Mortification – Seventeenth Day of March
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.” — St. Matt. 16:24.
By continually mortifying the passions during one month, there is more merit than in practicing for years austere mortifications in which self-love perhaps has the greater part. — St. John of the Cross.
During the time St. Magdalene of Pazzi was mistress of novices, she spoke frequently to them of the necessity of opposing their natural inclinations if they would advance in virtue, and took every occasion to aid them in this salutary practice. To those who had more taste for prayer she gave more manual exercises, and to those who loved work she gave exercises of piety. She found means to humble those in whom she discovered a great repugnance for the virtue of humility. On one occasion, perceiving that one of the novices had a particular affection for a book which the saint herself had written, she obliged her to burn it. These novices, convinced that their mistress sought only their spiritual good, obeyed and made rapid progress in virtue.
Among many little sacrifices made, the following is related of a nobleman, who was much beloved by his prince, and from whom he received a letter during the time he happened to be making a retreat in a religious house. He felt within himself a strong desire to sacrifice to God the pleasure he would derive from reading this letter from so dear a friend during the time of his retreat. He obey this impulse of grace, thereby rendering himself more agreeable to God and bringing down abundant blessings.
My God, give me the spirit of mortification. I wish to please Thee; to refuse everything to my passions, and refuse nothing that grace asks of me. I will often ask myself, “What does grace ask?” When I have discovered that, I will hasten to obey.