St. Philip Neri

The more a person is animated by true devotion to the Queen of Heaven, the more such a person is made to partake of those extraordinary gifts with which the Holy Ghost beautified the soul of His beloved Spouse in the course of her mortal life.

It is well known how St. Philip Neri loved and venerated the Blessed Virgin and how he desired to see her honored and loved by his penitents. He often invoked her by her most beautiful titles, and he used to call her his love and the heavenly dispenser of the graces of her Lord. In this way he infused into those who approached him an unbounded confidence in Mary’s patronage. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that Philip received from God, through Mary’s hands, some of those particular gifts which God Himself had bestowed upon His Mother.

One of these gifts was the spirit of prophecy and discernment of hearts, so that as the Holy Ghost had replenished the soul of Mary with heavenly wisdom, manifesting to her the hidden things of Heaven, so St. Philip was filled, though to a lesser degree, with this extraordinary favor of knowing things hidden to the eyes of men.

Many indeed were the things foretold by this Saint not only in ordinary matters but with regard to extraordinary events and out-of-the-way circumstances. With regard to his gift of the discernment of hearts, it must be admitted that St. Philip Neri was perfectly cognizant of the interior state of many who came to him, so much so that any one who had committed some fault and would not repent of it, did not dare to approach him, for they knew that the state of their conscience was known to him.

It was also by the aid of our blessed Lady, that St. Philip obtained the conversion of so many hardened sinners who had resisted the grace of God. By his works in the mystical vineyard of Christ, and by the victories which through his prophetical spirit he gained over sin and the devil, he won the beautiful title of “Apostle of Rome,”which was due in great part to his unbounded confidence and devotion to our blessed Lady, who is rightly invoked as the “Queen of Prophets.”

Illustration from Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day in the Year (New York: Benziger Bros., 1922). Text from Alexis M. Lepicier, The Fairest Flower of Paradise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1922).

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