Sebastiano Conca
The Vision of St. Philip Neri

18th century
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Ragusa, Sicily

The text to which the angel points is viam mandatorum tuorum cucurri cum dilatasti cor meum, "I have run the way of thy commandments, when thou didst enlarge my heart." This quotation from Psalm 118:32 (119:32 in modern numeration) refers to the palpitations and enlargement of the heart that the saint often experienced when at prayer.

The lilies refer to the virtue of chastity, which Neri is said to have helped many young men to preserve. (See Bacci, 195-203).

The vision of the Christ Child occurred one Christmas night while Neri was praying before the altar (Bacci 365).

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Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.