Mortification of the flesh

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Mortification of the flesh

Mortification of the flesh is the institutional expiatory self-flagellation of a person or group's penance for atonement of sins and path to sanctity. The term is primarily used in religious and spiritual contexts. The practice is found in many cultures, most notably the Roman Catholic Church and their penitential saints. The more common forms of mortification today include fasting, walking barefoot, motion by pious kneeling or laying face down on the floor. Also common amongst religious orders in the past were the wearing of sack garments, and flagellation in imitation of Jesus Christ's suffering and death by crucifixion. Some forms unique to some Asian cultures are carrying heavy loads and immersion in water.