What is mortification of the body? Is this spiritually or literally, or both? Also I guess we are to bear with joy all sufferings God sends us. I believe that is from Fatima. What is Ignatius of Loyola’s constant pennance?

I am very curious about this also. From the onset seems like an oxymoron. I think I could understand, but I have yet to feel the need to mortify my body as a sacrifice to Our Lord? Which I would think is a good thing cuz in the wrong context could be misinterpreted.


I also was told the Church doesn’t want you doing harmful things to the body. And I certainly am not. The path I would follow would be accepting my trials and tribulations as the consequence sin. That’s enough mortification for me.


There have been times when I have been filled with soo much sorry, humility, at my sinfulness that I can understand the practice of the mortification of the flesh…but only for the purpose to offer the sufferings up to God. I would think fasting which I do but not regularly is a more understandable form of mortification. Lent I think is a simple form of it? In light of this thinking, and the holiness that saints such as Catherine of Sienna reached whom was known for flagellating herself…amongst many other saints. I think I will learn the spiritual disciple of fasting before I moved onto the more stringent practices of mortification.

I am barely on the cusps of understanding fasting and recieving benifits from that…which are always awsome. Makes me wonder why I don’t do it more…I had never done it prior to this year before. So Progress. LOL not perfection…It’s the trials and tribulations that purify and perfect us.


What exactly was Ignatius of Loyola teaching? I guess this would quite probably be part of the Jesuit tradition.

I am kinda new to everything. about 9 months. I was a cradle catholic but stop going to church when became an alcoholic.

Now that I am 43, never married and soo much in Love with God…I am contemplating becoming a ‘father’ in a different sence. I have no idea where to go though. I have a very colorfull past.

So for real? Is that Ignatius teaching? That gives me a bone to chew on. I am seriously wanting to know which way to go…in the church.


Everything in the world is sin, therefore we must “hate the world.” (Gospel) If we hate the world we love God and if we love God we hate the world. The “flesh and spirit are at war” (St. Paul). “Deny thyself” (Jesus). “Mortify the flesh” (St. Paul).

The deception of the devil is for us to love the sins of the world and the flesh is of the world and is weak. Therefore, we must beat out of ourselves this self deception which is inherent in the flesh.

Loving football (my pet peeve is those who worship every Sunday at the false idol of football); loving food; loving your hobby; loving your power; loving your home or others homes; loving another’s wife or goods; etc.

How can we love God if we love those things? “My family are those who do the will of God” (Jesus). The will of God as revealed to us through the example and words of Christ are to feed the hungry; establish justice; forgive others; deny ourselves; heal others.

To mortify the flesh is to more fully realize the deception of the flesh by killing it through suffering. God loves us and wants us to be happy. Happy does not mean comfortable per se. Happy means to abide in Him and He in us. Happy does not mean your fantasy football team is winning for example that is a deception of the flesh.


The way I see it is that it isnt that the world around us is inherently bad, or that the body is evil. This is a fallen world, and there is a sense that the church teaches that the body is fallen, and we are drawn to evil. But I think this weakness has more to do with our will than with the world around us. When we fast, it isnt so much about how much you can harm your body, or cause it pain. It has more to do with denying your will. Saying No to yourself, in order to server and love God better.

God is not a sadist. He does not enjoy or command us to inflict pain on ourselves. But he does want us to love him above all other desires. Now when you think about that, and what that actually means in practice, then you have a good idea of what God means in practice. kingston1s example is a good one. You deny yourself something good - football - in order to obey the Lords command to love him above all things.

The key reason is that we were made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore the purpose of our very nature is union with God. To love God. When we put other loves ahead of the love of God, we do violence to our very nature. The very purpose for which we were created. And sin enters into the world.

The first book of St. John of the Crosss Ascent to Mount Carmel is a good one for understanding this - although he brings in concepts from Aquinas that require that you have a philosophical background to understand what he is saying. Also St. Theresa of Avilas Interior Castle - the first and second mansion.

God bless,

Wow. Isnt this a mental health issue? :shrug:

No, it’s an issue of penance and reparation, as well as keeping the spirit as ruling the body, rather letting the body rule the spirit.

'Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.’

Romans 8:12-13

'Exterior mortification is the conquering of the sensual appetites.

Worldlings call the saints cruel, because they deny their bodies all sensual gratifications, and afflict themselves with hair-shirts, disciplines and penances.

But St. Bernard says that those are much more cruel towards themselves, who for the sake of the momentary pleasures of this world, condemn themselves to the eternal torments of the next. Others say that the body should be denied all forbidden pleasure, but despise exterior mortifications, saying that interior mortification alone is necessary, that is, the mortification of the will. Yes, it is in the first place necessary to mortify the will, but it is also necessary to mortify the flesh; because if the flesh be not mortified, it will have great difficulty in being obedient to God.

St. John of the Cross says, that he who teaches that exterior mortification is not necessary is not to be believed, although he should perform miracles. ’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

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