The Happy Priest: Mortification in our Lives - Keeping the Temple Clean
Acts of mortification include not snacking between meals, eating smaller portions, eating healthy foods, saving deserts for Sundays and special feast days, and exercising moderation in the use of alcoholic beverages.
Laziness or sloth is also a very controlling sin. The lazy person is not so much concerned about the bad that he does, but the good that is left undone. The lazy person has to form and strengthen the will. Getting up on time in the morning, making your bed, cleaning your room, doing your duty with perfection, using your time well, regular physical exercise and personal discipline are very important acts of mortification that will successfully uproot the sin of laziness and replace it with the virtue of diligence.
Lust is another big struggle, if not the biggest for most people. Of all of the sins that have been mentioned thus far, this one is the most addictive. Lust must be dealt with severely. This is something that we cannot fool around with.
The best weapon against lust is to run away from the occasions of sin.
When we accept our weakness, we will not put ourselves into dangerous situations.
If the cable is a problem, then get rid of it. If the Internet is a problem, then do not have it home, use it at work only. Living a moral life, modesty in dress, control of our eyes, avoiding sensual movies and television programs, and staying away from dangerous situations are some of the things that we can do to replace lust with the virtue of chastity.
Finally, anger is another sin that most people struggle with. Anger must be replaced with the virtue of charity. Never deal with situations such as disciplining children when you are angry. Exercise mortification by walking away from a difficult situation and deal with it latter when you are serene.
Walking around the neighborhood for a few minutes can be very beneficial when you are ready to explode. Physical exercise is also a good remedy for anger. After work, it is a good habit to work out at the local gym or go for a run. You can blow off a lot of steam and stress, and then enter your house calm and refreshed.
Of course, all of these acts of mortification that I have mentioned presuppose a mature spiritual life. Self-knowledge, a serious battle plan, and the regular use of the Sacrament of Confession are also indispensable tools for spiritual growth and development.
Remember, the goal of our spiritual life is to become a new person in Christ. It is not enough just to be a "good person" or to be "nice." We are called to be saints. My new book Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics provides an easy to understand practical guide how to develop and live a serious spiritual life and a deeper relationship with God. It is a perfect manual for anyone that wants to progress in the spiritual life.
The continual struggle with ourselves can be exhausting at times. We can even become discouraged when we struggle over long periods of time with the same sin. Discouragement must be met with Christian hope. There maybe something that we will struggle with for the rest of our lives. We may chase the thing out of our temple, but it keeps on trying to get back in. It may continually pound on the door, look for an open window, or even a crack in the foundation. If a dominant fault does not go away, it must be surrounded with heroic virtue.
Saint Paul was given an answer that he was not looking for when he complained to the Lord about his "thorn in the flesh." "My grace is enough for you: my power is at is best in weakness" (II Corinthians 12: 9).
Let us then take up a whip and chase out of our soul whatever maybe an obstacle to our relationship with Jesus Christ. Mortification is an act of the will. Mortification cannot be based on wishful thinking. We have to really die to ourselves in order for Jesus to live in our temple. Dying to sin, attachments, addictions, obsessions and selfish tendencies will be a painful and even dramatic experience.
But, too many people today are looking for an easy Christianity. We need to look upon the crucifix and understand once again that the only Jesus that there is, is the Crucified Jesus.
Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX. Check out Father's updated website to learn more about his books, homilies and audio podcasts.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Sunday homily, Lent, Catholic spirituality, mortification, spiritual progress, Father James Farfaglia, Get Serious
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