Mortifying Evangelization

The idea of mortification seems like one of those odd Catholic practices from the Middle Ages. Despite how imposing it sounds, chances are you are mortifying yourself as you read this article. During Lent we all abstain, fast, and give things up. Yet Lent is not the only time we should do these things. If done in the right way, these discomforts help us to grow in personal holiness. Even the most seemingly insignificant actions can be acts of mortification that help us to grow as disciples.

Mortification is not only profitable for our own life of discipleship; it is also a powerful tool for evangelization.  Our sufferings can be offered up for others (Col 1:24).

My late grandfather, Frank Dix, was a true Missionary Disciple. It is not uncommon for people to come up to me and recount stories of how he prayed with them, how he shared his faith with them, or how he went of his way to love others, especially those who needed it most.

I once was told that he was prone wear a rosary in his shoe. Not one to sit still, he was always running house calls for St. Vincent de Paul, or fixing cribs for Elizabeth New Life Center, or putting his skills in construction to use in one way or another. A rosary in the shoes had to be a constant discomfort to say the least! I used to think this was extremely weird, but now I wonder about all of the silent prayers he made throughout the day as he offered up that mortification. As I hear people recount stories of how he touched their lives, I wonder how many of those opportunities were the fruits of offering up his mortifications for others.

Don’t think that I’m encouraging you to put a rosary in your shoe. I do believe, though, that small acts of mortification can be used not only for our own growth in holiness but as an offering up for those people in our lives that God is asking us to evangelize.  Looking to do a little more?

5 Easy Mortifications that don’t require a rosary in your shoe

  1. When you find yourself in a frustrating situation, make an effort to smile; be patient and lenient with others. Take that frustration and offer it up.

  2. Don’t hit the snooze button. Offer up that last 15 minutes of sleep and take the time to pray, especially if you don’t feel like it.

  3. Resist the urge to check out Facebook or surf your favorite blogs when you are at work or at home. Instead return to your work with renewed effort, or take the time you gain to spend with your family.

  4. Yield in matters of personal preference with joy. Be so eager to do so that others don’t even recognize that you would rather not.

  5. Prayer can be mortification, especially when you really don’t want to pray. Finish up that last decade of the rosary, carve out the time to make it to the Stations of the Cross, get up early to go to Adoration.