Summary of the Virtues of Philip Neri

By his disciple Antonio Gallonio, in Life of St Philip Neri [first published in the Holy Year, 1600] (Ignatius Press, 2005) pp. 243-248

Humility
He made a particular point of humility; he loved it always, and embraced it, being constant in his practice of it. He used to say that it was through humility that virtues are retained, whereas once humility is lost all virtue is destroyed and comes to nothing. . . . He always did all he could to avoid honors and dignities, for he knew that honor does the soul no good and brings no happiness. . . . when he had done some great thing, he would conceal his wisdom under the guise of foolishness.

Love of Poverty
He constantly prayed God to bring him to such a pitch of poverty that if he were in need of a silver coin he might find no one to give it. This, however, he never achieved.

Constancy in Prayer
He also had a great longing for prayer, so that had it been possible he would never have ceased praying. Whatever spare time he had, he dedicated to prayer. . . .when he kindled a fire of meditation he would tremble all over, and become heated with the force of the heavenly flame. . .  He was readily able to spend much of the night in prayer. . . He always tried to find himself a place that was distant and high above ordinary business, to be a more suitable place for contemplation.

The Gift of Tears
His tears flowed so readily that almost every time he prayed he would burst out weeping. . . . He could hardly listen to anyone talking about the passion and death of Christ without tears starting from his eyes.

Gentlemess
His manner was so gentle that he was incapable of anger. When it was necessary to correct his disciples or anyone else, he did so with the greatest tact and tenderness. . . . he vanquished and restrained every impulse towards anger. . . . It was that joyous countenance that drew everyone towards him, conjoined with his delightful manner.

Prudence
God adorned Philip with great prudence, which was most noticeable in the things he did for the glory of God , and in giving spiritual advice. . . Men of every type flocked to him as their master, guide and spiritual director. . .

To avoid the danger of being prolix and tedious I shall keep silent about his virginal chastity, patience under adversity, perseverance in the projects he undertook, and charity for his neighbor (he was so afire with longing to reconcile sinners to Christ).

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