I came across a wonderful meditation from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD on the spirit of mortification.
In discussing the true spirit of mortification, Fr. Gabriel states that it embraces all occasions for physical and moral suffering permitted by Divine Providence. These sufferings may include illness or fatigue, the effort involved in performing our daily duties, intense labor, defects of mind, or poverty. If we desire to surrender to God’s will in everything, we will not try to lighten these sufferings or run from them. It is these that God wants us to accept from His hands…more than any voluntary mortification that we choose of our own accord.
“All…must have that truly deep spirit of mortification which can embrace with generosity every opportunity for renunciation prepared or permitted by God.”
The same applies to sufferings in the moral order. Do we avoid those that we dislike…people that God has placed in our path? Do we avoid any kind of humiliation? Do we avoid an act of obedience that is painful to our nature? If so, we are running from the best opportunities for sacrifice and mortifying our self-love. Even if we substitute with another mortification, this will not have the same effect as those which are chosen by God Himself…those mortifications that He has especially prepared for us. Imagine that! God knows exactly what is needed for our sanctification and He chose these sacrifices Himself for each soul. No two souls are alike, so the mortifications will differ with every individual soul. With the mortifications ordained by Divine Providence there is no involvement of our own will and preferences. They strike us just where we need it most (smile).