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Good Fr. Carota on mortification February 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Latin Mass, mortification, priests, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

You should check out Fr. Peter Carota’s blog regularly.  He frequently has many gems.

Below are excerpts from his recent post on mortification.

Hardly anyone today believes in sacrifices or mortification to be able to do God’s will and obtain His gift of Heaven.  The concept of denying oneself of pleasures is a repulsive thought to our instant gratification culture.  Yet when you read any one of the lives of the saints, you see they did all sorts of sacrifices and mortifications.  Many would do what is called “the discipline”, which comprised of whipping themselves.IMG_2509-1

In our self-indulgent society, that seems repulsive.  I have read many Catholic books and magazine articles, where the modern authors have judged these saints as being psychotic and masochistic. [Even many traditional priests seem very leery of this.  They generally counsel not to take the discipline, even though it was once a very wide ascetic practice.  Nowadays, they tend to fear people are getting off on beating themselves, but I think that might be an ungenerous view.  Nevertheless, always discuss with your spiritual director before beginning any such practice] One of these saints, and the most famous, was St. Francis of Assisi.  We see his statue in many gardens, but the idea of him having fasted and beaten himself is absurd to the modern mind.  [of course, we all “know” St. Francis was just a groovy hippy]  Yet look at the miracles that he and all these saints did during their lives and after.

When we give in to our bodily desires, we end up being “under the yoke of bondage”.  We become slaves to our passions.  The more our society, our Church, becomes permissive, the more we find ourselves becoming addicts.  Indulging in carnal pleasures does not lead to freedom and happiness, but to enslavement and depression. [Just a really key point]

StatueofStJohnofMathawhowithStFelixIn the letter to the Galatians, St. Paul clearly shows that the fruits of the flesh are contrary to the fruits of the Spirit.

For the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary one to another: so that you do not the things that you would.  But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.”  

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.  Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity.  Against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s, have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences.” Galatians 5: 17-24……….

……All of us, even if we are not giving into the lures of flesh, are tempted.  In resisting these temptations, rather than indulging in them, we grow stronger in will power.  Also, by small and large sacrifices, we discipline our will to want what is good and holy and to reject what is not.  Then we start to see clearer (with our intellect) that what our faith asks of us, is good and to be willed for.  We now begin to will what is eternally good, rather than the temporally pleasing end.  We begin to gratify the soul and not the senses (the belly).

Mortification helps us develop good habits and suppress bad ones.  This is not done to obtain a natural good, like having a slim body, but for obtaining the soul’s spiritual good. [however, it is desirable and pleasing to God that we keep our bodies fit and in good working condition, the better to serve Him. But we don’t make looking good an end in itself]  And the more we conform our will to that of God, the more we please Him.  Then He listens to our prayers, that have become less self-centered and more God and other centered, and we get our prayers answered.jesusbackpiece[1]

External mortification (self-inflicted), such as fasting, silence, hard bed and the abstaining from lawful pleasures, are good and helpful to our souls.  But traditional spiritual writers emphasize even more the importance of internal mortification like rooting out pride and self-love.  And along with this can be the acceptance of our suffering that comes along with our state in life.  With the help of God, and the example of Jesus and the saints, we can learn how to put to death the lambconstant demands our flesh is making on us (food, sweets, comfort, sex and rest), to be more ready to obey God and do good for others.

One way we traditional Catholics can mortify ourselves is to make the sacrifice of going to the Latin Mass even when it is far away and we have to get up early. [For the readers I know who do this, it is a great sacrifice and very pleasing to God.]  All the kneeling you do in the Latin Mass is another form of sacrifice.  Offering up all the terrible news about the destruction of Catholic liturgy and morals (inside and outside the Church) can be another form of sacrifice.  Loving and forgiving the people in the Church, in our family, our friends, who persecute us for trying to maintain truth and modesty, is another way of sacrificing.

————-End Quote————-

We can also offer our mortifications for benefit of others, especially the poor souls in Purgatory.

The collapse in the practice of mortification is one of the most disastrous trends in the modern Church.  For all prior history, going back to the Apostles, voluntary mortification was seen as just an absolutely essential part of the spiritual life, along with prayer and study.  That is why the Church, in Her wisdom, developed so many periods of fasting, to aid people in growth in virtue.

It was a huge mistake to wipe most of that away over the course of the 20th century, pretending “modern” man somehow did not need to mortify himself.  Quite the contrary, we especially need it, because never in history has there been so much abundance so easily available, as well as so many ways to commit hideous sins of concupiscence! We lowered our defenses at exactly the wrong moment!  Such a shame.

This Septuagesima and Lent, find some good and/or new ways to practice mortification.  Start small, you don’t have to be a hero, but if you keep after it, you can build up to some serious practice of virtue.


1. discipleofthedumbox - February 19, 2014

Good stuff. I would make the argument that what is needed in this post-modern age is a return to the painful mortifications of the past in order to combat the great excesses of today.

I have added Father’s blog to my blog roll. Thanks for the recommendation.

2. TG - February 19, 2014

Thanks for the post. The part of whipping one self – from what I read St. Teresa of Avila did it but then quit doing it. Now a days, you have to be careful. Some doctor might think you’re crazy or accuse your spouse of abuse. It’s not anything I would do. Isn’t your body supposed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit?

3. St Maravillas21 - February 19, 2014

Reblogged this on Carmel, Garden of God.

4. pace1776 - February 19, 2014

Does Fr. Carota say the New Mass?

/s/ Make “Nick” Your Pick for Texas Governor in 2014 “For God…Family…Property…and NFL (no free lunch)”

Veritas & Aequitas

V for Victory…and Viva Cristo Rey!

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 17:32:18 +0000 To: nlandholt@hotmail.com

5. Adoration Rocks (@AdorationRocks) - February 19, 2014

Been a subscriber to Fr. Carota’s blog for months now; what’s wonderful is that he doesn’t talk above anyone’s head, is courageous beyond measure, and has a heart as big as the moon. I would love to attend one of his Tridentines. He is so pumped up on the TLM. And he’s forever and always helping people; always, always.

6. skeinster - February 20, 2014

Some of us, because of our situation, must have mortifications that are very hidden. Our local priest’s suggestions are good here: running the shower for a bit at an uncomfortable temperature, putting a pebble in your shoe, not seasoning your food (eggs sans salt and pepper- blech!), taking less of what you like and more of what you don’t like, keeping silence when you want to talk.

And what TE says bears repeating: we never take up severe penances without getting the approval of our spiritual director or parish priest. They can judge our life situations and scope out our intentions more objectively than we can. And obedience can be a
wonderful mortification.

skeinster - February 20, 2014

And thanks for another great blog recommendation. You find the best stuff!

7. TG - February 20, 2014

Thanks for the Fr. Carota’s blog link. I liked it. He talked about knowing women that wear pants. That is one area I have a disagreement with traditionalists. Most days I wear pants to work and at home. My pants are not tight or immodest. They are more comfortable to me even though I like skirts and dresses better. I do wear skirts or dresses to Mass except on occasion during vigil Mass, I’ll wear pants. I know this belief of women shouldn’t wear pants is based on what St. Paul says about women dressing like men. My question is this: Didn’t Jesus and the Blessed Mother both wear similar type robes? At least that’s what it looks like in pictures I see.

tantamergo - February 20, 2014

There were sort of mens and women’s clothing even then. The differences are not apparent to us, but they were back then. It was noticeable, for instance, when the sodomite Jewish zealouts dressed as women.

As for wearing pants, if you have a certain kind of work that requires pants (like in a factory where a skirt might get caught in machinery) that’s generally been accepted. I know most women at our parish where skirts to Mass, I don’t know what they do outside of Mass. I think most wear skirts all the time. But if you have some pressing reason to wear pants and you’re not dressing immodestly, it’s not a problem, I don’t think.

8. Gina - February 21, 2014

Great post, what kind of sacrifice and penance do you do, give some ideas. Maybe we can all do like in a group for this lent and make us stronger then just by ourselfs. Thanks -+- Gina

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