Thursday, January 28, 2010

The reason for corporal mortification

By Bill on Thursday, January 28, 2010 in US Catholic

The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, but we know, from Scripture and personal experience, that it is also weak. We are prone to concupiscence to some degree or other.

Jesus fasted; Jesus prayed to strengthen himself; Jesus voluntarily suffered for others. And so can we. He brought supernatural meaning to suffering. Through Jesus so can we.

Jesus' suffering continues...he continues to offer Himself to the Father 24/7 through the Holy Mass, the divine liturgy that continues on earth and in heaven.

re: beating. Jesus in numerous passages in the Bible reminded us that we shouldn't let anything get in the way of loving God, not even our body ("pluck it out").

I've never led a Church of 1 Billion people as the Holy Father did. I will never do the work of Mother Teresa. Both, though, engaged in mortification under the supervision of a spiritual director.

Odd how we can accept and near-adore people who watch their weight/lose weight, pound their flesh in a gym, train and improve their health for a variety of secular reasons (some good and not so good...e.g., pride, vanity)..but we can't seem to stop and consider doing it for a supernatural seek perfect union with God, leaving all else behind.

Wearing a religious habit is a form of self-denial, a form of dying to oneself, leaving oneself behind...and can be a way to grow closer with God.
anything that keeps us from this....from perfect unity with Christ.

So anytime we suffer (passively..that is when it's thrust on us...illness, accident, etc.)...we need to do this WITH Christ....we need to turn that suffering into an opportunity for union with Christ...turn it into prayer...a conversation with Christ..suffering becomes an encounter with God.

Now, there are many things that keep us away from Him...e.g, inordinate attachment to comfort, pleasure, focusing on ourselves, ease. etc.

Taking a cold shower is a form of's not torture. It's a way of having one's will take charge of one's body, one's emotions.

Some are called to huge tasks for God....the Holy Father used to do penance for others. He suffered for Christ, and like we should.
God want us to be one with Him and for us to help as many of His children (our brothers and sisters) to grow closer to Him, little by little, day by day, until we die.

What can keep us from perfect union? Many, many things. Our pride, our selfishness, our love of comfort, our ideas, our opinions, our fluctuating emotions, etc.

The need and value of mortification is laid out both in the OT and NT, as well as throughout the Early Church, all the way up to today. Offerings, sacrifices...if done to be in union with God...are good things.

Mortification is not well understood among Protestants and many Catholics.

Smiling when one doesn't want to help others, to give thanks to God, etc is a form of mortification. Working for the poor, for the Love of God, may cause discomfort, make take effort, may actually hurt....all good to do. Doing so can bring us closer to God.

Remember the real meaning of atonement (At-ONE-ment). We need to be completely one with God...and we need to die to ourselves, as St Paul reminded

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