Feast of Saints Philip and James

Scripture Readings:  1 Cor 15:1-8; Jn 14:6-14        

In high school when asked why I wanted to be a monk I replied, “To know God as a Friend.”  That was the desire of the apostle Philip when he said, “Show us the Father and it will be enough.”  It’s the purpose of life as expressed in the Baltimore Catechism, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.”

Archbishop Sheen writes that, “A little child who believes we were made to know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in the next world … is more profoundly educated than a university professor who does not know the Master of the Universe.”1 

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology, writes that among his patients over thirty-five there was not one who was really healed who did not regain his religious outlook on the purpose of life.2  

Philip found it, and he speaks for all of us when he says, “Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied” (Jn 14:8).   

  1. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: Go to Heaven, Catholic Book Club, London, p. 75.
  2. Carl G. Jung: The Journal of General Education. Vol. XXII, No. 1. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, London. “During the past 30 years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me. Many hundreds of patients have passed through my hands… Among all my patients in the second half of life—that is to say, over thirty-five—there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.  It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost what the living religions of every age had given to their followers, and none of them was really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.” 




Feast of Saints Philip and James

Scripture Readings: 1 Cor 15:1-8;  Jn 14:6-14

“Show us the Father.” In the monastery, after the death of a monk like Br. Kevin, we keep a crucifix at his place in the dining room for thirty days.  It’s a reminder to pray for him. And during the liturgical year we remember the feasts of apostles like Philip and James who gave their lives for Christ, not to pray for them, because martyrs go straight to heaven, but to ask them to pray for us.

But is it only martyrs and great saints who can skip past purgatory?  Could a monk like Br. Kevin go straight to heaven?  It is good to recall again St. Bernard’s Sermon on Perseverance where he writes:  “Let me tell you something for your fuller consolation. Receive it as my most solemn assurance that … there have flown to the everlasting joys above, the souls of choir religious, lay brothers, and novices without the least hindrance once they were set free from the chains of our mortality. And if you desire to know how I can be so certain of this, let me inform you that it has been declared and revealed to me with the clearest and most indubitable evidence.1   

Receiving the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick out of love for Jesus prepares all of us, not just monks, to go straight to heaven so that when we die we will hear Jesus say to us, “Come, let us go to the Father.”

1. St. Bernard’s Sermons, vol. 3, translated by a Priest of Mount Melleray, The Carroll Press, Westminster, 1950, On the Motives for Fervor and Perseverance in the Service of God, 543.