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Mortification and Spiritual Progress – Divine Intimacy Radio

Dan and Melissa explore mortification, its meaning, and purpose.


  • What is mortification? Voluntary actions by which we gradually put to death all of our vices, sinful habits and self-centered tendencies that lurk beneath them. 
  • The purpose of mortification and self-renunciation is about cleaning up “the Divine Intimacy Radio Crown of Thorns 1400x1400 v2 smaller for post on mortificationgarden of the soul” as many saints describe it.
  • We must not only uproot sin but fill our souls with virtue to replace those sins, otherwise, the soul will be susceptible to more sin.
  • These acts of mortification must be done out of love of God, not because we love suffering.
  • If you are truly mortifying yourself out of love, that’s the true expression of mortification, and if done correctly, you will see this as a path of liberation from the bondage of sin…liberating the soul from the bonds into the abundant life of Christ.
  • Acts of mortification can be little as St. Thérèse of Lisieux described.
  • Acts of mortification can be external or internal.
  • The battle of mortification is often the same battle as that of spiritual warfare. St. James says that if you resist the devil, he will flee from you. Then, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
  • Mortification has no meaning outside of the cross of Christ through love.
  • Suggestion: To better meditate during Holy Week watch, “The Passion of the Christ” on Good Friday.


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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Jeanette

    Powerful! I like your suggestion to watch the movie, “The Passion” on Good Friday as a way to meditate on what Jesus has done for us out of love. Thanks for this. God bless you Dan & Melissa.

  • Phillip (TheMasterBeadsman)

    Another wonderful broadcast. Thank you!

    In the first half of the show you mention doing the mortifications out of love. A thought that has helped me greatly is an insight from Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia – A Greek Orthodox bishop and spiritual theologian at Oxford University. Basing his reflections on the great St. Isaac the Syrian, Met. Kallistos asserts that “love has its demands. In the same way that a bride and groom sacrifice potential intimate relations with any other person out of love for their spouse, so too do we in the spiritual life sacrifice our disordered passions so as to cling ever more closely to Christ.

    The Maronite tradition prays that during Great Lent “Through fasting and prayer… the Holy Spirit dwells in the soul that was created to be the temple of God.” This notion of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the soul is taken up by St. Symeon the New Theologian, who likens the soul after baptism to a bride who is engaged to be married, but must await the coming of her groom and their wedding day. By giving up sin and sinful inclinations, the bride clings all the more closely to her groom, awaiting the joyful hope of his return to her and preparing herself for the great wedding banquet where the two of them will be united.

    Again, wonderful program. I hop and pray that one day you can broadcast a little more frequently than once a week. Pray for me, a fool and a sinner. May heaven consume us.

    • Thank you Phillip. Great feedback and resources noted. We hope to provide the broadcast five days per week – the main obstacle is financial. Please pray for us in this area.

  • Thank you for this! I am decreasing my Facebook time for Lent. I honestly can’t eliminate it because it’s how I communicate with some people. I’m just trying to avoid mindless Internet surfing. For some reason I added a Liturgy of the Hours prayer today, (I normally just do Lauds) I realize now it’s the virtue that God wants to replace my Internet time. 🙂

  • Nataliya

    I love to practice mortification and as was mentioned, not for how it feels, but because this practice brings me closer to Jesus. Lent is my favorite season! I usually give up lots of pleasurable activities for Lent as well as I increase my prayer time and the frequency of attending daily Mass. It’s not easy, but I suffer with Jesus and for Jesus! Lastly, I love praying Stations of the Cross and meditating on Jesus’ passion for Lent!

  • marybernadette

    ‘Love and suffering go together in this life.’ Suffering without love has absolutely no value, let us pray that we never ‘waste our sufferings’ and encourage others in their share of ‘pain and suffering.’

  • Patricia

    Mortification can be of different measure according to ones soul I too desire to practice little interior and exterior mortification. I feel more clarity when undergoing mortification and penance. I feel more drawn and more at peace and not disordered. I have not felt it thought like this for a while be it a consolation it also helped me in times of desolation . Unifying self to Our Crucified Our Lord. Like Mary Magdelen I want to be at the feet of Jesus.

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