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I've been wondering lately why there is almost an absence of corporal mortifications, namely of the bodily variety, in the modern Church? Of all the lives of the saints and even pious layfolk of the Church, there is an acceptance of severe bodily chastisements as pious penitential practice. Yet today, even in traditional circles, there is an abhorrence to the practice. I am not saying that we should cast ourselves into fire like Ven. Angela Tholomei or St. Christine the Admirable, but it's very clear that this was an approved penance by many of the saints through the past 2,000 years of Church history.

Even the father of Ven. Mary of Agreda would wake up in the middle of the night for prayer and the penance of carrying a 100 lb iron cross on his back each night. Yet today it's clear that we have become so absorbed in effeminacy that we abhor bodily penance.

This thought has been in my mind since I've been reading the, consistent, accounts of the saints on the horror of Purgatory and the severe lives of penance they brought upon themselves after these visions. Even my patronness, St. Margaret Mary, was known for her affinity for bodily penance.

Am I wrong in questioning this?
(03-02-2020, 10:41 AM)Augustinian Wrote: [ -> ]acceptance of bodily chastisements as pious penitential practice..
Even the father of Ven. Mary of Agreda would wake up in the middle of the night for prayer and the penance of carrying a 100 lb iron cross on his back each night

Asceticism means athleticism; the Bible doesn't shy from sports metaphors. When I was in boot camp, or when I did sports as a youth, I did feel a special unity with the Passion.

I would say strenuous physical excercise (which involves real suffering) can be a very good form of bodily mortification. In fact Id say that for many people, self-injurious behavior is easier than excercise (assuming you want real subjection of the good flesh through constructive suffering, and not to be a Traddy LARP-lord). Anyway, that's how I do it.
(03-02-2020, 11:08 AM)19405 Wrote: [ -> ]I would say strenuous physical excercise (which involves real suffering) can be a very good form of bodily mortification. In fact Id say that for many people, self-injurious behavior is easier than excercise (assuming you want real subjection of the good flesh through constructive suffering, and not to be a Traddy LARP-lord). Anyway, that's how I do it.

And I don't see how that is penitential really, when you're clearly doing it for a bodily end rather than complete suffering for Our Lord. Not to detract from your doing so, I don't see how the saints are "traddy LARPlords" for using self-injury as mortification. Are not the saints raised up by the Church to be exemplars for the faithful? And I should add, Christ wasn't thinking about how great carrying the cross was going to be for his cardio when he was on his way to Calvary.

I get what you're saying, but my issue is that doesn't really sound different than those who go on a diet for Lent and then claim it as a penance.
Quote:...today it's clear that we have become so absorbed in effeminacy that we abhor bodily penance.

You've asked a legitimate question. I'm in a conversation with an agnostic who 'hates' suffering. (I did let her know she's not alone.)

She would have tried to talk Jesus out of going to the Cross, she says. Naturally, there never would have been a Europe, etc., much less Western civilization. So suffering is good for us in a most mysterious way. But very few will seek it out, and none as Our Lord did.

Then there are the tribulations/catastrophes we all must periodically endure. I've lost the reference, but to one of the mystic saints Jesus complains of His people the Church, how often have I sent them a loving tribulation, and still they will not turn to Me? The divine description of a tribulation as loving jars the imagination. I do not love as men love, He says. Something to think about as troubling events continue to unfold.
Were corporal mortifications that common in the Church?
I'm asking this because there's no much information outside the lives of some saints, and the most recent person I've heard to practice bodily penances was Sr. Maria Pierina, the seer of the holy face medal, back in the 40's.
Part of the problem is that most bodily mortifications outside the norm of fasting and abstinence should only be done under the close counsel of a spiritual director and most people today have no idea what spiritual direction is.

When I had a director (may he rest in peace), I took the discipline on Wednesdays and Fridays. Not to blood, but enough that it hurt. Once Father Matt died, I stopped, because I was no longer under direction.
(03-02-2020, 11:51 AM)Augustinian Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-02-2020, 11:08 AM)19405 Wrote: [ -> ]I would say strenuous physical excercise (which involves real suffering) can be a very good form of bodily mortification. In fact Id say that for many people, self-injurious behavior is easier than excercise (assuming you want real subjection of the good flesh through constructive suffering, and not to be a Traddy LARP-lord). Anyway, that's how I do it.

And I don't see how that is penitential really, when you're clearly doing it for a bodily end rather than complete suffering for Our Lord. Not to detract from your doing so, I don't see how the saints are "traddy LARPlords" for using self-injury as mortification. Are not the saints raised up by the Church to be exemplars for the faithful? And I should add, Christ wasn't thinking about how great carrying the cross was going to be for his cardio when he was on his way to Calvary.

I get what you're saying, but my issue is that doesn't really sound different than those who go on a diet for Lent and then claim it as a penance.
You're imagining that things that are good for you can't be done primarily to enter into the Life of Christ. For example, physical excercise for the military is morally as well as practically necessary. This can be offered up to Christ.

For example, taking the Bible's advice on skepticism of loans is good for your finances, but it's also obedient; taking the Bible's advice on sexuality is good for your marriage, but this doesn't compete with doing the stuff for the sake of the Gospel.

Although the LARP comment wasn't meant for you, I was just thinking of certain people I know.

I think it's important to remember that your iron cross example is lifting a weight. Intent is what matters, as you say.
I would think that people who undertake corporal mortification (under the guidance of a spiritual director) don't talk about it very much.
(03-05-2020, 08:44 PM)Birdie Wrote: [ -> ]I would think that people who undertake corporal mortification (under the guidance of a spiritual director) don't talk about it very much.
True. It's been well over ten years since my director died, and I think this is the first time I ever mentioned it to anyone. 
(03-05-2020, 08:44 PM)Birdie Wrote: [ -> ]I would think that people who undertake corporal mortification (under the guidance of a spiritual director) don't talk about it very much.

That's a good point. My question was not whether people do it and tell everyone, but rather that whenever it seems to be brought up in modern Catholic circles, it is denigrated as some disordered act rather than a proper penance.

I never said I practice this, as I do not have a spiritual director, but the question arose because I see it in the lives of many of the saints.