Sunday, March 02, 2003

Venerable Newman on the Saints
Note particularly his comments on St. Philip Neri.....

"It is indeed most true that the holier a man is, and the higher in the kingdom of heaven, so much the greater need has he to look carefully to his footing, lest he stumble and be lost; and a deep conviction of this necessity has been the sole preservation of the Saints. Had they not feared, they never would have persevered. Hence, like St. Paul, they are always full of their sin and their peril. You would think them the most polluted of sinners, and the most unstable of penitents. Such was the blessed Martyr Ignatius, who, when on his way to his death, said, 'Now I begin to be Christ's disciple'. Such was the great Basil, who was ever ascribing the calamities of the Church and of his country to the wrath of Heaven upon his own sins. Such was St. Gregory, who submitted to his elevation to the Popedom, as if it were his spiritual death. Such too was my own dear Father St. Philip, who was ever showing, in the midst of the gifts he received from God, the anxiety and jealousy with which he regarded himself and his prospects. ' Every day,' says his biographer, 'he used to make a protest to God with the Blessed Sacrament in his hands, saying, "Lord, beware of me today, lest I should betray Thee, and do Thee all the mischief in the world" '. At other times he would say, 'The wound in Christ's side is large, but, if God did not guard me, I should make it larger'. In his last illness, 'Lord, if I recover, so far as I am concerned, I shall do more evil than ever, because I have promised so many times before to change my life, and have not kept my word, so that I despair of myself'. He would shed abundance of tears and say, 'I have never done one good action'. When he saw young persons, he began considering how much time they had before them to do good in, and said, 'O, happy you! O, happy you!' He often said, 'I am past hope,' and, when urged, he added, 'but I trust in God'. When a penitent of his called him a Saint, he turned to her with a face full of anger, and said, 'Begone with you, I am a devil, not a Saint'. When another said to him, "Father, a temptation has come to me to think you are not what the world takes you for," he answered, 'Be sure of this, that I am a man like my neighbours, and nothing more'.

What a reflection on ordinary Christians is the language of Saints about themselves!"

Discourses to Mixed Congregations


Post a Comment

<< Home