Written by Fr. Hannibal Mary Di Francia   
Friday, 14 August 2009 06:16


1. What does it mean mortification? It means to sentence out passion and senses to death. We must mortify our opinions and will. Being detached from our will and opinion, even in the slightest things, renders the soul docile and submissive to the divine will. God can dispose of such souls as he wants.

 (FS p.707)


2. Prayer and mortification are two winds of the soul flying to God. Practicing mortification is perhaps more important than praying, because the more a person is mortified, the more he is fitting for prayer. The more a person prays, the more he feels the needs to mortify himself. So, prayer and mortification increase mutually and lead the person from strength to strength (Psalm 84:8)

(FS 707)


3. To preserve holy chastity, I will love mortification, penance, and regular discipline, using the means and caution mentioned above. As to mortification and penance, besides practicing internal humility and continuous contrition for my past faults, I will not feel offended when people neglect or ignore me, silently considering myself worthy of worse treatment. When I happen to expose my need, I will do so with calm and simplicity.

(Forty declarations and promises, 1910, RA p.275)


4. No one has ever read that such transports toward one’s own relatives have made a soul holy; on the contrary, those who decided to become holy, followed the teaching of Jesus and left their relatives, in fact, when Jesus invited a young man to follow him, and the youth asked him to wait until he buried his father, Jesus answered Let the dead bury their dead. (Lk. 9: 60)

 (To Sr. Rosalia Arezzo, FDZ, 1892, Fl p. 88-89)


5. Jesus himself set an example of detachment from relatives at the age of twelve, remaining in the temple. When Joseph and Mary found him, he said: “Why did you search for me? Did you not know I had to be in my father’s house?” (Lk.2: 49). (The Father’s Letters, p. 89) Beware of giving way to the devil, acting rashly, and depending on the will of your relatives about the affairs of your soul! Rather, you will tell me whom of the Fathers I have to send for, to take counsel; in the meantime, pray, pray, pray!

(To Sr. Rosalia Arezzo, FDZ, 1892, FL p. 90)


6. By entering the institute you have to leave off the character, I cannot stand injustice, I would break rather than yielding, and the like which belong to the world and to vanity. Unless something is sinful, you shall yield to everyone; you shall be silent, approving of what your superior says, even though you think, that what he is saying is inexact; you must become like a humble, malleable child.

(To Ms. Andreina Battizzocco, 1909. FL p. 284-285)


7. What a vast field you have for battling and winning with the divine help and your good will? What a difference between these battles and the worldly battles and victories for which the world praises you? And yet, you perhaps feared of being idle by entering the institute? It is written: Better…a man master of himself than one who takes a city (Prov. 16: 32). In this great battle you will be helped by exhortations warnings, prayers, good examples, as well as by mortification and penance, that you will receive and accept as a tender child does.

(To. Ms. Andreina Battizzocco, 1909, FL p. 285)


8. The true penance consist in the practice of the interior virtues such as humbly confessing one’s own faults, restraining and overcoming oneself, keeping oneself pure, enduring the trouble, suffering and loving the fellows and the pupils, depending on the superior’s will, and sacrificing oneself for Jesus, our supreme good, and for the souls.

 (RA p. 280-281)


9. Holy mortification of gluttony is of great importance, and I will fast and abstain perfectly as the holy Church commands; if health reasons or anything wise prevent me from doing so, I will submit my case to the superiors with simplicity and I will follow their opinion. I will also behave so about common food.

Forty Declarations and Promises,1910, RA p. 275)



10. I will follow the customs of the community regarding other mortifications and penances., for example: the abstinences of the First Fridays of the month, of other circumstances of the year, the practice of small acts of self denial or good works on the month of May, June, or other novenas; the vigils of one hour or more in preparation for some feasts or special celebrations of the house. Also the silence prescribed by the rule… the discipline…

(Forty Declarations and Promises, 1910, RA p.275)


11. So that the community may proceed well everyone has to observe the schedule of the common activities. Beginning with the reveille in the morning, I promise to be punctual when the bell chimes the hour for the prayer, refectory, spiritual reading, going out, recreation and sleep never exempting myself of my own will (…) without the superior’s expressed or presumed permission.

(Forty Declarations and Promises, 1910, RA p. 276-277)


12. Regarding regular observance, I intend to recognize its importance. Therefore my being part of a community and my conduct in it, will not be with the same freedom as of those living in the outside world, in one’s family, or among seculars. I will live with the care and attention required by rules and by a religious Institute, by the present Promises and Declarations which I accept and subscribe.

(Forty Declarations and Promises, 1910 Cf. RA p. 277)


13. We must regulate our natural affections, such as those towards our relatives and friends, directing them to the pure love of God. We must mortify our inclinations, desires, and attachments, to this or that thing; to one’s own habits, to this or that room, assignment etc.

(FS p. 707)


14. Above all, we must mortify selfishness, which is the great enemy of the love of God and of our perfection. Selfishness drives us to abhor the cross, to please ourselves even in holy things, to long for our own esteem and praise, to fear being forgotten and despised. Selfishness is so subtle and malicious as to deceive us inadvertently under the appearances of good. It makes us feel innocent, when we are guilty; it produce envy, anger, contempt of our neighbor, egoism, and many faults. Selfishness is pride, the root of all sins, just as Scripture says.

 (FS p.707-8)


15. If the confreres of this least order neglect to battle and mortify selfishness through actions, prayer to God and the most Holy Virgin; as well as through the means of discipline and observance at their disposal, they will never be able to meet the holy aims of their institute.

(FS p.708)


16. The mortification of the senses is very important and efficacious. Without it we ate unable to advance toward perfection, rather we are always in danger of being lost. St. John of the Cross calls mortification “obscure night”. The soul comes to the light of divine union through it.

(FS p. 708)


17. Holy silence is indispensable to keep order to cultivate holy virtues, and to observe the rule. Holy Scripture says that the spirit is strengthened by silence: Your salvation lay in conversion and tranquility, your strength, in complete trust (Is. 30: 15). On the contrary, a flood of words is never without its faults   (Prov. 10: 19); and The man who walks too much will get himself disliked (Eccl. 20: 8); as well as, Happy the who has never sinned with his tongue (Ecc. 25:11). Holy silence was always kept by the communities of perfect observance.

(Initial Rules for the Rogationist Postulants,…RA p. 277)


18. The institutes’ rules and the observant communities hold silence in great esteem, because it helps the people by concentrating their attention, by controlling their desires, and by mortifying their heart; furthermore, it keeps their soul in the divine presence, fosters a calm and gentle spirit, and preserves virtues. Those who accustom themselves to silence are worthy to hear God speaking to their heart.

(Rules for Rogationist Aspirants,…RA p. 278)


19. The master will test the novices in many ways about humility, obedience, mortification and sacrifices, and they will receive everything with spiritual pleasure in order to the celestial spouse, to destroy their bad habits, and to atone for their past sins,

(Rules for the Little Poor of the Heart of Jesus, RA p.279).


20. As sobers souls, they will not seek satisfaction in eating nor will they eat two different kinds of fruit, but will eat and drink as much as is sufficient taking their time. as penitent souls, they will lobe mortification, humiliation, and penance, which are so much hated by the blind world, but so much loved by the saints.

(Rules for the little poor of the Heart of Jesus,…RA p. 279)


21. The Little Retreat novices will love penance with particular affection because it mortifies the passion, but enlivens the spirit. They are told to practice the penances and the mortifications the fathers of spirit suggest, because such penances destroy the natural defects without harming health, sometimes helping it instead.

(Rules for the Little Poor of the Heart of Jesus,…RA p. 280)


22. Each one will embrace suffering, mortifications, contradictions, sickness, nuisance, and anything else coming from the reigning or permitting will of God as beneficial and holy penances. They will endure them with great love and holy joy, at least by intellect and will.

(Rules of the Pious Congregation of the Rogationists,…RA p. 281)


23. Do not deceive yourselves by thinking of enjoying satisfaction and pleasure but think of embracing penance and sacrifices. If you wish consolations, these will be the ones coming from the cross, because the cross has a secret joy… may you be able to suffer some trouble some trouble, opposition, mortification, and sacrifices for Jesus, our supreme goodness. Be sure that the joy gushing out of the cross surpasses the world’s pleasures. Most faithful is God, who chose you. He asks you to carry his cross. He himself places it on yours shoulders. He sometimes overcharges it to make it felt, but if you are faithful, he will give you the consolations, the joy, and the peace, which are an anticipation of the eternal reward.

(Speech to the Daughters of Divine Zeal, 1909; RA p. 520-21)


24. If ever the superiors warn or admonish me for my faults, I will receive their warnings and admonitions with humility of heart and with all my soul, without justifying myself or arguing about it, on the contrary, I will acknowledge my faults with humble and simple heart and will amend.

(Forty Declarations and Promises, 1910, RA p. 289)


25. Those who despise or under-value the bodily penances by saying that the interior ones are enough, do not show true spirit nor wisdom, nor the science of the saints; they only show that they are not striving to achieving interior virtues. We must bear in mind our Lord Jesus Christ’s saying: “I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.” (Lk. 13: 5)

(The spirit of the Daughters of Divine Zeal,…RA p. 280)


26. We must bear in our mind our Lord Jesus Christ’s saying: “I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.” (Lk. 13: 5) God’s word has a wider sense; when he talked about penance, he also meant the voluntary one which the person who is called to perfection, jeopardizing her spirit through enfeeblement of repentance and resolve, and running the risk of losing the spirit, her vocation, and eternal salvation. The spirit of the Daughters of Divine Zeal…RA p. 282-83)


27. Feeing on leftovers, which helps humility, but destroys gluttony; this mortification, however, is allowed now and then to the novices who ask for it.

(Rules for the Little Poor of the Heart of Jesus,…RA p. 280)


28. We warmly exhort the probationers to humble themselves interiorly when they are corrected. The probationer who longs for religious life recognizes his failure every time he is corrected.

(Rules of the Rogationist Postulants,…RA p. 291)


29. The Daughters of Divine Zeal will love, wish and esteem the voluntary penances which foster divine love and holy virtues, purify the souls from fast faults, expiate pain on earth, and lighten purgatory’s pain when they are performed with pure intention. They also stimulate the souls to reach perfection, accustoming them to suffering, mortification, and destruction of selfishness.

(The Spirit of the Daughters of Divine Zeal,…RA p. 282)


30. Let us endure want affliction, contradictions, lack of food, clothes, and everything, considering how much Christ, his most holy mother, and the patron saints suffered for us.

(Rules of the Rogationist Religious Congregation,…RA p. 290)


31. If Jesus gives me suffering, I will cry: hurrah to the suffering from the Infant Jesus. If the Infant Jesus gives me the cross, I will hug it and cry: hurrah to the cross from the Infant Jesus. If the Infant Jesus gives me thorns in the New Year, I will take them, hug them, and cry: hurrah from the thorns of the Infant Jesus. If the Infant Jesus gives me nails, I will drive them through my heart and I will cry: hurrah to the nails from the Infant Jesus.

(VITALE, Father Hannibal Mary Di Francia’s life and Works, p.216)



Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 01:44
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