Motives For Mortification

 St. Augustine

 & Some recommended Mortifications

1. Because Sin Separates us From God;

In Advent Penance is preached to us because sin is the real thing which separates us from god, our Father and Lord.

(a) Christ is the light and we should not separate ourselves from him if we wish to live:

John was not the light, but came to give testimony to that real, true light, which was Christ. We must see clearly whom it is that lives within us; that we should not separate ourselves from him who does not depart from us. He comes to us, and so that we may receive him, he sends ahead of him a herald, he seeks testimony from mere man, so as to help. We are so weak that we have to seek the light of day through that other lights, a mere lantern as was John.

(b) Sin separates us From God, who dwells among us:

He is not far from us in whom we live, move and have our being. Only your owen evil can separate you from God. Break down the wall of sin, and you will be once more united with him . . . We have to Confess that, although God is everywhere by his presence and is power, his not everywhere by the indwelling of his grace. Those are said to be far from him who have made themselves unlike him by their sins; while they are said to draw near to God who, through their good lives, receive his likeness. Rightly do we say that the blinder an eye is the further it is from the light. Even when the Light is near to all, is there anything further from it than a blind eye, bathed in that same light?

(c) But God Continues to Love us and To wait for us:

They (Sinners) are ignorant of the fact that you are present to all, even those who separate themselves from you. Let them be converted and seek you, because not as they abandoned their Creator do you abandon your creature. Let them but be converted and you will be there again, in their hearts, the hearts of those who confess their sins and cast themselves on your bosom, weeping.

(d) God Loves you and hates your sins:

He hates your works; he loves you. He hates what you did, but he loves what God did. Your works are sinful, and you are a man made to God's image and likeness. You forget what God did for you, and love that which you yourselves have done.

"In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin." (Ecclus. vii. 40)

Recommended Mortifications;

1. Corporal or External Fast, including both fasting in the quantity and frequency of food eaten and abstinence from fleshmeat on Fridays and certain other days. In a broader sense, the fast can include limitation of secular music, particularly the more profane forms, refraining from attending "parties," etc. Any of the following penitential practices might be used on a given day:

1. Take less of what you like and more of what you dislike at meals.

2. Take nothing to drink between meals.

3. Do not use seasoning on your food.

4. Do not use any sweeteners with your food or drinks.

5. Take only one helping of each item at meals.

6. Avoid listening to the radio or television all day; instead, read the Passion of Christ in your handmissal or Bible.

7. Say part of the Divine Office or of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

8. Sing one of the chants of the Church.

9. I will arise from bed immediately at the first call or alarm.

10. At meals, I will accept what is served without complaint of fussiness.

11. I will not look around in chapel to see what others are doing.

Spiritual or Internal Fast, which consists of abstinence from "all evil" -- sin. St. John Chrysostom taught that the "value of fasting consists not so much in abstinence from food, but rather in withdrawal from sinful practices." And St. Basi l the great explains: "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires, and avoiding all gossip, lying, and swearing. To abstain from these things -- herein lies the true value of fast! "

1. Don't do any unnecessary talking; instead, say little aspirations through the day.

2. Exercise your patience in all things.

3. Don't make any complaints.

4. Restrain any anger, and go out of your way to be kind to the person who caused your anger.

5. Don't be distracted with someone else's business.

6. At times, I will refrain from saying some unnecessary thing I wish to say.

7. I will force myself to smile and be cheerful when I feel sad or irritated.

8. I will mortify my curiosity by not trying to know the latest news that does not concern me.

9. I will not complain of little discomforts and inconveniences, and even, at times, seek them out.

10. Whenever it is possible, I will do the will of others instead of my own.

11. I will be especially kind and friendly to the person that most annoys me.

12. I will say a little aspiration and lift my mind to God each time the clock strikes the hour.

13. I will say, "Thank You, God," whenever something happens contrary to my will.

14. When possible, I will wait for a time before doing something I am most eager to do.

15. I will discontinue without delay any pleasurable occupations if duty, obedience, or charity calls me elsewhere.

16. When others do not agree with me in matters of slight importance, I will keep silent and not press my opinion.

17. Whenever I awake in the night, I will raise my heart to God.

18. I will not excuse myself when blamed.

Spiritual Change, achieved by the practice of virtues and good works, must be the main objective of our fasting. The Fathers of the Church insisted that during Lent the faithful attend all the traditional Lent church services that are availabl e to them, including Ash Wednesday and Holy Week. (Mancipia Press)

More Motives for Mortification:

In order to make satisfaction for my sins.

To overcome my faults and sins.

To draw blessings down on my loved ones.

To assist the suffering souls in purgatory.

In order to conquer myself.

To gain strength against temptations.

To obtain the conversion of sinners.

To procure graces for my special intentions.