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Sunday, 27 January 2013

On choosing mortification on the road to perfection


Although spiritual directors are slim on the ground, one should try and ask a priest for advice on mortifications.

Two months ago, in Ireland, I did just that. The answer was interesting.

The holy priest said he did not suggest standing in cold water or extreme fasting. He said for me my life was a penance.

And so it is for many of us.

For those who live alone, loneliness and isolation, as well as the deprivation of love are part of a huge mortification.

For those who are poor and lack freedom to do what they want, when they want and how they want, or to have what they want, poverty is a limiting mortification.

For those who lack status in society and are even looked down upon daily and judged, such things are mortifying.

For the ill, whose activities are limited by pain and inconveniences, mortifications happen daily and the illness itself is mortifying.

That is the point of such sufferings. If God brings these, rejoice, as you do not have to come up with other mortifications.

That was the priest's point.

For those who have no mortifying circumstances, such sufferings must be sought out.

No kidding.

No pain, no gain.

Why?

Simple answer = pride of life.

One of the saddest persons I met years ago, although she did not know she was a sad case, was a woman of moderate wealth, who bragged that God gave her money to decorate her house over and over in order to glorify Him.

I wondered who exactly was her god.

I found it odd that her extravagance was couched in the language of suffering. There was no suffering in her shopping for the best and the latest and the most for her large house. None.

She said it glorified God to have all those those things.

I was amazed. She chose to live in self-deceit.

She was stuck in the fear of suffering. As long as we fear suffering, we cannot advance.

So much better if God permits mortifications. I have a list, which I published last year. Paul had a list. Some have a life of the Cross. They are blessed.

Good. I do not have to run after false crosses, but only accept those which are given to me.

Do not make an own goal.


Allow Christ to share the Cross He do desires. And, if you have little or no suffering, you must choose something hard, not easy, but hard.

6 comments:

Anita Moore said...

In his Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, St. Thomas More says precisely this, that if you lack tribulations in your life, you must seek them out. He says a life free of tribulations (and he means a life of perfect worldly comfort, wholly undisturbed even by the desire for mortification) means that God is fed up. It is a sign of damnation, and that soon.

Jennifer B.D. said...

I am a married homeschooling mother of 3 on earth with 2 babies in heaven. But not sure if my life in and of itself would be considered mortifying. I have done periods of fasting for different intentions. Should we, can we consider daily aggravations, frustrations, disappointments, and struggles sufferings or mortifications? Or are they just things that help us to practice virtue?

Supertradmum said...

Anita, scary and I had forgotten about that book so many thanks.

Pray for the complacent.

Supertradmum said...

Jennifer,

Yes and Yes.

First of all, all those trials are part of either the first step of your purification (see tomorrow's post and the entire tagged perfection series) or the final purifying in the Illuminative state.

I am not sure you should fast, but ask your confessor. Three children are a handful. And you must keep your health good for them.

Virtue comes out of all those difficulties.

I am still learning patience, being naturally the opposite-and many trials bring me more and more to that good virtue, which is given and we must practice...like our muscles.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I find that marriage is a daily mortification, to the point where I have sometimes regretted getting married. My life was 100 times easier as a single person, although there were times of loneliness. Sometimes I find it difficult to accept my state of life, no matter how much I love my husband. I suppose what that reveals is how deep my selfishness is.

LM

Supertradmum said...

Dear LM, you will get to heaven before the rest of us singles. God loves you dearly and if you love your husband in your will, which is real love, he and you will be saved. Persevere and pray to Mary, daily.

There is hope. I have a story I shall put on the blog soon about hope in marriage.