We honour on this day a Saint to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared to announce to him that he was to enter the Order of Servites, whose object is to honour the sorrows through which she attained the glory we have rejoiced in during eight days.
Born at Florence of the illustrious family of Benizi, St. Philip gave signs from the cradle, of his future holiness. The order of the Servants of the Virgin Mary, called Servites, had been instituted fifteen years before. The little convent was not far from the town. There, while hearing mass on the Thursday in Easter Week, St. Philip was struck by the words ut the Epistle addressed by the Holy Ghost to Philip, the deacon. As he bore that name, he applied to himself the scriptural text and feeling himself invited by the Holy Ghost to enter that Order, he left everything to purchase the imperishable treasure of heaven (Gospel). Entering as a lay brother, he was later on ordained a priest, and became general of the Servites.
The Cardinals, assembled at Viterbo, wished to elect him Pope but out of humility (Collect) he refused the honour and hid himself in the mountains. There he flourished like the palm-tree and grew like the cedar of Libanus (Introit). God then called him to evangelize Italy, France and Germany. On his return he was confirmed in his office for life. He tried to calm the animosity which existed between the Guelfs, partisans of the Pope, and the Ghibellines, partisans of the Emperor, and ran serious danger to which the Epistle alludes.
He was seized by a burning fever on Assumption Day, and died at Todi in 1285, on the day of the Octave, contemplating the crucifix.
Let us ask God to grant us the humility of St. Philip so that, despising as he did the riches of the world, we may always seek the riches of heaven (Collect).
Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus Libani multiplicabitur: plantatus in domo Domini: in atriis domus Dei nostri. * Bonum est confiteri Domino: et psallere nomini tuo, Altissime.
The just shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow up like the cedar of Libanus: planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
(Psalm 91:13-14,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Deus, qui per beatum Philippum Confessorem tuum, eximium nobis humilitatis exemplum tribuisti: da famulis tuis prospera mundi ex ejus imitatione despicere, et caelestia semper inquirere.
O God, who in blessed Philip, Thy confessor, hast set before us a marvellous example of humility: do Thou bestow upon us Thy servants, the grace to despise, as he did, all earthly prosperity, and ever to strive after heavenly things.
From the Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13736a.htm