It was the feast of St Philip Neri on Wednesday this week.
He lived between 1525-1595.
Philip reached out to the poor in very significant ways. He was also especially active in faith formation of young adults.
He became a priest and gathered around him other priests who had been inspired by his example.
This was the beginning of the community known as the Oratory. They are priests who live under obedience in community but were not members of religious orders.
They lived in community and ministered together in mission.
One famous member of the Oratory was Cardinal St John Henry Newman in the 19th century.
Philip had a belief that Tradition and renovation go together.
There are perennial values that need to be understood in the context of present realities.
He was also noted for having a sense of humor.
If he noticed someone being too solemn, pompous, or too serious he did his best to make them laugh and not take themselves too seriously.
He was known to do headstands or poke his tongue at people!!
People began to see his genuine holiness and when he noticed that others were beginning to ‘revere ‘ him he did something foolish so that they would see his real humanity and his imperfections, it was not about him!
Philip teaches us to keep a healthy balance in our lives.
He was deeply committed to his faith and its practice especially the service of others. However, he never became too otherworldly and lived a full humanity.
Indeed to be Christian is to be fully human.