Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saint Philip Neri's Advice to the Woman Who Gossiped

Saint Philip Neri was a noted spiritual director. He had a good sense of humor as well. He also could tailor his advice to each person, for the greater good of their soul.

Here is my favorite story about Saint Philip Neri. One time, a woman sought him out. (He had developed a reputation as a good confessor.) She had committed the grievous sin of destroying another's reputation with her tongue. He told her to buy a chicken, pluck it and then scatter its feathers. Then, he instructed, she must bring the plucked chicken back to his confessional. Puzzled by this advice, she did as she was told. The he told her to go and find all of the chicken's feathers.

She told him she couldn't do this. He replied that, in the same manner, her careless words could never be retrieved either. Unfortunately, she had permanently damaged someone's good name.

St. Philip Neri was born in 1515 in Florence. His family was wealthy, but he rejected worldly things in order to follow God. He was ordained to the priesthood, and eventually founded a religious order now known as the Congregation of the Oratory, or the Oratorians. He was canonized in 1622.

Flickr photo by Catedrales e Iglesias

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