Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Let me get through today"

It has been a while since we’ve had a post about a saint, so here is a short bio from americancatholic.org on the saint the Church celebrates today: St. Philip Neri (1515-1595). St. Philip’s quote is especially apt for us.

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, he 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 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, he was ordained priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, 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 his 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! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory.)
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.

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.

Philip Neri prayed, "Let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow.”


At 11:03 AM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

I was amused to note that today's Responsorial Psalm starts out with "A bountiful rain you showered down, O God..."

Boy, has he ever this morning!

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

This is completely off topic, and maybe a question for which I should know the answer, but I've been thinking about that banner in church that says “Mary conceived without sin.” Now, I understand that she was literally "conceived" in the normal way, but at what point did she become conceived without sin. Was her original sin negated and/or how is one, other than Jesus, literally“ conceived” without sin?

I also read an article that talked about the ark being the holy vessel that held the old covenant and Mary was the holy vessel that held the new covenant. I never thought of her that way- it's pretty cool.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger fran said...


I thought yours was a great question and rather than refer to a website, I thought I would print as much as could here, because it is really beautiful.

Mary Conceived Without Sin - The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

"The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, as solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854, teaches that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.

This means that Mary, through the merits of her Son and Savior, Jesus Christ, received a special grace so that she might become the spiritual mother of all who come to believe in her divine Son.

Mary's Immaculate Conception should be seen as the way God wanted all of us to come into the world: in the state of sanctifying grace and free from original sin, just like Adam and Eve.

God's original plan was for all humans to begin their existence in the family of God in the state of sanctifying grace. It was only as a result of Original Sin that we are now conceived in a state deprived of sanctifying grace. Mary, rather than being the exception, fulfills in a real sense the original intention of what God wanted for all His human children: to be members of His family from the first moment of their existence.

Scriptural Evidence

"At the Annunciation, Saint Gabriel the Archangel greets Mary with the words, "Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you." The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. This word conveys a sense of completion and perfection that was already present at the time of the Annunciation. Mary's holiness was not only as complete as possible, but it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward.

From this it follows that:

the Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived in the womb of her mother without the stain of original sin. The essence of original sin consisits in the lack of sanctifying grace. Mary was preserved from this defect; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace.

My Son, the Doctor

As Blessed Duns Scotus, known as the "Marian Doctor," explained, "Mary would greatly have needed Christ as Redeemer, for she would have contracted original sin by reason of human propagation unless she had been preserved through the grace of the Mediator." In other words, what we received as a "remedy" through the Sacrament of Baptism, Mary by a special grace received by way of "inoculation" through the merits of the Divine Physician.

Mary's Immaculate Conception, then, is a biblical teaching that shows forth the wonders of the salvation offered to us in Christ. This most beautiful handiwork of God - Mary - at the very moment of her conception, was preserved from sin by the Cross of her beloved Son. If the saving events of Calvary can be applied to someone 2,000 years after the event, then the eternal God can apply those same merits to Mary to preserve her from the ravages of original sin, and thus prepare her as a more fitting tabernacle for the Son of God."

source: "Catholics United for the Faith," Proclaiming Christ to Every Generation

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

I guess my follow-up question would have to be, if Mary was immaculately cnceived, would it mean that her mother would also have been sinless so that Mary wuld not inherit sin?

I guess, in a nutshell, I don't understand the Immaculate Conception.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

Speaking of Palestrina, here is the Agnus Dei from his Missa Breva:


At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the qoute. I put it on my mirror so I remember it each day. That way of thinking is something so important to me right now. It is perfect and timely- thanks!


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