Little Penance and Mortification


Dorothy Day wrote during Lent some years ago.

“I could not help thinking how little penance we have done these last years, how little mortification, how little dying to self, which is what mortification is.  To mortify is to put to death, to do violence to oneself.  You have not yet resisted unto blood,” we read in Hebrews.  “Without the shedding of blood there is no salvation.” Blood means life in biblical terms.  Some years ago I saw a man die of a heart attack before my eyes, and his skin became like wax as the blood stopped moving in the veins and drained back to the heart.”

The following is a stanza from and early American folk hymn.

The winter’s past, the rain is o’er,

We feel the chilling winds no more;

The spring is come; how sweet the view,

All things appear divinely new.

On Zion’s mount the watchmen cry,

“The resurrection’s drawing nigh”:

Behold the nations from abroad,

Are flocking to the mount of God.

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