Saturday, May 24, 2003

One more day before St. Philip's Day....
Here's the meditation and prayer by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. .....
"May 24
Philip's Care for the Salvation of Souls

When he was a young priest, and had gathered about him a number of spiritual persons, his first wish was to go with them all to preach the gospel to the heathen of India, where St. Francis Xavier was engaged in his wonderful career—and he only gave up the idea in obedience to the holy men whom he consulted.

As to bad Christians at home, such extreme desire had he for their conversion, that even when he was old he took severe disciplines in their behalf, and wept for their sins as if they had been his own.

While a layman, he converted by one sermon thirty dissolute youths.

He was successful, under the grace of God, in bringing back almost an infinite number of sinners to the paths of holiness. Many at the hour of death cried out, 'Blessed be the day when first I came to know Father Philip!' Others, 'Father Philip draws souls to him as the magnet draws iron.'

With a view to the fulfilment of what he considered his special mission, he gave himself up entirely to hearing confessions, exclusive of every other employment. Before sunrise he had generally confessed a good number of penitents in his own room. He went down into the church at daybreak, and never left it till noon, except to say Mass. If no penitents came, he remained near his confessional, reading, saying office, or telling his beads. If he was at prayer, if at his meals, he at once broke off when his penitents came.

He never intermitted his hearing of confessions for any illness, unless the physician forbade it.

For the same reason he kept his room-door open, so that he was exposed to the view of everyone who passed it.

He had a particular anxiety about boys and young men. He was most anxious to have them always occupied, for he knew that idleness was the parent of every evil. Sometimes he made work for them, when he could not find any.

He let them make what noise they pleased about him, if in so doing he was keeping them from temptation. When a friend remonstrated with him for letting them so interfere with him, he made answer: 'So long as they do not sin, they may chop wood upon my back.'

He was allowed by the Dominican Fathers to take out their novices for recreation. He used to delight to see them at their holiday meal. He used to say, 'Eat, my sons, and do not scruple about it, for it makes me fat to watch you;' and then, when dinner was over, he made them sit in a ring around him, and told them the secrets of their hearts, and gave them good advice, and exhorted them to virtue.

He had a remarkable power of consoling the sick, and of delivering them from the temptations with which the devil assails them.

To his zeal for the conversion of souls, Philip always joined the exercise of corporal acts of mercy. He visited the sick in the hospitals, served them in all their necessities, made their beds, swept the floor round them, and gave them their meals.


Philip, my holy Patron, who wast so careful for the souls of thy brethren, and especially of thy own people, when on earth, slack not thy care of them now, when thou art in heaven. Be with us, who are thy children and thy clients; and, with thy greater power with God, and with thy more intimate insight into our needs and our dangers, guide us along the path which leads to God and to thee. Be to us a good father; make our priests blameless and beyond reproach or scandal; make our children obedient, our youth prudent and chaste, our heads of families wise and gentle, our old people cheerful and fervent, and build us up, by thy powerful intercessions, in faith, hope, charity, and all virtues."

Meditations and Devotions

Eloquent post
by Mr. Luse. (Direct link not working. See "Letter to a Priest" )

The May First Things
is now online . I found the article by Avery Cardinal Dulles most interesting. And this quote from The Public Square is to be cherished...
" This is unusual television fare. Promoting an upcoming segment on Dateline, Jane Pauley said, 'Still ahead, the latest round of bloodshed and violence at abortion clinics.' At last they are going to show what really happens at abortuaries: cutting bodies of babies in pieces, plucking out the bloody limbs one by one, puncturing the heads of infants and sucking out the brains. At last, one thought, at least one network has the nerve to tell the truth about abortion. Then Ms. Pauley completed her message: 'The anti-abortion movement has been creeping to the edge of bloody fanaticism for a decade.' "

Oh, please !

Lane Core gives a link to a book review. The review seems fair enough, but the book sounds exasperating, at least in part. That "rich, majestic and holy kingdom" was engaged in, among other things, putting Catholic priests to slow and excruciating deaths.

A quote from Msgr. Ronald Knox seems apt....( He was commenting on his own country-England- but it's close enough...)

"The losing side is wrong, because it lost; William of Normandy was a patriot, Philip of Spain a tyrant. The Reformation may be cherished by its devotees because the fires of Smithfield failed; it is recommended to the hearts of Englishmen because the hangings at Tyburn suceeded. For, as a race, we pay homage to the fait acompli . "

Friday, May 23, 2003

Nearly there..

Two days to go until St. Philip's Day...the meditation and prayer from the Venerable, as usual, follow... (BTW, Venerable Newman had a lot of opportunites to imitate his patron in practicing this particular virtue !)

"May 23
Philip's Patience

Philip was for years and years the butt and laughing-stock of all the hangers-on of the great palaces of the nobility at Rome, who said all the bad of him that came into their heads, because they did not like to see a virtuous and conscientious man.

This sarcastic talk against him lasted for years and years; so that Rome was full of it, and through all the shops and counting-houses the idlers and evil livers did nothing but ridicule Philip.

When they fixed some calumny upon him, he did not take it in the least amiss, but with the greatest calmness contented himself with a simple smile.

Once a gentleman's servant began to abuse him so insolently that a person of consideration, who witnessed the insult, was about to lay hands on him; but, when he saw with what gentleness and cheerfulness Philip took it, he restrained himself, and ever after counted Philip as a saint.

Sometimes his own spiritual children, and even those who lay under the greatest obligations to him, treated him as if he were a rude and foolish person; but he did not show any resentment.

Once, when he was Superior of the Congregation, one of his subjects snatched a letter out of his hand; but the saint took the affront with incomparable meekness, and neither in look, nor word, nor in gesture betrayed the slightest emotion.

Patience had so completely become a habit with him, that he was never seen in a passion. He checked the first movement of resentful feeling; his countenance calmed instantly, and he reassumed his usual modest smile.


Philip, my holy Advocate, who didst bear persecution and calumny, pain and sickness, with so admirable a patience, gain for me the grace of true fortitude under all the trials of this life. Alas! how do I need patience! I shrink from every small inconvenience; I sicken under every light affliction; I fire up at every trifling contradiction; I fret and am cross at every little suffering of body. Gain for me the grace to enter with hearty good-will into all such crosses as I may receive day by day from my Heavenly Father. Let me imitate thee, as thou didst imitate my Lord and Saviour, that so, as thou hast attained heaven by thy calm endurance of bodily and mental pain, I too may attain the merit of patience, and the reward of life everlasting. "

Meditations and Devotions

All babies are amazing
but the story of this one is jaw-dropping.

Thanks to Alicia for the link .

An important event happened...
on this date in 1551. In the city of Rome, in the church of San Tomasso in Parione, a man in his mid-30's was ordained to the priesthood. This was later to lead to more than anyone there that day imagined.

Happy anniversary, St. Philip !

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Three more days
before St. Philip's Day.... and here's the meditation and prayer by Venerable Newman...
May 22
Philip's Cheerfulness

Philip welcomed those who consulted him with singular benignity, and received them, though strangers, with as much affection as if he had been a long time expecting them. When he was called upon to be merry, he was merry; when he was called upon to feel sympathy with the distressed, he was equally ready.

Sometimes he left his prayers and went down to sport and banter with young men, and by this sweetness and condescension and playful conversation gained their souls.

He could not bear anyone to be downcast or pensive, because spirituality is always injured by it; but when he saw anyone grave and gloomy, he used to say, 'Be merry.' He had a particular and marked leaning to cheerful persons.

At the same time he was a great enemy to anything like rudeness or foolery; for a buffooning spirit not only does not advance in religion, but roots out even what is already there.

One day he restored cheerfulness to Father Francesco Bernardi, of the Congregation, by simply asking him to run with him, saying, 'Come now, let us have a run together.'

His penitents felt that joy at being in his room that they used to say, Philip's room is not a room, but an earthly Paradise.

To others, to merely stand at the door of his room, without going in, was a release from all their troubles. Others recovered their lost peace of mind by simply looking Philip in the face. To dream of him was enough to comfort many. In a word, Philip was a perpetual refreshment to all those who were in perplexity and sadness.

No one ever saw Philip melancholy; those who went to him always found him with a cheerful and smiling countenance, yet mixed with gravity.

When he was ill he did not so much receive as impart consolation. He was never heard to change his voice, as invalids generally do, but spoke in the same sonorous tone as when he was well. Once, when the physicians had given him over, he said, with the Psalmist, 'Paratus sum et non sum turbatus' ('I am ready, and am not troubled'). He received Extreme Unction four times, but with the same calm and joyous countenance.


Philip, my glorious Advocate, who didst ever follow the precepts and example of the Apostle St. Paul in rejoicing always in all things, gain for me the grace of perfect resignation to God's will, of indifference to matters of this world, and a constant sight of Heaven; so that I may never be disappointed at the Divine providences, never desponding, never sad, never fretful; that my countenance may always be open and cheerful, and my words kind and pleasant, as becomes those who, in whatever state of life they are, have the greatest of all goods, the favour of God and the prospect of eternal bliss.

Meditations and Devotions

Since we are rehearsing the music for St. Philip's Day tonight..
I thought I'd post this....(It's from the site of the Birmingham Oratory, but a direct link does not work, so I am posting it here...)
Saint Philip and Music
by Father Guy Nicholls, C.O.

Those who come regularly to the Birmingham Oratory know what store the Catholic church sets by music and art. The sixteenth century provided the very best of both. Yet it is important to recall that the sixteenth century began in turmoil in western Christendom. The reformation period was one of crisis for the Catholic church, and art, music and architecture all suffered as a result. Yet by the end of that century the church had regained her confidence, and we can all marvel at the wonderful achievements of the Baroque which was the outward expression of this new era of growth and confidence.

Undoubtedly one of the key figures in bringing about this change was Saint Philip. Although he was not himself a practitioner of the arts, excepting his poetical skills, of which, alas, little remains because he caused most of his sonnets to be destroyed, Philip was nonetheless an enthusiast for the arts. He encouraged many artists and musicians in their work. But there can be no doubt that he held music in especially high esteem. As one Oratorian biographer writes:

Our saint was profoundly convinced that there is in music and in song a mysterious and a mighty power to sir the heart with high and noble emotions, and an especial fitness to raise it above to the love of heavenly things.’

Saint Philip attracted a fellowship of young men around himself each day to pray. The pattern of this prayer was largely informal and devotional. From the very beginning musicians were among their number, and Philip never lost an opportunity to employ their talents in order to give spiritual refreshment to the meetings. In the early days of the Oratory, soon after Philip’s priestly ordination in 1551, the music was usually in vernacular Italian, suiting the informal nature of the gatherings. These were simple pieces known as laudi spirituali or ‘spiritual praises’, familiar from his Florentine youth, though new to Rome.

Sometimes, especially on Sundays and feast-days, Philip would take his band of followers out on walks, often to some of the churches in the nearby countryside close to his beloved catacombs. They would sing laudi and litanies on the way, and stop to play games and have a picnic liberally spiced with prayer and music. The musicians, who often came from the Papal choirs, would sing some of their motets for the group. First among these was Giovanni Animuccia, who like Philip was a Florentine by birth, and had come to Rome to seek his fortune with the Papal Court. In this he was successful, since in 1555 he succeeded the great Palestrina as master of the Capella Giulia , the choir which sang daily for the services in S. Peter’s. Animuccia remained Philip’s closest musician friend until his untimely death in 1571, and Philip was able to tell his sorrowing widow that he had seen Animuccia’s soul leave purgatory for the joys of heaven.

As the Oratory became more famous, the music became more elaborate. Instrumentalists added splendour to the meetings. Sometimes Palestrina himself came to direct the choir, and it is believed that Philip was present with him when he died in 1594, the year before Philip’s own death. Some of Palestrina’s own music seems to have been inspired by Philip; for instance, his madrigali spirituali and the wonderful settings of texts from the Song of Songs, a book which Philip especially loved to expound in the Oratory.

Some of his musical followers became priests. The Spaniard Soto de Langa, who was renowned for his beautiful voice and writing laudi, joined Philip in his priestly community. Another Spaniard living in Rome at this time was the great Tomas Luis de Victoria. Although he was never formally attached to S. Philip’s community, he lived with S. Philip at San Girolamo for several years after his ordination in 1575, and it is more than likely that he took part in the musical activities of the Oratory held in the very house where he lived until his return to Spain in 1587.

Saint Philip’s friendship with these giants of Church music reminds us once more that he played a significant if hidden rôle in the Catholic revival. Philip lived in Rome throughout the period of the Council of Trent, which was to reinvigorate Catholic life. This renewal of Catholicism owed much to S. Philip’s untiring apostolate among both the laity and clergy. Many of the great churchmen of the day became his close friends and admirers. They modelled their own lives as pastors on his. But there is no doubt that it was his spiritual appreciation of the power of music that helped to bring about the great flowering of liturgical and devotional music that has never been surpassed.

It is well known that the Fathers of the Council of Trent considered a drastic reform of church music in the light of some of its more elaborate and unspiritual manifestations. There is a familiar, though apocryphal story that Palestrina composed the great Missa Papæ Marcelli in order to show that church music could be both magnificent and spiritually profound. As Italian’s say: ‘se non e vero, e ben trovato’, which can be roughly rendered: if it’s not true, it ought to be. It certainly is the case that composers under Philip’s spell were able to produce music in no way inferior to any that had yet been composed for the worship of God, which could be a wonderful vehicle for prayer and praise, and ‘for the consolation and needs of many’.

The musical oratorio, which was to become the vehicle for some of the most profound spiritual expressions of his own and later ages, although not exclusively conceived of in Saint Philip’s Oratory, was nevertheless a happy invention of the Rome he helped to reform.

Finally, however, we cannot forget that a new generation of composers was to arise to build on the magnificent foundations of Palestrina, Victoria, and the undeservedly neglected Animuccia. Also disciples of S. Philip were Giovanni Francesco Anerio and his brother Felice, who both were to become Papal choirmasters, and they were sons of Mautizio Anerio, who was one of Philip’s earliest followers in the Oratory. Their mother, Fulginia even did Philip’s laundry all her life. When Giovanni Francesco published his collection of spiritual madrigals in 1619, he wrote an introduction which contains a clear indication of their origin in the Oratory services and beautifully sums up S. Philip’s own philosophy of music. Having praised Philip for, ‘drawing souls to the perfect love and fear of God, . . making known to them the ugliness of sin, . . the beauty of the blessed souls, and the reward of eternal glory,’ he is then moved to address his dear patron in person:

And to attain the desired aim so much more easily, and to draw, with a sweet deception, the sinners to the holy exercises of the Oratory, you introduced music there, seeing to it that the vernacular and devotional things were sung, so that people, being allured by song and tender words, would be all the more disposed to spiritual profit; nor was it your idea in vain, since some, coming at times to the Oratory only to hear the music, and then remaining, moved and captivated by the sermons and the other holy exercises that were done there, have become servants of God.’

One tough little rattie..
is the Rat of the Week over at The Rat Fan Club .

In an effort to unite the jocks and the geeks
somebody has invented... Tolkien baseball .
Prayer request
Prayers for Fr. Bryan would be welcome. He was invited down to southern Texas by the Fathers of the Pharr Oratory, to give the commencement speech at the high school run by the Fathers there. Unfortunately, he is recovering from a bout of laryngitis, and his voice is still somewhat weak. The graduation is tommorow. ( He will, of course, be coming back soon afterwards, so as to be home for St. Philip's Day...)
The Feast of St. Rita of Cascia
is today. There is information on her here.

I actually have a St. Rita story- years ago, my mother was driving around in a mall parking lot on the day after Thanksgiving. (Don't ask.) I was in the passenger seat, getting more and more frustrated as time went on. After about half an hour of driving up and down completely filled rows, I thought of St. Rita's patronage of those with impossible causes, and cried out, 'St. Rita of Cascia, intercede for us !'

The second after the words had left my lips, someone pulled out of his parking space- immediately in front of us, so that we could pull in very easily.

I know, it's not exactly a big deal, but it impressed me at the time....

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Four days to go...
until St. Philip's Day... and the meditations and prayers by Venerable Newman continue below...

"May 21
Philip's Tenderness of Heart

Philip could not endure the very sight of suffering; and though he abhorred riches, he always wished to have money to give in alms.

He could not bear to see children scantily clothed, and did all he could to get new clothes for them.

Oppressed and suffering innocence troubled him especially; when a Roman gentleman was falsely accused of having been the death of a man, and was imprisoned, he went so far as to put his cause before the Pope, and obtained his liberation.

A priest was accused by some powerful persons, and was likely to suffer in consequence. Philip took up his cause with such warmth that he established his innocence before the public.

Another time, hearing of some gipsies who had been unjustly condemned to hard labour, he went to the Pope, and procured their freedom. His love of justice was as great as his tenderness and compassion.

Soon after he became a Priest there was a severe famine in Rome, and six loaves were sent to him as a present. Knowing that there was in the same house a poor foreigner suffering from want of food, he gave them all to him, and had for the first day nothing but olives to eat.

Philip had a special tenderness towards artisans, and those who had a difficulty of selling their goods. There were two watchmakers, skilful artists, but old and burdened with large families. He gave them a large order for watches, and contrived to sell them among his friends.

His zeal and liberality specially shone forth towards poor girls. He provided for them when they had no other means of provision. He found marriage dowries for some of them; to others he gave what was sufficient to gain their admittance into convents.

He was particularly good to prisoners, to whom he sent money several times in the week.

He set no limits to his affection for the shrinking and bashful poor, and was more liberal in his alms towards them.

Poor students were another object of his special compassion; he provided them not only with food and clothing, but also with books for their studies. To aid one of them he sold all his own books.

He felt most keenly any kindness done to him, so that one of his friends said: 'You could not make Philip a present without receiving another from him of double value.'

He was very tender towards brute animals. Seeing someone put his foot on a lizard, he cried out, 'Cruel fellow! what has that poor animal done to you?'

Seeing a butcher wound a dog with one of his knives, he could not contain himself, and had great difficulty in keeping himself cool.

He could not bear the slightest cruelty to be shown to brute animals under any pretext whatever. If a bird came into the room, he would have the window opened that it might not be caught.


Philip, my glorious Advocate, teach me to look at all I see around me after thy pattern as the creatures of God. Let me never forget that the same God who made me made the whole world, and all men and all animals that are in it. Gain me the grace to love all God's works for God's sake, and all men for the sake of my Lord and Saviour who has redeemed them by the Cross. And especially let me be tender and compassionate and loving towards all Christians, as my brethren in grace. And do thou, who on earth was so tender to all, be especially tender to us, and feel for us, bear with us in all our troubles, and gain for us from God, with whom thou dwellest in beatific light, all the aids necessary for bringing us safely to Him and to thee. "

Meditations and Devotions

From the 'how the mighty have fallen' department
Church of England advertises for a bishop

Something tells me the Venerable would be saddened, but not surprised.....

Thanks to Jeff Miller for the link....

A new blogger
claims that he got his blog title from me- apparently from this post. His title ? Gaudete Semper .

David Mills
over at Mere Comments has a post on a sick 'public service' commercial.

This is funny!
Great post by Jennifer over at What's Brewing . ( Single readers may be particularly appreciative.....)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Five days left
before St. Philip's Day... The meditation and prayer by Venerable Newman follow...

" May 20
Philip's Purity

Philip, well knowing the pleasure which God takes in cleanness of heart, had no sooner come to years of discretion, and to the power of distinguishing between good and evil, than he set himself to wage war against the evils and suggestions of his enemy, and never rested till he had gained the victory. Thus, notwithstanding he lived in the world when young, and met with all kinds of persons, he preserved his virginity spotless in those dangerous years of his life.

No word was ever heard from his lips which would offend the most severe modesty, and in his dress, his carriage, and countenance, he manifested the same beautiful virtue.

One day, while he was yet a layman, some profligate persons impudently tempted him to commit sin. When he saw that flight was impossible, he began to speak to them of the hideousness of sin and the awful presence of God. This he did with such manifest distress, such earnestness, and such fervour, that his words pierced their abandoned hearts as a sword, and not only persuaded them to give up their horrible thought, but even reclaimed them from their evil ways.

At another time some bad men, who are accustomed to think no one better than themselves, invited him on some pretext into their house, under the belief that he was not what the world took him to be; and then, having got possession of him, thrust him into a great temptation. Philip, in this strait, finding the doors locked, knelt down and began to pray to God with such astonishing fervour and heartfelt heavenly eloquence, that the two poor wretches who were in the room did not dare to speak to him, and at last themselves left him and gave him a way to escape.

His virginal purity shone out of his countenance. His eyes were so clear and bright, even to the last years of his life, that no painter ever succeeded in giving the expression of them, and it was not easy for anyone to keep looking on him for any length of time, for he dazzled them like an Angel of Paradise.

Moreover, his body, even in his old age, emitted a fragrance which, even in his decrepit old age, refreshed those who came near him; and many said that they felt devotion infused into them by the mere smell of his hands.

As to the opposite vice, the ill odour of it was not to the Saint a mere figure of speech, but a reality, so that he could detect those whose souls were blackened by it; and he used to say that it was so horrible that nothing in the world could equal it, nothing, in short, but the Evil Spirit himself. Before his penitents began their confession he sometimes said, 'O my son, I know your sins already.'

Many confessed that they were at once delivered from temptations by his merely laying his hands on their heads. The very mention of his name had a power of shielding from Satan those who were assailed by his fiery darts.

He exhorted men never to trust themselves, whatever experience they might have of themselves, or however long their habits of virtue.

He used to say that humility was the true guard of chastity; and that not to have pity for another in such cases was a forerunner of a speedy fall in ourselves; and that when he found a man censorious, and secure of himself, and without fear, he gave him up for lost.


Philip, my glorious Patron, who didst ever keep unsullied the white lily of thy purity, with such jealous care that the majesty of this fair virtue beamed from thine eyes, shone in thy hands, and was fragrant in thy breath, obtain for me that gift from the Holy Ghost, that neither the words nor the example of sinners may ever make any impression on my soul. And, since it is by avoiding occasions of sin, by prayer, by keeping myself employed, and by the frequent use of the Sacraments that my dread enemy must be subdued, gain for me the grace to persevere in these necessary observances."

Meditations and Devotions

A son of St. Ignatius...
who is doing a fine pro-life deed.

Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.

Lane Core
has a post on the anti-Catholicism (and historical inaccuracy) of Christopher Hitchens. .
I must say, I'm not suprised in the least. Hitchens is, after all, the man who who made himself infamous by dissing Mother Teresa. IMHO, anybody sensible would give him, oh, about as much crediblility as Ian Paisley.
Catholic Educator's Resource Center
has two articles about Sigrid Undset, and one article by her.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Down to six days
before St. Philip's Day... and here is the meditation and prayer by the Venerable...

"May 19
Philip's Exercise of Prayer

From very boyhood the servant of God gave himself up to prayer, until he acquired such a habit of it, that, wherever he was, his mind was always lifted up to heavenly things.

Sometimes he forgot to eat; sometimes, when he was dressing, he left off, being carried away in his thought to heaven, with his eyes open, yet abstracted from all things around him.

It was easier for Philip to think upon God, than for men of the world to think of the world.

If anyone entered his room suddenly, he would most probably find him so rapt in prayer, that, when spoken to, he did not give the right answer, and had to take a turn or two up and down the room before he fully came to himself.

If he gave way to his habit of prayer in the most trifling degree, he immediately became lost in contemplation.

It was necessary to distract him lest this continual stretch of mind should be prejudicial to his health.

Before transacting business, however trivial, he always prayed; when asked a question, he never answered till he had recollected himself.

He began praying when he went to bed, and as soon as he awoke, and he did not usually sleep more than four, or at the most five hours.

Sometimes, if anyone showed that he had observed that Philip went to bed late or rose early in order to pray, he would answer, 'Paradise is not made for sluggards.'

He was more than ordinarily intent on prayer at the more solemn feasts, or at a time of urgent spiritual necessities; above all, in Holy Week.

Those who could not make long meditations he advised to lift up their minds repeatedly to God in ejaculatory prayers, as 'Jesus, increase my faith,' 'Jesus, grant that I may never offend Thee.'

Philip introduced family prayer into many of the principal houses of Rome.

When one of his penitents asked him to teach him how to pray, he answered, 'Be humble and obedient, and the Holy Ghost will teach you.'

He had a special devotion for the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and daily poured out before Him most fervent prayers for gifts and graces.

Once, when he was passing the night in prayer in the Catacombs, that great miracle took place of the Divine presence of the Holy Ghost descending upon him under the appearance of a ball of fire, entering into his mouth and lodging in his breast, from which time he had a supernatural palpitation of the heart.

He used to say that when our prayers are in the way of being granted, we must not leave off, but pray as fervently as before.

He especially recommended beginners to meditate on the four last things, and used to say that he who does not in his thoughts and fears go down to hell in his lifetime, runs a great risk of going there when he dies.

When he wished to show the necessity of prayer, he said that a man without prayer was an animal without reason.

Many of his disciples improved greatly in this exercise—not religious only, but secular persons, artisans, merchants, physicians, lawyers, and courtiers—and became such men of prayer as to receive extraordinary favours from God.


Philip, my holy Patron, teach me by thy example, and gain for me by thy intercessions, to seek my Lord and God at all times and in all places, and to live in His presence and in sacred intercourse with Him. As the children of this world look up to rich men or men in station for the favour which they desire, so may I ever lift up my eyes and hands and heart towards heaven, and betake myself to the Source of all good for those goods which I need. As the children of this world converse with their friends and find their pleasure in them, so may I ever hold communion with Saints and Angels, and with the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of my Lord. Pray with me, O Philip, as thou didst pray with thy penitents here below, and then prayer will become sweet to me, as it did to them. "

Meditations and Devotions
Interesting article
in The Times (of London) Online .
I am not a Tridentine Rite partisan, as I have never been to such a Mass, but I find the dismissive attitude of the one priest puzzling. If the interest in this type of liturgy is so very low- 5%, 1%- why not let it be more widely available ? Surely something with such little support will wither away on its own ? The "young fogeys" statement sounds, IMHO, like the remark of someone who is afraid of competition.....
Of course, if the current English liturgy had better translations, and if certain men celebrating it were less inclined to make it "relaxed, contemporary, a bit jazzy..", competing with the Tridentine folks would be much less of a problem...

Thanks to Mr. Esguerra for the link.
Various writers
on the problem of anti-Catholicism, as described by Philip Jenkins, linked to by Lane Core.

Screwtape takes on the Professor
over at the GreenBooks section of TheOneRing.Net

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Seven days now....
until St. Philip's Day... Here is today's meditation and prayer by Venerable Newman...
" May 18
Philip's Devotion

The inward flame of devotion in Philip was so intense that he sometimes fainted in consequence of it, or was forced to throw himself upon his bed, under the sickness of divine love.

When he was young he sometimes felt this divine fervour so vehemently as to be unable to contain himself, throwing himself as if in agony on the ground and crying out, 'No more, Lord, no more.'

What St. Paul says of himself seemed to be fulfilled in Philip: 'I am filled with consolation—I over-abound with joy.'

Yet, though he enjoyed sweetnesses, he used to say that he wished to serve God, not out of interest—that is, because there was pleasure in it—but out of pure love, even though he felt no gratification in loving Him.

When he was a layman, he communicated every morning. When he was old, he had frequent ecstacies during his Mass.

Hence it is customary in pictures of Philip to paint him in red vestments, to record his ardent desire to shed his blood for the love of Christ.

He was so devoted to his Lord and Saviour that he was always pronouncing the name of Jesus with unspeakable sweetness. He had also an extraordinary pleasure in saying the Creed, and he was so fond of the 'Our Father' that he lingered on each petition in such a way that it seemed as if he never would get through them.

He had such a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that, when he was ill, he could not sleep till he had communicated.

When he was reading or meditating on the Passion he was seen to turn as pale as ashes, and his eyes filled with tears.

Once when he was ill, they brought him something to drink. He took the glass in his hand, and when he was putting it to his mouth stopped, and began to weep most bitterly. He cried out, 'Thou, my Christ, Thou upon the Cross wast thirsty, and they gave Thee nothing but gall and vinegar to drink; and I am in bed, with so many comforts around me, and so many persons to attend to me.'

Yet Philip did not make much account of this warmth and acuteness of feeling; for he said that Emotion was not Devotion, that tears were no sign that a man was in the grace of God, neither must we suppose a man holy merely because he weeps when he speaks of religion.

Philip was so devoted to the Blessed Virgin that he had her name continually in his mouth. He had two ejaculations in her honour. One, 'Virgin Mary, Mother of God, pray to Jesus for me.' The other, simply 'Virgin Mother,' for he said that in those two words all possible praises of Mary are contained.

He had also a singular devotion to St. Mary Magdalen, on whose vigil he was born, and for the Apostles St. James and St. Philip; also for St. Paul the Apostle, and for St. Thomas of Aquinum, Doctor of the Church.


Philip, my glorious Patron, gain for me a portion of that gift which thou hadst so abundantly. Alas! thy heart was burning with love; mine is all frozen towards God, and alive only for creatures. I love the world, which can never make me happy; my highest desire is to be well off here below. O my God, when shall I learn to love nothing else but Thee? Gain for me, O Philip, a pure love, a strong love, and an efficacious love, that, loving God here upon earth, I may enjoy the sight of Him, together with thee and all saints, hereafter in heaven. "

Meditation and Devotions

If it were not Sunday
today would be the feast of St. Felix of Cantalice, O.F.M. Cap. There is information on him here .
I forgot to mention
that my copy of Annales Oratorii , the new Oratorian annual, arrived on Friday. The two articles in English were good, one by a Father of the Oxford Oratory, and the other by the Pittsburgh Oratory's own Fr. Drew. Unfortunately, my Spanish is weak and my Italian weaker, so the rest of the material is a bit of a problem... I'll probably be attempting to puzzle some of it out with some online translation machine....

Gala Yestarë, Ayan Atar !
Blessings upon your birthday, Holy Father ! Ad multos annos !
From the homily
Fr. David was the celebrant today. What I remember most in the homily was his comment that vine branches need constant attention if they are to produce fruit. "And fruitlessness leads to ultimate disaster- being fit for nothing but the fire...."