Intentionally integrating the elements of the Rosary & SoulCore into our daily lives. In a sense, to become a “living rosary”, bearing witness to personal transformation, virtue, peace, and wholeness.

 

SELF-DENIAL/MORTIFICATION

Then Jesus said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

“A sculptor who wishes to carve a figure out of a block uses his chisel, first cutting away great chunks of marble, then smaller pieces, until he finally reaches a point where only a brush of hand is needed to reveal the figure. In the same way, the soul has to undergo tremendous mortifications at first, and then more refined detachments, until finally its Divine image is revealed. Because mortification is recognized as a practice of death, there is fittingly inscribed on the tomb of Duns Scotus, Bis Mortus; Semel Sepultus (twice died, but buried only once). When we die to something, something comes alive within us. If we die to self, charity comes alive; if we die to pride, service comes alive; if we die to lust, reverence for personality comes alive; if we die to anger, love comes alive.”  – Fulton J. Sheen, p. 219, Peace of Soul

During Lent 2019 we participated in a series offered by A Good Catholic. It was one of the most powerful and transformative Lent’s we can remember. One of the virtues we were asked to contemplate, and more importantly, LIVE OUT, was the virtue of self-denial or mortification. Here is a powerful excerpt from that series:

“Mortification, put simply, is voluntary self-denial. It’s the means by which we practice detachment from our self-will. An act of mortification is anything that denies us the immediate satisfaction of our inclinations, appetites, and reactions, so that these can be purified and directed to God. It’s hard work, yet the saints teach us that acts of self-denial are necessary to train our will to submit to God’s will. “The more one mortifies his natural inclinations,” said St. Francis de Sales, “the more he renders himself capable of receiving divine inspirations and of progressing in virtue.”

Mortification is a virtue, another of the “daughters” of fortitude, that helps us overcome one of the greatest human weaknesses: our fear of suffering. Fear of suffering causes us to avoid enduring the painful trials that can lead us to interior freedom. If we don’t conquer our fear of suffering, our spiritual life will remain stunted and fall short of achieving the glory God intends for us.

Mortification strengthens our soul just as athletic training strengthens the body, helping us endure trials with greater physical, mental, and spiritual resilience. We can then be more courageous in working to uproot our vices (which always begins painfully until we’re used to it) so that we can plant virtues in their place and become more holy.

As we approach Lent, may we ask God to give us the strength and fortitude to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily. We pray for the grace to increase in this virtue of mortification. Let us remember that life involves some sort of suffering one way or another, but that we never suffer alone, since we share these burdens with each other and with Jesus.