--, "Envisioned as a packet of essential advice a parent might hand down to his child on the brink of adulthood as initiation into the central mystery of life, this existential manual is rooted in what Watts calls 'a cross-fertilization of Western science with an Eastern intuition.' Saint Therese: "When some one knocks at our door, or when we are rung for, we must practice mortification and refrain from doing even another stitch before answering. Full of this deceitful ignorance, they do not only abhor resemblance to Christ's suffering and my own, and deprive themselves of the true and highest blessing of this life but they make their recovery impossible, since all of them are weak and afflicted by many sins, for which the only remedy is suffering. The meditation was no mortification for me, for thinking about God is a delight and not a mortification; but there was a mortification of the will in that I was not doing [simply] what I like, but what I was told to do, and it is in this that interior mortification consists. (to draw a paralell, a professional athlete disciplines his body with punishing 'NOs' to achieve the 'YES' of 1st place; devoting his entire life to this single objective. Although the one may take precedence over the other, both are necessary nonetheless. The saints remind us that penances should never interfere with one's ability to perform one's duties in life. When Padre Pio received the stigmata, he felt ashamed, and pleaded with God to make it invisible, so others may not see it. All rights reserved. Saint Teresa of Avila even said it was a temptation by Satan to be concerned for one's own health in religious life. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting. Allegory of Justice detail of the mosaic floor at the Basilica of San Savino, Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, 12th century. Plato first discussed the cardinal virtues in the Republic, and they entered into Christian teaching by way of Plato's disciple Aristotle. Any instance that would draw the praises of men was to be severely shunned, for true humility demands a deep and lasting desire to be regarded as nothing, as ordinary (for every person is more or less ordinary compared to God). [...] "Even works of piety must be always undertaken with a spirit of detachment; so that whenever our efforts are Fortitude: A Cardinal Virtue and a Gift of the Holy Spirit, The Cardinal Virtue of Prudence (And What It Means), Faith, Hope, and Charity: the Three Theological Virtues, Ask for 7 Gifts Through the Novena to the Holy Ghost, The Just War Theory of the Catholic Church. And self-mastery only comes by way of aceticism, i.e., denying the inordinate desires of the flesh through self-denial, penance, and mortification. Prudence and justice are the virtues through which we decide what needs to be done; fortitude gives us the strength to do it. I will not delude you with prospects of peace and consolations; on the contrary, prepare for great battles. The Primacy of Interior Mortification Time goes on, never to return again. strength to practice such mortifications, she ought at least to bear in peace her infirmities and pains, and to accept These are: on three days a week, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, there will be a strict fast. Accordingly, darkness and coarseness will always be with a soul until its appetites are extinguished. Do not fear struggle; courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us. without bearing contempt it is impossible for a nun to advance in perfection; and because I hold as certain that the I have passed through this, and therefore I know it. M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America, B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University. Charity: the Greatest of the Theological Virtues. How holiness is found in religious life as a consecrated celibate. What progress can they make in perfection? "Jesus, You know that for You it is easier to grant much rather than a little." He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. ", Saint Bernard: "small indeed must be the spiritual progress of the Allegory of Temperance; detail of the mosaic floor at the Basilica of San Savino, Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, 12th century. To be considered an average religious, to them, was of far more value than to be highly regarded as an austere ascetic. He is speaking here, of course, of "the world, the flesh, and the devil," our three principle enemies in this life. "Oh, what joy it is to empty myself for the sake of immortal souls!