Practice of Self-Admonition

I intuitively feel my spirit would benefit greatly through the practice of self-admonition, but I’m not sure where to start.

Is there a catholic guide to this practice?
How does the Catholic Church define this practice?
Any experience out there?

Note: Because my concept of “self-admonition” is not very well defined, let me clarify what I think it means - a gentle interior reminder of one’s spiritual position resulting in increased humility. Used to combat instances of pride or vanity or sin.


I would rely on a spiritual director for this sort of things. In the earlier days, they did not believe in self-worth and self-esteem. We do now. As much as I love the earlier saints without little they thought of themselves. I am not sure how healthy it is always be cognizant of every last one of your failings. It could keep you humble or lead you into despair. Forgive me, I do not mean to lead anyone astray. Consult a spiritual director above all else.

Interesting. Thanks for your input. Self mortification can take many forms. In a perverse form, it would be “i am worthless. I am nothing.” This is untrue. But, when used truly, it can becomes, (simplified) “I am small and God is big”. It mortifies pride.

So, hopefully there will be others who might respond with some experience in this. I cannot believe self-mortification is merely an abandoned practice in this “enlightened” age.

I don’t know - possibly I’ve grown up and worked among people who are more critical than the average, but if anything I find that those around me are more than willing to remind me of my littleness. If anything I need to perhaps be gentler on myself and more reminders of the opposite - that as a child of God I have value.

Agree with CRATUS - a Spiritual Director is needed. As a very self critical person, I probably cannot count the hours spent condemning myself for anything, everything and nothing. It stunted my spiritual growth as I was too busy despising what God had created and looking backwards instead of forwards. There are enough people in this world willing to put us down, without joining them in stoning yourself.

I am not suggesting ignoring our faults and weaknesses, but rather to keep a solid perspective and allow God to help us in His way and time. I pray that God continues to give me the gentle nudge which has helped me grow in faith and love. I don’t always listen and then I have the hard lesson to live and learn from. But God is merciful, He made me and knows how to use my weaknesses and failings for His Glory, if I let Him, instead of wasting time on self flagellation or admonishing.

Different people have different needs, just as different patients need different medicines.

Freer: how about praying the Litany of Humility?

yes. thank you.

Can you recommend a prayer that focuses on our position in relation to God? What comes to mind: “lord, i am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Thank you for your response. However, condemnation is not what I am looking for. There is a difference. The truth is not condemning. Recognizing what we are in relation to God - a creation, poor, low-to-the-ground - is not condemning. At least, for a Christian it shouldn’t be so.

Yes, I can see where you might not be interested in self-mortification. However, it is very freeing when those around you “remind you of your littleness” to inwardly agree. If they are saying you’re worthless, obviously that isn’t correct. If they are saying you are “little”, well, that certainly is.

We are little. Daily recognition of the fact is good for the soul.

It helps much to be prayerfully aware that we can do nothing without the Lord.

Yes. Thank you. So perhaps, that would be the gentle admonition when I’m feeling prideful.

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