Blog Post - May 26th
S. Philip Neri| Pope S. Eleutherius| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
St. Philip Neri
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 (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, he was ordained a 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 three centuries later.)
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."
Also, in the Latin Calendar there is commemorated today Pope S. Eleutherius, Martyr. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
Pope St. Eleutherius was a Greek, son of Habundius, born in Nicopolis, part of what is now Greece, some time after 100 AD. His name means "frank, honest, free-spirited". Whether that is his real name or a description of the man is unknown. Eleutherius was Bishop of Rome from about 175 to May 24, 189 AD. It is said that he was martyred at that time.
Eleutherius, according to Hegesippus, the first Christian writer, was a deacon under Pope St. Anicetus and he stayed on after the death of that pope (c. 166). He succeeded Pope St. Soter and was influential during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius (d. 180) and his son Commadus (d. 192). Marcus Aurelius was fairly tolerant of Christians, although he was a pagan. But there were a number of prefects who took matters into their own hands and had local persecutions.
The biggest problem Eleutherius had to face was the continuing problem of the Montanists, also known as the "New Prophecy" and the Marcionists. These were groups of people who described themselves as Christians but tended to claim that the Holy Spirit was directing them to do and say things not adopted by the orthodox church. In many ways, they were similar to the Pentacostalists of today. However, with their fasting and ascetic ways, it was difficult to piece together whether they were actually heretical or not. The most embarrassing activities they held were their large public displays of ecstactic prophesying.
In 177, Eleutherius received a letter from the Church at Lyon, France, asking him to consider carefully the Marcionists, to show mercy but to not compromise in his dealing. The letter was delivered by the deacon, Ireneus, who shortly became the bishop of Lyon. It appears that either Eleutherius or his successor, Victor, actually wrote letters of support for this group, but recalled the letters based on further information.
An example of their displays is thus: "'And he [Montanus] became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.' The Montanist prophets did not speak as messengers of God but were described as possessed by God while being unable to resist. A prophetic utterance by Montanus described this possessed state: 'Lo, the man is as a lyre, and I fly over him as a pick. The man sleepeth, while I watch.'"
Due to the hesitancy on the part of the Roman Church, Tertullian came out in favor of the New Prophecy in 205, yet never converted. Meanwhile, many of the bishops in Asia Minor, where the heresy began, were totally against the sect early on. They had synods and wrote letters, disclaiming the followers. Eventually, the followers of Montanus claimed that he, himself was the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, sent from Jesus to guide and direct the Church. That was the beginning of the end for this heresy.
Some references say he was martyred, others that he died a natural death. In either case, Pope Eleutherius was buried on Vatican Hill after his death, near other popes. They were moved to the Church of Saint Susanna in 1591, at the request of Camilla Peretti, sister of Pope Sixtus V.
St. Eleutherius, pray for us.
Oh My God:
The Creator of all creation is totally perfect and holy. Taking His name in vain does not make God any less holy, but it does make His name less holy in the eyes of the world.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
I urge you, therefore, not to be entirely disheartened in the face of the cross...heaven bestows on you...
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Two: 112-188
We now enter into Notebook Two of the six notebooks that make up the Diary of Saint Faustina. The reason for having more than one notebook is simply that when one notebook was filled by Saint Faustina she began with a new one. Therefore, there is nothing particularly different from one notebook to the other. However, for the purpose of this current book of daily reflections, each reflection will begin to be lengthened, starting here with Notebook Two, so as to help you, the reader, enter more deeply into the beautiful mysteries of faith and our shared spiritual life that have been revealed in these writings of Saint Faustina.
You are invited once again to take one reflection each day and to ponder it throughout the day. Try to pray the prayer for each reflection each morning, noon and evening. Allow each mystery reflected upon to become a source of wisdom and understanding for you.
Reflection 146: Praying with the Passion of Christ
All of us are aware of the sacred Passion of our Lord. But few are able to gaze upon His Passion with true feeling and love. In our prayer, we must learn to meditate upon the Passion of our Lord with great devotion. This is not so much something we do by our own effort; rather, it’s something that we allow our Lord to do in us. We must allow Him to reveal to us the great suffering He went through and, in that revelation, we must allow our whole being to become consumed with love of Him who died this horrid death out of love for us (See Diary #737).
Do you spend time meditating on the Passion of our Lord? Perhaps it’s easier to look at the Resurrection and His triumphal victory over sin and death. But the way to the Resurrection and Glorification is through the Passion. Reflect, today, upon how willing you are to allow yourself to be drawn into every pain and every suffering that our Lord endured. Seeing His Passion for what it is allows you to love Him more deeply. The more you become aware of His suffering, the more you will desire to console His wounded Heart through your love and submission to His holy Will. Let every aspect of the Passion of Christ speak to you and change you. The result will be a deeper love of God and an abundance of Mercy for those suffering all around you.
Lord, help me to become aware of Your holy Passion. Help me to see the love that enabled You to endure such torment. May I see in Your Passion Your endless love for all and may I, in turn, love those who suffer with the same love I have for You. Jesus, I trust in You.