If you’re looking to deepen your love for God, our Lady and the saints, and your neighbor, this series of admonitions and counsels from the great St. Philip Neri, arranged by month, can help. In addition to your regular reading of Sacred Scripture and other daily devotions, such as praying the rosary, ingesting these spiritual one-a-day vitamins can give your interior life a real boost.
1. WELL! when shall we have a mind to begin to do good?
2. Nulla dies sine linea: Do not let a day pass without doing some good during it.
3. We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time.
4. Happy is the youth, because he has time before him to do good.
5. It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it.
6. He who wishes for anything but Christ, does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works, and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing.
7. Let no one wear a mask, otherwise he will do ill; and if he has one, let him burn it.
8. Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it.
9. God has no need of men.
10. If God be with us, there is no one else left to fear.
11. He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders.
12. A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se.
13. Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them.
14. The name of Jesus, pronounced with reverence and affection, has a kind of power to soften the heart.
is a short cut to perfection.
16. They who really wish to advance in the ways of God, must give themselves up into the hands of their superiors always and in everything; and they who are not living under obedience must subject themselves of their own accord to a learned and discreet confessor, whom they must obey in the place of God, disclosing to him with perfect freedom and simplicity the affairs of their soul, and they should never come to any resolution without his advice.
17. There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good.
18. Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director.
19. When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last.
20. Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God.
21. Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts.
22. In order to be really obedient, it is not enough to do what obedience commands, we must do it without reasoning upon it.
23. Our Blessed Lady ought to be our love and our consolation.
24. The good works which we do of our own will, are not so meritorious as those that are done under obedience.
25. The most beautiful prayer we can make, is to say to God, “As Thou knowest and willest, O Lord, so do with me.”
26. When tribulations, infirmities, and contradictions come, we must not run away in a fright, but vanquish them like men.
27. It is not enough to see that God wishes the good we aim at, but that He wishes it through our instrumentality, in our manner and in our time; and we come to discern all this by true obedience.
28. In order to be perfect, we must not only obey and honour our superiors; we must honour our equals and inferiors also.
29. In dealing with our neighbour, we must assume as much pleasantness of manner as we can, and by this affability win him to the way of virtue.
30. A man who leads a common life under obedience, is more to be esteemed than one who does great penance after his own will.
31. To mortify one passion, no matter how small, is a greater help in the spiritual life than many abstinences, fasts, and disciplines.