St. Philip Neri, for me a familiar name and not just because there is a Catholic parish here in Omaha named for him. My faith roots began with my Baptism at St. Philip Neri in Chicago. Because we moved from that area just before I went to kindergarten, I was never a student in the parish school.
Just for fun, I checked the internet and discovered that the parish is still going and the school has grown into an education center for that area of Chicago, south and very near Lake Michigan.
I appreciate the prompting to check and see what has happened to a piece of my history that this reflection assignment spurred. Strangely comforting, to find it intact and even having thrived over the decades.
Philip Neri came from Florence, but moved on from there to Rome to study theology and pursue a life of ministry to God. Among the friends he met was St. Ignatius where though he did not become a Companion, he did send others toward that Company of Jesus.
At the age of nearly 30, Philip was counseled to become a priest, though humility had kept him from this path until then. After ordination, he took to the counseling of young men and heard confessions several hours per day. What appeared to fortify him throughout his life was his ability to take himself and others lightly.
I found this prayer and pass it on to you as worth our consideration:
Not an easy concept or practice, but perhaps when sprinkled with a dose of Philip’s humor a little more attractive. Perhaps today, we can intend to be aware of the opportunities for exercising a style of servant leadership as our day progresses and see how we and others engage this style—or not.
Remember, though, with a light touch!
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