26th May St. Philip Neri

A-MUSED - A HEART FILLED WITH JOY St. Philip Neri's humor...

St. Philip arrived penniless in a Rome that had been pillaged just five years before (1528) by German and other troops. Most of the great art works, the churches and all their valuables, had been damaged, destroyed or taken. The population had fallen from 55,000 to 10,000. What was left of society was wild and there was little form of law and order. The centre was like a village, and cattle were being grazed in the Forum. Plague was rife in a city that was never healthy anyway. Philip, young and a lay person, started with prayer and then gathered a group around him that tended to the sick and the poor. He would speak to anyone. One minute he would be talking to a group of youths on the street, the next to a rich woman. One such asked him if her fashionable expensive clothes were a sin, especially her high heals. His only response was, ‘Just don’t let them trip you up.” As time passed he became well-known and many turned to him, seeking help. He formed a religious order to carry on his work, the Oratorians, asking them always to be joyful in the love of God and serve others. He said he had not come to save people from the world, but in the world. He loved people from all parts of society and was always available to them. As we live through these difficult times he is a good saint to turn to both as an example and from whom to ask for help.

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