Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest
“Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you.” (Mark 10:49)
The crowds were at first annoyed at the cries of blind Bartimaeus, but then Jesus paid attention to him, and the crowd spoke to him because Jesus was paying Him attention. We must not be ashamed of our need for God and our longing to see Him.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Philip Neri, known as the “second apostle of Rome” because of the zeal He had in leading people in the 1500’s to recognize that God was calling them to holiness. As a young man, he moved from Florence to Rome because he felt God calling him to a life completely dedicated to Him. After two years of living a secluded life as a tutor, Philip then studied for a few years and then began expressing his longing for conversion in the streets of Rome.
He would go to street corners and start up conversations with whoever was around. Philip’s affable way of speaking won him many friends. One of his favorite questions for them was, “Well, brothers, when shall we begin to do good?” He spent his life helping Romans who were beginning to doubt God’s existence and love for them. By his words and deeds, he helped them to see how much God loved them, and how to respond: by praying together in church, by going together to serve the sick in hospitals, by sincerely offering their minds and hearts to God. Let us ask God, through the intercession of St. Philip, to fill us will a desire for holiness, and to never be ashamed to express that desire publically for the good of others.