Five Insights on Death and Dying From St. Philip Neri

Chiesa di San Polo (Venice) - Oratorio del Crocifisso - St. Philip Neri by Giandomenico Tiepolo

These are taken from St. Philip Neri’s Sayings and Maxims, collected and arranged one for every day by his followers after his death.


How to live knowing you will die

We must not be behind time in doing good, for death will not be behind his time.

The things of this world do not remain always with us. If we do not leave them before we actually die, we all die as empty-handed as we came.

The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.

Our Death

Human language cannot express the beauty of a soul which dies in a state of grace.

We must accept our own death and that of our relations when God shall send it to us, and not desire it at any other time. It is sometimes necessary that it should happen at that particular moment for the good of our own and their souls.

Being With the Dying

In visiting the dying we should not say many words to them, but rather help them by praying for them.

On Living Toward Eternity

We have no time to go to sleep here, for Paradise was not made for poltroons.

The true servant of God acknowledges no other country but heaven.

He who does not go down into hell while he is alive, runs a great risk of going there after he is dead.

The true servants of God endure life and desire death.

On Heaven and Hell

Let us learn here below to give God the confession of praise we ought to hope to give Him in Heaven above.

He who continues in anger, strife, and a bitter spirit, has a taste of the air of Hell.

If a soul could altogether abstain from venial sins, the greatest pain it could have would be to be detained in this life, so great would its desire be of union with God.

Let us think about what a sweet and easy thing it will be in Heaven, always saying “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus” with the angels and the saints.


St. Philip’s Sayings and Maxims can be found here.

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