from the annals of history unto our current day
Meditations for the Holy Season of Lent
by a Member of the Society of Jesus
Meditation III - Friday
On the Excellence of Mortification
1st Point. What is mortification? It is a death of love which destroys the criminal life, detaches the mind from the senses, separates the soul from the body, and makes it live in the spirit.
It is a sacrifice of love, in which the Holy Ghost is the priest, the body is the victim, the heart is the altar, pain the knife, love the fire, glory the fruit.
2nd Point. What is mortification? It is a martyrdom of love, less bloody than a martyrdom of faith, but longer and more wearisome, more free, and (in one sense) more voluntary.
What is mortification? It is a continuation of the sacrifice of the passion of Jesus, which supplies all that is wanting in his sufferings; which transforms our bodies into members of his, and animates them with his divine spirit; which makes us participate in his sorrows, merit his graces, and finally exalts us to the throne of his glory.
3rd Point. Why is it that I mortify myself so little? Alas! it is because I do not love Jesus Christ, and am not one of his members animated by his spirit; it is because I lead a sensual and carnal life, and despise and shrink from his sufferings; it is that I am the slave of my body, and seek only the pleasures of the flesh, and relish not those of the spirit, being worldly, sensual, voluptuous, and the enemy of God. Oh! in order that I may die the death of the just, I will henceforth live the life of the just; I will, from this moment, become a victim of love, that I may die in the arms of divine love.
WORDS OF SCRIPTURE
"I beseech you, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing unto God." - Romans, xii.
"I die daily." - 1 Corinthians, xv.
"With Christ I am nailed to the cross." - Galatians, ii.
"Who now rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh for his body, which is the Church." - Colossians, i.
"Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord." - Romans, vii.
Return to the Second Meditation . . .
Proceed to the Fourth Meditation