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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
12th October 2014

St. Anthony Mary Claret on The Importance of Mortification

I look to St. Paul for my example, for he mortified himself, and said: "I chastise my body and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others I myself may become a castaway". All the saints until now have done in like manner. Venerable Rodriquez says that the Blessed Virgin said to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that no spiritual grace comes to the soul, commonly speaking, except by way of prayer and bodily afflictions. There is an old principle which goes: Woe to those who are enemies of mortification and of the cross of Christ!

In one act of mortification one can practice many virtues, according to the different ends which one proposes in each act, as for example:

1) He who mortifies his body for the purpose of checking concupiscence, performs an act of the virtue of temperance.

2) If he does this, purposing thereby to regulate his life well, it will be an act of the virtue of prudence.

3) If he mortifies himself for the purpose of satisfying for the sins of his past life, it will be an act of justice.

4) If he does it with the intention of conquering the difficulties of the spiritual life, it will be an act of fortitude.

5) If he practices this virtue of mortification for the end of offering a sacrifice to God, depriving himself of what he likes, and doing that which is bitter and repugnant to nature, it will be an act of the virtue of religion.

6) If he intends by mortification to receive greater light to know the divine attributes, it will be an act of faith.

7) If he does it for the purpose of making his salvation more and more secure, it will be an act of hope.

8) If he denies himself in order to help in the conversion of sinners, and for the release of the poor souls in purgatory, it will be an act of charity towards his neighbour.

9) If he does it so as to help the poor, it will be an act of mercy.

10) If he mortifies himself for the sake of pleasing God more and more, it will be an act of love of God.

In other words, I shall be able to put all these virtues into practice in one act of mortification, according to the end I propose to myself while doing the said act. Virtue has so much more merit, is more resplendent, charming and attractive, when accompanied by greater sacrifice.

Man, who is vile, weak, mean, cowardly, never makes a sacrifice, and is not even capable of doing so, for he never resists even one appetite or desire. Everything that his concupiscence and passions demand, he concedes, if it is in his power to yield or reject, for he is base and cowardly, and lets himself be conquered and completely overcome, just as the braver of two fighters conquers the cowardly one. So it is with vice and the vicious - the latter is crushed and the slave of his vices.