When I deny myself, what am I really doing? The power of my will is so strong that I can say "no" even to God. Although it is a spiritual faculty, the will needs exercise in order to strengthen itself-just as a muscle needs exercise to keep its tone. Misuse and no-use mean death to both physical and spiritual faculties. Every time I say "no" to a small temptation, I strengthen my will to say "no" to a greater one. The more my will is turned toward God, the greater will be my union with His Son.
Positive Effects of Self Denial
Love is increased when I refrain from speaking of my neighbor's faults.
Patience grows when I listen to a boring account of a friend's neurosis. Temperance becomes stronger when I use moderation.
Justice is sweetened when I put myself in my neighbor's shoes and forgive his offenses. Gentleness gives me more control when the opportunity to lose my temper is squelched. Humility is preserved when I give credit where credit is due—to God.
Prudence becomes easy when I forget myself and look for the good of others.
Fortitude is strengthened when I accept pain and suffering with resignation.