Saint Philip Neri
Saint Philip Neri
Philip Neri is known as the patron saint of mirth and joy. What a way to be remembered! When he walked into a room, a ray of Christ’s light came with Him. People felt at ease when he was there, and were able to be fully themselves. His joy and goodness was so contagious it caused even rowdy children or hateful people to become joyful and gentle in his midst. But he wasn’t a clown, he lived a transformative life. He was known for breaking through pretenses and asking simple gentle questions that changed peoples lives. He could let anyone to see the good in their lives.
He was also incredibly devout and a mystic. One day before Pentecost, he begged God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He repeatedly asked God for each of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to fill his heart to the brim. He saw a fire of divine love descend from above and enter his heart. The fire burned without any pain and caused a love of such intensity that he fell to the ground in ecstasy, saying, "Enough, enough, Lord, I can bear no more.” When he became fully conscious again, he found his heart nearly swelling out of his chest and beating very powerfully.
Four effects of this experience remained with him for life. He experienced excessive heat from within his chest for the rest of his life. Many of his friends said being with him was like sitting next to a fire. He experienced trembling. So much sometimes the whole room shook while he prayed. He also experienced healing from the love of Christ being within him. People who visited him with illness or anxiety would place their hands on his heart and be healed. After Philip died, the doctors of the autopsy said his rib cage had arched physically outwards to contain his heart. He also experienced swelling of his body- especially when others were praying for gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts literally swelled up within him.
God desires to do radical things within our hearts. He desires to place his divine love within us. Maybe we won’t shake a room from receiving this kind of love, but we are invited to be fully us. How is God calling you to be joyful today? How is he calling you to receive His divine love within you?