Mortification – Fourteenth Day of March
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.” — St. Matt. 16:24.
Many Christians make incisions instead of circumcision. There are few who use the knife of circumcision to cut out of the heart all that is superfluous. — St. Francis of Sales.
St. Jerome says of St. Paula that from her youth she applied herself to eradicate from her heart all that she thought disagreeable to God. During the life of her husband, her life was such that it might have been proposed as a model to the ladies of Rome. At his death, finding herself released from obligations to a world she abhorred, she embraced a most austere life. She took little sleep, spent the greater part of the night in prayer. She fasted rigorously, and practiced other mortifications equally severe. When she confessed even the lightest of faults, it was with such abundant tears that, to one who was not acquainted with her, she might be taken for the greatest of sinners. Sometimes it would be said to her: “Do not weep so much; you will lose the sight of your eyes, which is necessary for the reading of holy books. Moderate your austerities, or you will ruin your health.” She would reply: “I must disfigure this face which I have tried to make so beautiful; I must chastise this body for which I have procured so many delights. Tears should follow laughter. When one has worn robes of luxury and vanity, should one not bear the rough hair-cloth? I have studies to please the world; now my desire is to please God, God alone.”
O my God, by how many ties do I not cling to earth! Break them for me, my God; grant that I may no longer be attached to riches which perish, honors which are vain, pleasures so false.