Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, Priest
While not a Jesuit himself, St. Philip Neri has a special place in Jesuit history. For one thing, he was canonized by Gregory XV on the same day at St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier. This is appropriate, since St. Philip knew both of them from their time in Rome. He developed a friendship with St. Ignatius, and was moved by Xavier’s efforts in India to go there himself. His friends persuaded him to make Rome his India. As a result, he founded the Oratorians, who would go on to engage in preaching and other ministries in parishes throughout Rome, and later around the world.
St. Philip once dreamt of missionary work in a faraway land, but later put these energies to the place where he was needed most. Not as romantic as bringing Christianity to uncharted lands, but no less necessary. All the while, he did it with a customary joy, remarking that “a joyful heart is more easily made perfect than a downcast one.” God can more easily work with a heart on fire with love for Him and His creation, turing this love towards greater things, than one that is unable to appreciate goodness where it is found. On the feast of St. Philip Neri, let us pray that we may joyfully do God’s will wherever we may find ourselves.