PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Eight, Gentleness, by Philip Bochanski

Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Eight, Gentleness Philip Bochanski

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit

Hymn: Hymn To Saint Philip

This is the saint of gentleness and kindness,
Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning;
Patiently healing of their pride and blindness
Souls that are sinning.

This is the saint who, when the world allures us,
Cries her false wares, and ope’s her magic coffers,
Points to a better city, and secures us
With richer offers.

Love is his bond; he knows no other fetter,
Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him,
Willing to draw us on from good to better,
As we can bear him.

When he comes near to teach us and to bless us,
Prayer is so sweet that hours are but a minute;
Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us,
Sin is not in it.

Thus he conducts by holy paths and pleasant
Innocent souls, and sinful souls forgiven,
Towards the bright palace where our God is present,
Throned in high Heaven.

This is the saint of gentleness and kindness,
Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning;
Patiently healing of their pride and blindness
Souls that are sinning.

(John Henry Newman)


Antiphon

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created.

And you will renew the face of the Earth.


Prayer

Gentle Father, your justice is revealed in mercy, and your power in forgiveness.  May the same Holy Spirit who filled the gentle heart of Saint Philip, teach us to reach out to others with his tender love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Reading

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through to bond of peace: one body and one Spirit. (Ephesians 4:1-4a)


Responsory

The love of God has been poured into our hearts.  Alleluia.

By his Spirit living in us, alleluia.


Meditation

Gentleness allows a person to suffer “with equanimity the evils which his neighbor inflicts on him,” says Saint Thomas, and to curb anger.  This meekness and gentle spirit was evident in Saint Philip throughout his life, even when he had become the first provost, or father, of the newly-formed Congregation of the Oratory.  He did not allow himself to get puffed up with pride because of the authority which he exercised – his advice was that “he who wishes to be perfectly obeyed should give but few orders” – and advised his followers that in all things “a man should keep himself down, and now busy himself in mirabilibus super se [in marvels beyond his power].”

Saint Philips’s gentleness allowed him to remain calm even when those around him – sometimes even those closest to him – did not treat him with the respect that he deserved.  A famous story is related about Father Talpa, one of the first Oratorians.  As Newman tells it, “Once when he was Superior of the Congregation, one of his subjects snatched a letter out of his hand; but the saint took the affront with incomparable meekness, and neither in look, nor word, nor in gesture betrayed the slightest emotion.”  Although this may have amazed his other disciples, Saint Philip demanded that they always follow his example when it came to this kind of mortification.  “He who wishes to become a saint must never defend himself.  He who cannot put up with the loss of his honor can never advance.”

In order to instill this attitude in his disciples, Saint Philip insisted on the mortification of the razionale, the reasoning part of the mind that always wants to have its way, to be given explanations and consulted on matters.  To mortify this part of the self was, for Saint Philip, much more important than external mortifications like fasting, vigils, and bodily penances.  Whenever someone asked him why his disciples did not fast, he was accustomed to say, “The sanctity of a man lies within the space of three fingers,” and while he said it, he would touch his forehead, and add, in explanation of his words, “The whole point lies in mortifying the understanding since perfection consists in leading captive our own will and following that of our superiors.”

The penances that Saint Philip assigned to some of those who came to him for confession are legendary: for example, those who struggled with vanity often found themselves ordered to dress in their best attire and carry Saint Philip’s dog in their arms through the city streets, with a procession of street urchins mocking them all the way.  In this manner he hoped to teach his penitents not to be worried about the opinion others had of them, and to “keep down and thwart that touchiness of mind” that is a sure sign of pride, and that leads to unkind and ungentle behavior.  Above all else, the struggle to bear the spiritual fruit of meekness and gentleness requires a sense of humor, especially regarding ourselves and our own status.  “To preserve in our cheerfulness amid troubles is a sign of a right and good spirit.”


Litany of Saint Philip

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins, pray for us.
Saint Philip, pray for us.
Vessel of the Holy Ghost, pray for us.
Child of Mary, pray for us.
Apostle of Rome, pray for us.
Counsellor of Popes, pray for us.
Voice of prophecy, pray for us.
Man of primitive times, pray for us.
Winning saint, pray for us.
Hidden hero, pray for us.
Sweetest of Fathers, pray for us.
Flower of purity, pray for us.
Martyr of charity, pray for us.
Heart of fire, pray for us.
Discerner of spirits, pray for us.
Choicest of priests, pray for us.
Mirror of the divine life, pray for us.
Pattern of humility, pray for us.
Example of simplicity, pray for us.
Light of holy joy, pray for us.
Image of childhood, pray for us.
Picture of old age, pray for us.
Director of souls, pray for us.
Gentle guide of youth, pray for us.
Patron of thy own, pray for us.
Who didst observe chastity in thy youth, pray for us.
Who didst seek Rome by divine guidance, pray for us.
Who didst hide so long in the Catacombs, pray for us.
Who didst receive the Holy Ghost into thy heart, pray for us.
Who didst experience such wonderful ecstasies, pray for us.
Who didst so lovingly serve the little ones, pray for us.
Who didst wash the feet of pilgrims, pray for us.
Who didst ardently thirst after martyrdom, pray for us.
Who didst distribute the daily word of God, pray for us.
Who didst turn so many hearts to God, pray for us.
Who didst converse so sweetly with Mary, pray for us.
Who didst raise the dead, pray for us.
Who didst set up thy houses in all lands, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Remember thy Congregation.
Which thou hast possessed from the beginning.

O God, who hast exalted blessed Philip, your Confessor, in the glory of your saints, grant that, as we rejoice in his commemoration, so we may profit by the example of his virtues, through Christ our Lord.

Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Amen.


Doxology

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Amen.


Concluding Prayer

Heavenly Father, hear the prayers that we make in the name of your son, and give us the Paraclete whom he promised you would send.  May your love for us give us strength to respond to you, and to bear fruit in our love for you and for our neighbor.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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