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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Notes on Mortification Again

Not a popular subject, but one I need to share before the persecution begins in earnest. Rodriguez is brilliant on this subject, being a spiritual director for Jesuits. I would like to make a few bullet points from his second volume of The Practice of Christian and Religious Perfection.

And, please note, that mortification is for all of us, not just nuns and priests. For many of us, it just comes into our lives without asking and this is a great grace. See this post...

  • Those who do not feel any interior war or struggle are in trouble. It means they have given up following the road to holiness. Rodriguez writes that this means the person is only following his own will, and giving in to sensual desires. 
  • People in the world accept suffering in order to get ahead, make money, be comfortable; so, too the suffering of those seeking perfection through mortification is to gain eternal life.
  • Those who have certain temperaments (see my previous posts on this) cannot use their temperaments as excuses for avoiding mortifications. However, some people who are more docile may not need as strict penances as those who have strong wills and strong characters.
  • St. Ephraim writes that war for the soldier lasts a certain time, but the war of the soul lasts until one dies. St. Teresa of Avila notes this as well.
  • The angel given to us at birth guides us like a governess guides children to obey and form character. Listen to this guardian angel daily.
  • Sometimes one must tell the devil that a problem is his, a temptation and sin is his, not one's own. One can address the individual devil who follows us around and tell him that these belong to him, not the one under attack. 
  • One must absolutely turn away from evil thoughts, fantasies, imaginations in order to combat sin and this is part of interior mortification. Interior mortification strengthens the will for choosing God's ways.
  • One may think of the Passion and Death of Christ as part of turning away from sin and accepting mortification interiorly. Patiently accepting suffering and not complaining are part of interior mortification.
  • Thinking on one's sins is also dangerous. Once forgiven, forget these. If not forgiven, go to confession asap. The devil can bring a person back into sin through the dwelling on sins. Those who live in the present moment are less likely to be attacked interiorly.
  • Fear binds up the interior life and weakens the will. Fear creates problems in the imagination,leading to distractions and more sin. Fear must be combated by mortifications and the acceptance of suffering.
  • We must not make decisions in times of great spiritual temptations and turmoil. God speaks to us in peace and tranquility, not in torment. Rodriguez notes that it is very dangerous to follow ideas and "lights" which come to us in times of great spiritual struggle. Stay quiet and focused, 
more later...