Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Let's take other examples, again from everyday life. St Paul refers to some: 'Anyone who has to compete in the arena must keep all his appetites under control; and he does it to win a perishable crown, whereas ours is imperishable.' All you have to do is look around you. See how many sacrifices men and women make, willingly or less willingly, to take care of their bodies, protect their health, or gain the respect of others... Are we unable to stir ourselves at the thought of the immensity of God's love, so poorly requited by men, and mortify what needs to be mortified so that our hearts and minds may be more attentive to Our Lord?

In the consciences of many, the meaning of Christianity has been so distorted that when they speak of mortification and penance they think only of the rigorous fasts and hair shirts mentioned in the awe-inspiring tales that are found in some lives of saints. At the start of this meditation we took as a self-evident premise the fact that we must imitate Jesus, taking him as the model for our behaviour. It is true that he made ready for his preaching by retiring into the wilderness to fast for forty days and forty nights. But, before this, and afterwards, he practised the virtue of temperance with such naturalness that his enemies took advantage of it to slander him as a 'glutton and a drunkard, the friend of publicans and sinners'.

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