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SACRIFICE, PENANCE & THE LIFE OF PRAYER
Entering ever more deeply into the life of prayer depends not only on humility, but also on charity. Developing the God-given virtue of charity in our souls depends on our constant habit of mortification and penance. Mortification is the habit and attitude of detachment from ourselves and from sensible things.
There are many ways we render ourselves unable to converse with our Lord in prayer. Preoccupying our minds with earthly interests and affairs evicts God from our thoughts. Focusing on emotional affection keeps us in our bodies, while we should be lifting our souls to God. Jealousy and grudges hold us captive to the evils of this life. We make ourselves incapable of finding the presence of God in prayer.
So, we must fast. We must sacrifice. We must offer up our wants and our sufferings to God. We should embrace suffering, not in a spirit of masochism, but in a spirit of mortification. Especially on Fridays, as we remember the Lord's passion and death, we should give up the small pleasures, and rejoice in whatever sufferings the Lord has ordained for us to endure. Living our lives in this way, we open ourselves up to the divine. We make ourselves more able to recognize his presence and enter into it.