I know that a lot of the Saints practiced corporal mortification like wearing hair shirts, fasting, and other penances. To the modern mind it seems a little odd perhaps, but many people still do so today. Of course, it should be done only under the guidance of a spiritual director, under obedience, or if you’re in Opus Dei or something… otherwise, it can easily become a temptation to pride. For the rest of us there is spiritual mortification, which is actually quite effective! and fasting of course.
I thought that’s the Church teaching…
but then I read about St Frances of Rome, and her Angel (an Archangel) told her not to do SEVERE penances like eating only bread and water and a hair shirt and such, because the point is not to destroy the body. Of course, that makes a lot of sense… we should bring the body under submission to the spirit, but we shouldn’t destroy what God has made.
My question is, how does that relate to what the other Saints did?
For example, St Rose of Lima did quite severe penances, and I read she saw her Angel too, and he didn’t say anything…
do you think the difference is in intention, or maybe St Frances’ mortification was too extreme? if it doesn’t harm the health, is it alright?
(not that I’m contemplating of doing anything like that, it would probably only make me proud. I’m just wondering about the Saints :))
I know it’s sort of a strange question… I read about the Saints a lot though.