In order to decide to live mortification generously, it is important to understand well the reasons that give it meaning. Some may find it difficult to be more mortified because they have not understood or discovered this meaning. There are several motives that impel the Christian toward mortification. The first is the one we have considered above: the desire to identify oneself with the Lord and to follow Him in His eagerness to redeem on the Cross, offering Himself in sacrifice to the Father. Our mortification thus has the same ends as the Passion of Christ and the Holy Mass, and translates into an ever fuller union with the Will of the Father.
But mortification is also a means to progress in the virtues. The priest, in the dialogue that precedes the Preface of the Mass, raises his hands to heaven while saying: "Let us lift up our hearts," and the faithful people can be heard: "We have lifted them up to the Lord! Our heart must be permanently directed towards God. The heart of the Christian must be full of love, with hope always placed in his Lord. For this, it must not be trapped and imprisoned by the things of the earth, but must become more and more purified. And this is not possible without penance, without continual mortification, which is "the means to go forward. Without it, the soul remains subject to the thousand things in which the senses tend to be scattered: attachments, impurities, gentrification, desires of immoderate comfort.... Mortification frees us from many attachments and enables us to love.
Mortification is an indispensable means to carry out apostolate, extending the Kingdom of Christ: "Action is worthless without prayer: prayer is strengthened by sacrifice ". We would be very mistaken if we wanted to attract others to God without supporting that action with intense prayer, and if that prayer were not reinforced with mortification willingly offered. This is why it has been said, in a thousand different ways, that the interior life, manifested especially in prayer and mortification, is the soul of every apostolate.
Finally, let us not forget that mortification also serves as reparation for our past faults, whether small or great. Hence, on many occasions we ask the Lord to help us make amends for our past life: "emendationem vitae, spatium verae paenitentiae.... tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus": May the omnipotent and merciful Lord grant us the amendment of our life and a time of true penance. In this way, through mortification, even past faults become a source of new life. "Bury with penance, in the deep pit opened by your humility, your negligence, offenses and sins. -Thus the farmer buries, at the foot of the tree that produced them, rotten fruits, dry twigs and deciduous leaves. -And that which was sterile, better, that which was harmful, contributes effectively to a new fruitfulness.
"Learn to draw, from falls, impulse: from death, life ".
We ask the Lord that from now on we may know how to make the best use of our life: "When you remember your past life, spent without pain or glory, consider how much time you have lost and how you can recover it: with penance and with greater dedication. And, when something costs us, one of these thoughts will come to our mind to move us to generous mortification: "Reasons for penance? Atonement, reparation, petition, thanksgiving: means to go forward...: for yourself, for me, for others, for your family, for your country, for the Church.... And a thousand other reasons.