Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

St. Philip Neri, Roman Socrates

I don't know much about St. Philip, but I'm loving this online book about him. Much kudos to Hilary.

His tactics were entirely spiritual and none could avoid his influence except by avoiding him altogether; and there he was, like another Socrates, with apparently nothing else to do but wander about the Roman streets joining in every kind of group quite freely, as ready to play quoits as to pass his time in any shop where customers, without any intention of buying anything, could talk indefinitely. Far from being put out by banter he soon earned a reputation for more than holding his own; his presence attracted the gossips and jokers who could be sure of entertainment in his company, the vague fear of being told the truth about themselves merely adding spice to the occasion.

This is not to imply that he hid his religion, but his very exhortations took the form of quips and his witticisms left a spark in the soul that did not die out easily. His shrewdness is shown by the fact that a teasing joke thrown out in passing often altered the whole course of someone’s life.

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