Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
We are by now well into our Parish Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of St. Philip Neri. By today, we will have visited Florence, most importantly seeing the place where St. Philip was baptized. We also would have visited the great Dominican Church of San Marco, where St. Philip learned our holy Faith from the friars. San Marco is also known as the Monastery of fra Angelico, the great fifteenth century artist. We have also been to Assisi, the birthplace and home of great St. Francis, who did so much to remain faithful to the Lord’s request to rebuild His Church. We have also visited Naples, the Amalfi Coastline, Sorrento, and Monte Cassino. Monte Cassino is the home of St. Benedict’s monastery, where he established the Benedictine Order. Historically, this monastery is known as one of the great battles of World War II, having been completely destroyed, and then rebuilt, by the Americans. Monte Cassino is significant in the life of St. Philip as he lived near here when he was sent to live with his uncle shortly after his eighteenth birthday. It was here that he grew to have a great love for the Fathers of the Church, meditation, prayer, while fostering devotion to the Sacred Liturgy. Like St. Philip, from Monte Cassino, we will continue on to Rome later today.
Please know that we are all praying for you as we travel across Italy, seeing many of the places and sights that formed St. Philip. Hopefully we will be able to bring a little bit of his spirit back with us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, that we return safety!
I want to welcome to Old St. Mary’s today, Fr. Michael Palud, the Provost of the Port Antonio Oratory in Jaimica. Please give him a warm welcome!
It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Advent will follow very closely behind. During this time, as we watch the seasons change, it is always good to meditate upon our own mortality. It isn’t a pleasant thought, but it is a very essential one. A number of the saints recommend a meditation on our death as the place where the spiritual life truly begins. For if we refuse to grasp the fact that one day we will die, and that we will be judged for the decisions we have made and the things we have done, then we will never be fully sorry for those things we have done wrong. We will also never be able to fully prepare ourselves for Heaven. St. Philip would often say, and remind others, that our citizenship is not here, but rather is in Heaven. In order to obtain it, we must learn the art of dying well, so that we can live well. For your meditation, I present this brief reflection of St. Robert Bellarmine. Have a blessed week ahead!
“We must acknowledge that it is a most dangerous thing to deter till death our conversion from sin to virtue: far more happy are they who begin to carry the yoke of the Lord “from their youth,” as Jeremiah saith; and exceedingly blessed are those, “who were not defiled with women, and in whose mouth there was found no lie: for they are without spot before the throne of God. These were purchased from among men, the first-fruits to God and to the Lamb.” (Apoc. xiv.4, 5.) Such were Jeremias, and St. John, “more than a prophet;” and above all, the Mother of our Lord, as well as many more whom God alone knoweth. This first great truth now remains established, that a good death depends upon a good life.” – St. Robert Bellarmine