Monday, December 19, 2011

St. Alphonsus Liguori on External and Internal Mortification

 "St. Alphonsus Liguori," St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Brandon, Manitoba

In this penitential season of Advent, when we submit ourselves to external and internal mortification in preparation for Christmas, it is well to consider the following advice on mortifications from St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church: 

". . . [T]he director should be very sparing in allowing [external] mortifications to those who are only just entering upon the spiritual life, and who desire to practice bodily mortifications; let him exhort them to practice rather interior mortification, by bearing patiently with insults and contradictions, by obedience to Superiors, by bridling the curiosity to see, to hear, and the like; and let him tell them, that when they have acquired the good habit of practicing these interior mortifications, they will then be sufficiently perfect to proceed to the external ones.  For the rest, it is a serious error to say, as some say, that external mortifications are of little or no use.  Without doubt, interior mortification is most requisite for perfection; but it does not follow from this that external mortifications are unnecessary.  St. Vincent de Paul declared that the person who does not practice external mortifications will be neither mortified interiorly nor exteriorly.  And St. John of the Cross declared that the director who despised external mortifications was unworthy of confidence, even though he should work miracles."

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

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