Excellent commentary on JPII’s self-mortification


I think when a lot of people heard about Pope John Paul II’s practice of self-mortification, it might have made them feel a bit weird. And it is, understandably, hard for many people these days to understand this kind of practice or it’s easy to mistake it for a kind of masochism. But that would be a massive mistake, indeed.

This was exactly the opposite of any kind of masochism. And as we find out more and more about Pope John Paul II’s life (on his journey to Sainthood), it gives us a great opportunity to learn about many of the things behind the scenes that led to the extraordinary exterior life that we all witnessed and benefited from.

In the video below, Fr. Barron sheds some light on this practice of self-mortification (or “taking the discipline”).

I really like his comparison to our culture’s obsession with physical exercise. We intentionally put ourselves through a lot of physical pain so we can fit into a certain size pair of jeans or look good on the beach this coming summer. Hopefully we do it because it makes us healthier, too.  John Paul II did something similar, except instead of focusing only on physical health – which he did also through exercise – and certainly not for vanity’s sake, he also focused on something much more important: His spiritual health (and the spiritual health of others).

More on the late Pope’s self-mortification if interested.

4 comments Add comment

Carlos February 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Why can’t i see the video?

Matthew Warner February 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Not sure – Carlos. It looks like the video somehow got set to private in youtube. I am asking Fr. Barron about it and I will try to get it resolved. Seems like a mistake or something. All of his other videos are still up and just fine. Sorry about that. Hopefully it will be back up soon.

Matthew Warner March 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Video is back up now, Carlos! In case you hadn’t seen it yet.

Garret Graves March 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Hi Matthew
As a protestant, this shows to me a lack of understanding of the book of Romans by ironically, the Roman Catholic Church. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and we have peace (Eirene, Hebrew Shalom) through Jesus Christ. This peace is a picture of the type of peace where swords are turned into plowshares (Isaiah 2 for instance)- there are no weapons for war, no threat of war on the horizon. The issue has been settled for believers through Jesus Christ. However, the RCC teaches that the peace in Romans does not stick, there needs to be more, one needs to participate in order to maintain that peace. This is not shalom, as the RCC is saying that you are indeed at war with God, the weapons DO exist, and your salvation depends on your continuing to participate to keep the peace. That is not peace, it is not shalom.
Both sides agree that a dead faith without works is just that- dead- and a living faith has works-but the dividing line is whether there is merit in the doing, or whether the doing is because you are born from above and walking in the works that God has prepared for you. If you are not doing good works in the long run, one must ponder whether one is born again or not. I realize that the RCC teaches this rebirth is via baptism, that is yet another discussion though.
Thanks Matthew, and God bless.

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