HomeSaint JosemariaTalking to GodMortification done for love
Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Mortification done for love

Tags: Conversion, Suffering, Mortification, Service, Love, God, Penance
What is mortification? It is a Christian practice that brings us closer to Jesus Christ, who suffered and died on the Cross for love of all men and women. Mortification means making little renunciations, whether internal or external, for love of God, in order to get rid of what separates us from him and to be united to his Passion. It is a way of sharing in the Redemption worked by our Lord for the salvation of all souls.


The Catholic Church has always maintained that sacrifice needs to be present in the lives of every Christian, as it was in Christ’s own life, as a manifestation of love for God and other people.

The following are some quotations from St Josemaria’s writings, as a help to talk to God about mortification.


There is no love without renunciation

Don’t forget that suffering is the touchstone of Love.
The Way, no. 439

Our Lord did not confine himself to telling us that he loved us. He showed it to us with deeds, with his whole life. What about you?
Choose mortifications that don’t mortify others.
The Forge, no. 62

This is the truth of a Christian’s life: self-giving and love – love of God and, for God’s sake, love of one’s neighbour – founded on sacrifice.
The Forge, no. 528

The cheerful love that fills the soul with happiness is founded on suffering. There is no love without renunciation.
The Forge, no. 760

The way of Love is called Sacrifice.
The Forge, no. 768

In the forge of suffering that accompanies the lives of all who love, the Lord teaches us that those who tread fearlessly where the Master treads, hard though the going is, find joy.
The Forge, no. 816

That Cross is your Cross: the Cross of every day

Motives for penance? Atonement, reparation, petition, thanksgiving; means to progress; for yourself, for me, for others, for your family, for your country, for the Church... And a thousand motives more.
The Way, no. 232

Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism.
The Way, no. 813

Have you noticed how human love consists of little things? Well, divine Love also consists of little things.
The Way, no. 824

The world admires only spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of sacrifice that is hidden and silent.
The Way, no. 185

If you don’t deny yourself you will never be a soul of prayer.
The Way, no. 172

That joke, that witty remark held on the tip of your tongue; the cheerful smile for those who annoy you; that silence when you’re unjustly accused; your friendly conversation with people whom you find boring and tactless; the daily effort to overlook one irritating detail or another in the persons who live with you... this, with perseverance, is indeed solid interior mortification.
The Way, no. 173

When you see a poor wooden Cross, alone, uncared-for, and of no value... and without its Crucified, don’t forget that that Cross is your Cross: the Cross of each day, the hidden Cross, without splendour or consolation..., the Cross which is awaiting the Crucified it lacks: and that Crucified must be you.
The Way, no. 178

In little things

Choose mortifications that don’t mortify others.
The Way, no. 179

If they have witnessed your faults and weaknesses, will it matter if they witness your penance?
The Way, no. 197

Many who would willingly let themselves be nailed to a cross before the astonished gaze of a thousand onlookers cannot bear with a Christian spirit the pinpricks of each day! Think, then, which is the more heroic.
The Way, no. 204

Jesus came to the Cross after having prepared himself for thirty-three years, all his life! His disciples, if they really want to imitate him, have to convert their existence into a co-redemption of Love, with their own active and passive self-denial.
Furrow, no. 255

Mortification is the drawbridge that enables us to enter the castle of prayer.
Furrow, no. 467

If the word love is often on your lips, without being backed by little sacrifices, it becomes tedious.
Furrow, no. 979

A spirit of mortification, rather than being just an outward show of Love, arises as one of its consequences. If you fail in one of these little proofs, acknowledge that your love for the Love is wavering.
Furrow, no. 981

Mortification is the seasoning of our life.
Haven’t you gone against your own preference, your whims, some time, in something? –You must realise that the One who asks you is nailed to a Cross, suffering in all his senses and faculties, with a crown of thorns on his head... for you.
Furrow, no. 989

Mortification is the seasoning of our lives

Care in little things requires constant mortification. It is a way to make life more agreeable for others.
Furrow, 991

The Christian vocation is one of sacrifice, penance, expiation. We must make reparation for our sins – for the many times we turned our faces aside so as to avoid the gaze of God – and all the sins of mankind. We must try to imitate Christ, “always carrying about in our body the dying of Christ,” his abnegation, his suffering on the cross, “so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.” Our way is one of immolation and, in this denial, we find gaudium cum pace, both joy and peace.
Christ is Passing By, no. 9

Mortification is the seasoning of our life. And the best mortification is that which overcomes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in little things throughout the day. Ours should be mortifications that do not mortify others, and which give us more finesse, more understanding and more openness in our dealings with everybody. You are not mortified, if you are touchy; if your every thought is for yourself; if you humiliate others; if you don’t know how to give up what is unnecessary and, at times, what is necessary; if you become gloomy because things don’t turn out the way you had hoped. On the other hand, you can be sure you are mortified, if you know how to make yourself “all things to all men, in order to save all.”
Christ is Passing By, no. 9




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