Mortification is directed at the correction of two contrary faults which often coexist within us in varying degrees at different moments.
The first of these faults is intemperate ardor, impetuousness, and excessive self-assurance. We take fire like gunpowder, or we tend to be impatient, not knowing how to bide our time, to hope, and to wait. We impose ourselves on others in conversation, taking for granted that what interests us interests everybody else.... We talk too much, and too loud, we enjoy recreation to the point of dissipation. In short, our ego is cumbersome. This fault is only too common, and each of us has certainly been guilty of it many times.
Real mortification in this instance consists in setting limits to our enthusiasms, in knowing how to be silent and how not to attract attention to ourselves, in learning the art of listening and of being interested in others, in encouraging others to talk and to shine while we retire quietly into the background. And more than that, it consists in doing all this simply, graciously, as a matter of course. It is a question of refusing to salve our ego, and of forgetting ourselves. "Delight in being unnoticed and esteemed as nothing."
[Another] fault against which mortification must be directed is much more dangerous and insidious. It is timidity, based at least in part on self-love, on fear of failure and of being slapped down, in short on cowardice. This fault has a thousand faces, or lather a thousand masks, including the masks of modesty, reserve, humility, and simplicity.
Mortification in this case consists in acting against our timidity by forcing ourselves to come out of our shell, exposing ourselves to blows, and speaking as if we had some self-confidence. We must be ready to risk small failures; to step forward when it is fitting; to let others know our faults (which is far better than hiding them).
Above all, the mortification of timidity is a matter of cultivating a great, courageous, apostolic soul, so that Christ may reach his full stature within us and not be circumscribed, as it were, by our pettiness. The secret of success here is to think less of ourselves and more of God and of his glory, of Christ and of his Mother.
Father Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. "We Must Deny Ourselves." excerpt from We and the Holy Spirit: Talks to Laymen: The Spiritual Writings of Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. (Chicago, IL: Fides Publishers, 1953).
This book is out of print and in the public domain. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in February 2018.
Father Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. (1868-1927) was ordained a priest in Jersey (in the Channel Islands) on August 24, 1898. Father Leon was a French exile at the time. As a priest he was assigned to teach theology to his colleagues even though he was the youngest among them. A careful apologist he strove against the modernist heresy keeping at all times a moderate attitude which earned him attacks from fundamentalists of the time. His most influential book was Jesus Christ, His Person, His Message, His Signs. His books are all out of print at this time.Copyright © 1953 Public Domain
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