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Parenting Advice from St. Philip Neri

Posted by on January 12, 2015
St. Philip Neri (1515 - 1595)

St. Philip Neri (1515 – 1595)

While packing to move (We bought a house! Yay!), I found my copy of “If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri“. As I flipped through it, skimming through the daily bits of wisdom, I noticed a few that could be applied to parenting. Granted, the few recorded statements of Neri (of which most were burned at his request) chiefly concerned with fellow clergy or young men discerning that vocation. However, I think with just a little editorial license some of his advice can be applied by faithful parents.

  • Nulla dies sine linea. Do not let a day pass without some good during it.”
  • “He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed should give but few orders.”
  • “Let persons of the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the [royal] court, professions, or labor, are any hindrance to the service of God.”
  • “In dealing with your neighbor [or family members], we must assume as much pleasantness of manner as we can, and by this affibility win him to the way of virtue.”
  • “Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.”
  • “Everyone ought to give in readily to the opinion of another, and to argue in favor of another and against himself, and take things in good part.”
  • “Charity and cheerfulness, or charity and humility, should be our motto.”
  • “At table, especially where there are guests, we ought to eat every kind of food, and not say, ‘I like this’, and ‘I do not like that’.”
  • “We must take care of little faults; for he who once begins to go back and to make light of such defects, brings a sort of grossness over his conscience, and then goes wrong altogether.”
  • “For young men [and women] to make sure of persevering, it is absolutely necessary that they should avoid wicked companions, and be familiar with good ones.”
  • “The true medicine to cure us of pride, is to keep down and thwart touchiness of mind.”
  • “There is not a finer thing on earth, than to make a virtue of necessity.”
  • “To persevere our cheerfulness amid sicknesses and troubles, is a sign of a right and good spirit.”
  • “He [or she] who continues in anger, strife, and a bitter spirit has a taste of the air of hell.”
  • “If we wish to keep peace with our neighbors [or family members], we should never remind any one of his natural defects.”
  • “We must sometimes bear with little defects in others, as we have against our own will to bear with natural defects in ourselves.”
  • “We should not be quick at correcting others, but rather to think of ourselves first.”
  • “Fathers and mothers of families should bring up their children virtuously, looking at them rather as God’s children than their own; and to count life, and health, and all they possess, as loans which they hold from God.”
  • “We ought to hate no one, for God never comes where there is no love of our neighbors [or families].”
  • “How patiently Christ, the King and Lord of heaven and earth, bore with the apostles, enduring at their hands many incivilities and misbeliefs, they being but poor and rough fishermen! How much more ought we bear with our neighbor [or relative], if he treats us with incivility!”
  • “Let young men [and women] be cheerful and indulge in the recreations proper to their age, provided they keep out of the way of sin.”