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Friday, August 1, 2014

Mortification, Penance, Suffering Seen through the Holy Spirit

By Barbara A. Schoeneberger

Flower Sellers of London, Gustave Dore, Google Art Project via Wikimedia
Flower Sellers of London by Dore
(Wikimedia Commons)

Comprehending the value of the Cross, of suffering, of willful mortification and penance is impossible with the human eye alone. We need the light of the Holy Spirit to live through that which is visited upon us just as Jesus was seized and killed by worldly powers. In the eyes of the world he was just a man, one certainly with extraordinary power to heal both hearts and bodies, but in the end, just someone who could be killed to be gotten out of the way.

To the world, suffering makes no sense. It is a mystery. Mortification and penance make no sense. The world cannot conceive the hidden meaning and value of suffering and so it vainly seeks to end it by purely earthly means – this program and that, but oddly enough only creating more suffering.

When by the grace of the Holy Spirit and with a generous heart charity seizes us, we can not only accept that which is beyond our control, but also choose to take advantage of all the many instances we find daily to deny ourselves and follow in the footsteps of the Lord.
In Meditation #97 of Divine Intimacy Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene writes:
The spirit of mortification has more than a purely physical aspect of mortification; it also includes renunciation of the ego, the will, and the understanding.

Continue reading at Barb's blog Suffering with Joy.

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