Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just one St. Philip Neri story

For today, St. Philip's Day, just one story out of the thousands. Narwen, Gerard, and company have posted many more. St. Philip Neri was, among other great things, one of our world's greatest joy addicts.

Today's story also is a reminder that prayerful holy people tend to think alike: there is a similar incident, only involving a down pillow, in the life of the Ba'al Shem Tov.

So, one day, not long after Philip Neri was ordained, a penitent came to him, a society woman with a major problem --- she loved to gossip, the more shocking or scandalous the better, and she wanted to stop but didn't know how.

Philip told her: Go to the market and buy a good plump fresh-killed chicken, and pluck it when you bring it to me. So she did; she bought a plump chicken, and plucked it as she was taking it back to Philip.

Philip thanked her for the chicken, then continued: Now, gather up the feathers and bring them all here also. The society woman was totally dismayed, saying: I cannot gather them, they have blown to all places on the wind.

Philip replied: Precisely. This is the same as what happens to the tales you tell; they fly away all over, and you cannot take them back or unsay them, and others can pick them up and use them as they would. Now go, and commit no more slander. She left him, and was freed of her problems with sins of speech.

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