Four hundred twenty years ago, St. Philip Neri died. In Rome. People called him “the Apostle of Rome.” Which is strange since the Apostle of Rome is of course Saint…..?
What’s the biggest church on earth, built over the tomb of…..?
The first pope…..?
Rhymes with Derek Jeter…..?
But St. Peter came to Rome how long ago? Nearly 2,000 years.
Between four hundred and five hundred years ago, what we call “The Modern Age” began. And just like the Lord gave “Fathers” to His Church in ancient times, He gave the Church four special fathers at the beginning of the Modern Era. St. Charles Borromeo, Pope St. Pius V, St Ignatius Loyola, and St. Philip Neri.
Today we find ourselves at the dawn of a new age for a certain group of people among us. These people will soon make a huge transition, to what we might call “the Adult Age.” Right. The Senior Class.
Do you mind if I try to boil down the teaching of the Fathers of the Modern Church? Into a few simple guidelines?
1. Love Jesus Christ more than anything else in life. Do not let a single day go by without expressing to Jesus how much you love Him.
2. Know your catechism. Know the Nicene Creed, the seven sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Our Father by heart. Meditate regularly on the Creed and the Commandments.
3. Go to Mass at least once a week and Confession at least once a month.
4. In the course of our daily lives, opportunities to pray often arise. Always take them. Opportunities to visit the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle often arise. Always take them.
Can I boldly venture to tell you something that I don’t know for 100% sure, but I am pretty doggone sure? Here it is:
The people who have lived during the Modern Age, who have followed these guidelines of the holy fathers of 500 years ago–the people who have followed these guidelines have wound up in heaven.
Heaven is full of Italians, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Germans, Dutch people, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Mexicans, Africans, Brazilians, and Americans–business people, teachers, doctors, lawyers, researchers, repairmen, statesmen, housewives, mothers, aunts, dancers, actors, writers, technicians, restaurateurs–heaven is full of all these kinds of people, who have lived their lives during the past 500 years, and have followed these guidelines.
Live long and prosper, dear seniors, soon-to-be graduates! We are very proud of you! Stand tall, love God, stay straight. And do us even prouder by living an adult life primarily focused on getting to heaven.