Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

May 26 | Joy (Pt. 2)

Saint Philip Neri

A.D. 1515–1595

When was the last time you did something just for the joy of it?

It is one of the things we tend to admire in people. Many of the people we admire do much of what they do just for the joy of it. What do you do just for the joy of it?

Saint Philip Neri is the patron saint of joy. And for good reason.

Philip used to pray in the catacombs of the Church of St. Sebastian in Rome. One night in 1544, several years before he was a priest, Philip received a vision in those catacombs. It was the eve of Pentecost, and a ball of fire appeared before Philip and entered into his heart. It actually broke both of his ribs, as confirmed by an autopsy after he died—which also found that his heart was massive even though he had lived to the old age of 79.

After his experience in the Catacombs on that night in 1544, Philip burned with joy. He became known for his humor and approachable nature, which he used effectively to draw people closer to God. He started a tutoring program for youth, emphasizing the importance of music, art, and laughter in spirituality. Eventually, he became known as the “Second Apostle of Rome,” after Saint Peter.

Philip became a priest in 1551, ministering to the sick, the poor, and pilgrims. By his own example, he led others to have a devotion to the Holy Spirit. Philip enthusiastically encouraged others to engage in the joyful sacraments of Confession and Communion.

Philip’s life was not all fun and games: He led a reform of Catholic clergy and also dealt with the violent upheaval of the Protestant Reformation. But he faced these challenges with a joyful spirit. 

Saint Philip Neri had truly received the fruit of the Holy Spirit that we too often forget about: Joy.

If you look at joyful people a little closer, you will discover something fascinating. For the most part, they do the same things that everyone else does, but they approach them very differently. They may work as hard as the next person, but they don't do it just to make money or because they have to, they have found a way to work joyfully. They don't focus on getting it finished so they can do something else. They focus on enjoying what they are doing and doing it well.

What can you do today just for the joy of it?


The Holy Spirit wants to give me joy.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Joy

Feast Day: May 26

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Eleuterus

Canonized: March 12, 1622

Canonized By: Pope Gregory XV

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