It’s good to think about different types of mortification.
Fasting is a form of mortification.
St Josemaria referred to mortification as the “prayer of the senses”.
For example, when we fast we should take advantage of the pangs of hunger in order to remind us to “talk with God more”.
One priest I know said “never fast alone…fast with God”.
Fasting is a form of active mortification…deliberately doing something difficult in order to
- strengthen the will (to help us when we have cases where we have no choice but to put up with pain, discomfort (passive mortification).
- offer penance for our own sins
- offer sacrifices for others that we know (or don’t know)
- set a good example of living with a sporting Christian spirit, confident in our Father God’s care over us.
There are the very dramatic mortifications (the discipline, the cilice)…then there are the “little ones”.
If we “lived” a spirit of constant mortification (highly recommended, properly understood) we’d never run out of “little mortifications”…we’d “squeeze” out of the day a whole lot of grace.
Waking up more vigorously/deliberately/resolutely
Tackling the hard task first, not stopping until it’s completed
Serving others quietly and cheerfully
Going to bed on time, according to our determined plan.
Sitting up more straight.
Adding a bit of order to our home as we walk around it.
Most of us aren’t living celibate lives or a very demanding schedule that some priests and religious have to live, so we don’t need anything more than little passive mortifications, and perhaps a few well chosen voluntary or active ones (shorter showers, cold water rinse at the end of the shower).