to-prepare-for-death-st-philip-neri-26 may 2017

Obtain humility through sincere and frequent confession.obtain humility through sincere and frequent confession - st philip neri - 26 may 2018

WELL! And when shall we begin to do good?”

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)well and when shall we = st philip neri - 26 may 2018





Our Morning Offering – 26 May “Mary’s Month!” – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Our Morning Offering – 26 May “Mary’s Month!” – The Memorial of St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Mary, I Love You
By St Philip Neri (1515-1595)

Mary, I love you.
Mary, make me live in God,
with God and for God.
Draw me after you, holy mother.
O Mary, may your children persevere in loving you.
Mary, Mother of God and mother of mercy,
pray for me and for the departed.
Mary, holy Mother of God, be our helper.
In every difficulty and distress,
come to our aid, O Mary.
O Queen of Heaven,
lead us to eternal life with God.
Mother of God, remember me,
and help me always to remember you.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.
Pray for us,
O holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray to Jesus for me.
Amenmary I love you by st philip neri - 26 may 2918

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 26 May – St Philip Neri (1515-1595) “The Third Apostle of Rome”

Saint of the Day – 26 May – St Philip Neri Cong. Orat. (1515-1595) Priest and Founder, Mystic, Missionary of Charity known as  “The Third Apostle of Rome”, after Saints Peter and Paul, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory.   Patronages – Rome, Gravina, Italy, archdiocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy Mandaluyong, US Special Forces, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, Piczon Vill, Catbalogan, laughter, humour, joy.   St Philip Neri was extraordinarily touched by the divine presence and radiated such joy that he was moved to share it with all he met.St. Philip Neri by Giandomenico Tiepolo

St Philip made a life for himself in Rome, becoming a priest at the age of 35 and becoming known as one who had a particular apostolate for giving young men spiritual direction using unconventional ways to challenge the vain young men of the Eternal City. Once a man came to St Philip Neri and asked him if he thought wearing a hair shirt was a good penance.   St Philip replied that it would be a good penance if he wore the hair shirt outside his nice clothes.

St Philip had a long history of playing jokes on a distinguished friend of his, Cesare Baronius, who would become a cardinal.   St Philip would send Baronius shopping for wine, with the strict instruction that he was to taste every wine in the shop until he found the right one.   After taking such great trouble sampling many types of wine, St Philip would tell Baronius casually that he only required half a bottle of wine.

He was greatly unsettled when many Italians started leaving the Church because of a bogus and damaging history of the Church was doing the rounds.   He commissioned Baronius to write a factual history of the Catholic Church and when Baronius would give him drafts to read, St Philip would flippantly throw them over his shoulder.   St Philip didn’t allow anyone in his circle to take themselves too seriously.   It took Baronius 30 years to write a true history of the Church, which was entitled, Ecclesiastical Annals.neri 2

The saint’s best-known achievement is that he founded the Roman Congregation of the Oratory.   Key to his success was that he used humour as his medicine.   He may have made others laugh, from going around Rome with half his beard shaved off, doing humorous dances or setting penances for young men that involved them making fools of themselves in public.   But he needed jokes more badly than those around him.   He was said to have had an all consuming love of God and in order to concentrate before offering Mass, St Philip would need to hear jokes or read humorous anecdotes which distracted him just a little from total absorption in the glory of God, so that he was able to concentrate on the task at hand, which was to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.Joan_Llimona_-_San_Felipe_Neri_en_la_consagración_de_la_Santa_Misa

He had a phenomenal capacity for love – his heart would hammer so strongly against his chest that it shook furniture.   His facility to love so greatly was received on the eve of Pentecost, 1544, when St Philip saw a vision of a ball of fire enter through his mouth and go to his heart.   Straightaway he was filled with an intense divine love and fell to the floor, crying out, “Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more!”Guercino_San_Filippo_Neri._San_Marino.JPG

St Philip Neri is the patron saint of joy and with this in mind, he could become a powerful intercessor for people who have periods of feeling down.   We pray a lot to St Valentine and St Raphael – so that these saints may find us romantic partners who will love us.   But we might do well to pray to St Philip Neri that he inspires us with the ability to cherish others and to be filled with the joy of love…   Perhaps most acutely for our selfie age, he could become an intercessor for people who agonise over how they look, who spend all their free time finding flattering selfies to post on Facebook and fear that that narcissism is beginning to rule their lives.

More on St Philip’s life: Philip Neri by Alessandro Algardi

The work of the Oratory continues in Rome and across the world today.   The Oratorians take no formal vows but promise to live in charity with one another.   Some 500 priests serve more than 70 oratories around the world today.   Cardinal Blessed John Henry Newman and St Francis de Sales were both members of this order.

Philip was always in touch with the supernatural—people said that they noticed his face radiating light and he often fell into deep, ecstatic trances while celebrating Mass.   In fact, his normal congregations got used to beginning Mass with him, then leaving after the “Lamb of God” to let him experience his rapture and return two hours later to finish the liturgy and receive Communion.

Philip died of a massive heart attack on this date in 1595, which was the feast of Corpus Christi.   His relics rest in the reliquary chapel in the Basilica and the Shrine contains the sketch below, which depicts him conversing with someone on the streets in Rome.philip_neri__snite_

St Philip Neri, your body and soul were touched with divine love and you shared it with with all others, pray for us!neri 4


Quote/s of the Day – 19 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Eastertide “Speaking of: Becoming a Saint”

Quote/s of the Day – 19 April – Thursday of the Third Week of Eastertide

“Speaking of:  Becoming a Saint”

“Think well.
Speak well.
Do well.
These three things,
through the mercy of God,
will make a man go to Heaven.”

St Camillus de Lellis (1550-1614)think well speak well do well-st camillus de lellis

“He who wishes for anything but Christ,
does not know what he wishes;
he who asks for anything but Christ,
does not know what he is asking;
he who works and not for Christ,
does not know what he is doing.”

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)he who wishes for anything - st philip neri - 19 april 2018

“The great saint may be said,
to mix all his thoughts with thanks.
All goods look better,
when they look like gifts.”

G K Chesterton (1874-1936)the great saint - g k chesterton - 19 april 2018 speaking of becoming a saint

“Enemy-occupied territory –
that is what this world is.
Christianity is the story of how,
the rightful king has landed,
you might say landed in disguise
and is calling us all, to take part,
in a great campaign of sabotage.”

C S Lewis (1898-1963)enemy occupied territory - c s lewis - 19 april - speaking of becoming a saint

“What people don’t realise, 
is how much Christianity costs.
They think faith is a big electric blanket,
when of course, it is the cross.”

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)what people don't realise = flannery o'connor - speaking of becoming a saint - 19 april 2018

“Take courage!
Fix your gaze on our saints.”

Pope Benedict XVItake courage - pope benedict - speaking of becoming a saint - 19 april 2018

“Take the Crucifixion personally.”take the crucifixion - fr mike schmitz - 19 april 2018

“The road to holiness
goes through your neighbour.”

Father Mike Schmitzthe road to holiness - fr mike schmitz - 19 april 2018



Posted in CATHOLIC Quotes, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on TEMPTATION, SAINT of the DAY, SPEAKING of .....

Quote/s for the Day – 1 February – The Memorial of Bl Benedict Daswa (1946-1990) Martyr – The First South African-born to be Beatified

Quote/s for the Day – 1 February – The Memorial of Bl Benedict Daswa (1946-1990) Martyr – The First South African-born to be Beatified.

Would it not have been so simple for Blessed Benedict to pay his share of the required amount to hire the Sangona (Witch Doctor) to “sniff out” the witch who caused the storms?    It was not a huge amount of money required by each resident.   The temptation to do so must have been quite appealing but he refused and tried to explain that the storms were a natural phenomenon.   He did, however, pay the ultimate price for his fidelity, with his blood.

“Speaking of Temptation”

“Virtue is nothing, without the trial of temptation,
for there is no conflict, without an enemy,
no victory, without strife.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Churchvirtue is nothing - st pope leo the great - 1 feb 2018

“There are in truth, three states of the converted,
the beginning, the middle and the perfection.
In the beginning, they experience the charms of sweetness;
in the middle, the contests of temptation;
and in the end, the fullness of perfection.”

St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Churchthere are in truth - st pope gregory the great - 1 feb 2018

“Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer.
When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us,
He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice.
Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation
to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God,
that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.”

St Philip Neri (1515-1595)do not grieve - st philip neri - 1 feb 2018

“The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind
and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven
hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man,
is tempted in many ways.
Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just.
Often we do not know what we can stand
but temptation shows us what we are.
Above all, we must be especially alert against
the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily
conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind
and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.”

St Francis De Sales (1567-1622) Doctor of the Churchthe beginning of all temptation - st francis de sales - 1 feb 2018

“It often happens that we pray God to deliver us
from some dangerous temptation and yet,
God does not hear us but permits the temptation
to continue troubling us.   In such a case, let us understand,
that God permits even this for our greater good.
When a soul in temptation recommends itself to God
and by His aid resists, O how it then advances in perfection.”

“He who trusts himself is lost.
He who trusts in God can do all things.

St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) Doctor of the Churchit often happens - st alphonsus - 1 feb 2018

“When tempted, invoke your Angel.
He is more eager to help you, than you are to be helped!
Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him –
he trembles and flees, at the sight of your Guardian Angel.”

St John Bosco (1815-1888)when tempted invoke your angel - st john bosco - 1 feb 2018

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 4 November – St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584)

Saint of the Day – 4 November – St Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal, Doctor of Theology, Civil and Canon Law, Reformer, Founder of Seminaries.  He is known as the “Father of the Clergy”.   Born Count Carlo Borromeo on the morning of Wednesday 2 October 1538 in the castle at Aron, diocese of Novara, Italy and he died at  8:30pm on 3 November 1584 of a fever at Milan, Italy.  His will named the Hospital Maggiore of Milan as his heir.  He is buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Milan – the famous “Duomo Milan”.   His relics were transferred to a chapel built by Count Renato Borromeo in piazza San Maria Podone, Milan on 21 September 1751.   St Charles was Beatified in 1602 by Pope Clement VIII and Canonised on 1 November 1610 by Pope Paul V.   Patronages – • against abdominal pain• against colic• against intestinal disorders• against stomach diseases• against ulcers• apple orchards• bishops• catechists• catechumens• seminarians• spiritual directors• spiritual leaders• starch makers• 3 dioceses• 3 Italian cities.   Attributes – • cardinal wearing a cord around his neck; it symbolizes the cord or halter worn around his neck during the plague of Milan, Italy in 1575
• bishop wearing a cord around his neck • cleric curing the sick
• Holy Communion  • one hand raised in blessing, thus recalling his work during the plague • coat of arms bearing the word Humilitas (Humility) his emblem.


Count Carlo/Charles was born into the highest echelons of Renaissance life.   The nephew of Pius IV, he was destined for great things in the Church.   His successful career demonstrates the positive possibilities of Renaissance political life.   Given every chance at success by his lineage and connections, he seized each opportunity and turned it to the service of God, the Church and his people.   While many with similar chances squandered their advantages, Charles showed that such assets should not be guiltily eschewed or be a cause of embarrassment, so long as they are put to the service of the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

st charles borromeo - as a child.

Charles was prepared for his later career by his aristocratic responsibilities, becoming a skilled administrator and diplomat at a very young age.   At the same time he tirelessly pursued his studies, becoming a Doctor utriusque Iuris (a Doctor of both Civil and Canon Law) at 21 years old.   With the accession of his uncle to the throne of Peter, he was called to Rome and immediately was created a cardinal-deacon.   Such a position was advantageous because he became one of the closest associates of the pope, with all the dignity of a cardinal but without the responsibility for care of souls.   He reformed the city of Rome and the Papal States thoroughly and was given increasing responsibilities. The papal curia was purified by his example of holiness and sobriety.   He cultivated the friendship of other saints, such as Philip Neri and together they provided the pattern for a renewed curia.   He gathered a circle of learned friends around him and sponsored literary, academic and musical activity, being in particular a patron of Palestrina.YOUNG st charles borromeo - my snip

For his handling of the delicate negotiations needed for keeping the Council of Trent from falling apart, Charles was awarded with the see of Milan.   He began to shift his focus as well, for he had experienced a deep spiritual conversion as the result of the untimely death of his elder brother and dedicated the rest of his life entirely to the good of his people and his Church.   Being one of the most famous and largest sees in Christendom, Milan was a microcosm that displayed both the grandeur and the corruption of Renaissance Catholicism.

Charles set about immediately implementing the reforming decrees of Trent.   Had other bishops swiftly implemented the decrees, as Charles had, the damage from the Reformation may have been mightily checked.   In any case, he found a diocese filled to the brim with time-servers, beneficed layabouts and outright corrupt and vile clergy.   He set out for a purification.  He set the tone with his mighty motto Humilitas and he began to demonstrate one of the most powerful roles in all of Church history:  that of a holy bishop.    Charles knew that the mission of the Church to convert the nations and to win back the Protestants must begin at home.   The Church must be reformed from within, before she could bear effective testimony without.

He was convinced that the heart of the problem was the abuses caused, intentionally or not, by ignorant clergy.   Corruption was comparatively easy to root up but the wholesale re-education of the clergy was a project for generations.   To this end he set up the massive seminary of San Pietro Martire on the site of that saint’s murder in Seveso.   It was to be the prototype of the professionalisation of the clergy that would set a pattern for the rest of the Catholic world, one of the most significant developments in the last 500 years of Catholicism.   He knew that care of priests was essential before the laity could be properly educated and cultivated.   Here is a link to Pope Francis’s visit to the St Charles Borromeo Seminary  –


Doctrine was at the heart of his pastoral ministry.   Trent had codified dogma and made it the basis of its reforming decrees.    Charles carried this message that the truth itself was the best foundation of pastoral ministry.   He reformed recalcitrant monks and nuns, calling them back to fidelity to their oaths and vows, rather than tolerating their laxity. Indeed one decadent member of the order of the Humiliati even tried to assassinate him at prayer, firing a point blank shot that miraculously left him nearly unharmed.   He himself was one of the saints in charge of the Roman Catechism and the founder of the concept of Sunday school for lay children, educating them in the rudiments of the Catholic faith.   He brought to the streets of Milan, Truth incarnated as a person, both in the Blessed Sacrament and in his life of imitating Christ.   There was no divorce between his pastoral and doctrinal responsibilities, such a novel idea would have been treated by him as the worst form of heresy.   For Charles, Christ the Merciful was Incarnate Truth itself.

He retained a simple devotion to Our Lady of Loreto and ministered personally to the plague victims of the city, spending his personal fortune for their relief and walking barefoot in sackcloth and ashes in penance for them before God.   Yet at the same time he never forgot his office as a prince of the Church and the Successor of the Apostles.   He repeatedly challenged the secular authorities who sought to circumscribe the liberties of the Church.   He personally went to Santa Maria della Scala, to receive their obedience after they had appealed to the secular authority over him.   He came in full pontifical regalia, bearing the crucifix, and pronounced a public excommunication at their door.   A supporter of the disobedient church fired a shot at him, which was blocked only by the Cross of Christ he bore.   He tirelessly traveled to the rural areas of his diocese, especially the Alpine valleys that suffered under heresy.   To the peripheries he went—areas ignored by his noble predecessors—but Charles did not go there to confirm the people in their error, he came to bring the freedom of Truth.   He took his duty of visitation seriously, removing the corrupt, correcting the erring and ensuring the proper celebration of his beloved Ambrosian rite.St Charles Borromeo giving Communion to plague victims.2by caspar franz sambachSt Charles Borromeo giving Communion to plague victimsst charles Borromeo - Pierre Mignard - holy comm to plague victims

He was a friend and confrere to many of the saints of the Catholic Reform, St Francis Borgia, St Philip Neri, Bl Bartholomew of Braga and many others, having a special predilection for the English priests who would later be martyred.   His solicitude for the liturgy was exceptional, knowing it to be the key to the spirituality and doctrinal fidelity of the laity.   Indeed, once he wanted to bless a cemetery but abandoned the idea when he discovered he did not have the requisite pontifical vestments.   The service of God demanded the very best at all times.   On his deathbed, he forbade the saying of Holy Mass in his room, considering it unfit for the sacrifice of the Mass and insisted on being vested in Rochet and Stole for the reception of his Viaticum.   This was no violation of Humilitasbut rather its highest expression:  utter, complete and humble service to his position as the successor of St Ambrose.   He lived simply, devoutly and penitently but when he executed his office he bore the weight of tradition, history and doctrine.Meeting between Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Philip Neri

Charles was beloved by his people of Milan and was respected by all throughout Europe, being rapidly canonised in the year 1610.   His life demonstrates the fallacy implied by the words of a contemporary cardinal, who declared that mercy and doctrine were equal parts of revelation.  Charles would have known that such a statement was nonsensical and opposed to the definitions of Trent (and Vatican II for that matter).   He would gently correct his colleague.   Mercy is part of the doctrine of the Church but, more to the point, the whole and complete doctrine of the Church is mercy for a fallen humanity. Truth is mercy; error is slavery.    St Charles demonstrates for us that the Church needs reform in every age but it must be a reform that results in a re-conformation to the Face of her Founder.    May the example of the holy bishop of the Counter Reform (who kept an image of Sts Thomas More and John Fisher on his person) animate those who would make novel arguments contrary to the faith of Christ.

St Charles Borromeo, Father of the Clergy, pray for us all!St-Charles-BorromeoSt Charels Borromeo2TheVisionOfSt.CharlesBorromeo