A Lenten meditation from Divine Intimacy – mortification as means of assimilation in Christ February 10, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Lent, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
From Day 93 of Divine Intimacy, a meditation on mortification as a means of creating union with our Blessed Lord:
For the soul who aspires to union with God, penance is not only a means of subjecting the flesh to the spirit, but also a means of being assimilated to Christ Crucified, in order to reproduce and prolong His Passion in its own body.…..[H]e who loves has a desire to share in the sufferings of the loved one; it is the same with real lovers of the Crucified. St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi exclaims, “It is not fitting to be a delicate member of a Head crowned with thorns and crucified, nor the unmortified bride of a suffering Spouse.”…….”But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal vi:14).
Although mortification of the spirit is certainly more important than that of the body, we must not forget that, in order to save the world, Jesus was willing to embrace both in the most complete manner. His whole life was a cross and a martyrdom; it ended with the Sacrifice on Calvary, where His spiritual and physical immolation reached its height. As for the mortification of the senses, “It is certain,” says St. John of the Cross, “that He died as to sense, spiritually, during His life, besides dying naturally, at His death. For…..in life He had not where to lay His head, and at His death, this was even truer……Wherefore, as it seems to me, any spirituality that would fain walk in sweetness and with ease, and flees from the imitation of Christ, is worthless” (Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 7, 10.8). [That’s what you call a hard saying. That doesn’t make it less true.]
…….To express the life of the Crucified means to live His Passion, to associate ourselves with His sufferings, to unite ourselves to His intentions – the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. “I….fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh, for His Body, which is the Church” (Col i:24)………Nothing is lacking in the Passion of Christ; He Himself said on the Cross, “all is consummated” (Jn xix:30). All was accomplished in Him, our Head, but it must now be accomplished in us, His members. Jesus wills to continue His Passion in us so that we may be associated with Him in the work of redemption; He wills to make us His collaborators in the most sublime of His works, the salvation of souls. Jesus, Who could have accomplished His work alone, willed to need us in order to apply the infinite merits of His Passion to many souls.
Mortification, and even physical suffering, is therefore a requirement of a life of union with Christ; the more generous the soul is, the more it will participate intimately in the interior life and apostolic work of Jesus. We cannot be intimate with Christ if we do not suffer with Him, if we do not ascend the Cross with Him. “Let Christ Crucified be sufficient for thee, and with Him suffer and rest” (St. John of the Cross).
Suffering has a supernatural value only when it is borne with Christ and for Christ. It is Jesus who sanctifies suffering; apart from Him it is worth nothing and is of no use. But if it is embraced for love of Him, it becomes precious coin, capable of redeeming and sanctifying souls; it becomes a continuation of His Passion.
……….”O my God, permit me one question: When the world was languishing in sickness, You sent Your only Son to be its physician……….and now what means will You use to revive again this world which lies once more in death? I see that You give the name of Christ to Your servants and that by means of them You want to take away death and give back life to the world. And in what way? They must walk bravely in the footprints of the Word and work for Your honor and the salvation of souls, with love and burning desire; to this end they should bear patiently all pains, anxieties, reproaches, and disgrace. O wonderful Restorer, give us many ‘Christs’ who will spend their lives in vigils, tears, and prayers for the salvation of the world” (St. Catherine of Siena).