An electronic reproduction of the Guide for Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus compiled from various sources by the Very Rev. Joseph Kreuter, OSB.

Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D., Censor Librorum. Imprimatur + Stephen J. Donahue, S.T.D., Administrator of New York; 1939.

According to the United States Copyright Office the copyright has expired on this book.

In your charity, please pray that the Sacred Heart draws many souls here to read, contemplate and be enkindled.

Soli+Deo!

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From the Biography of Mo. Marie Deluil-Martiny: Immolation
by Abbe L. Laplace.
Nihil Obstat. Authur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.
Imprimatur +Patrick Cardinal Hays
New York, July 14, 1926.

Part II; Chapter 2: Means to Attain the End


The means by which Victim Souls seek to attain the end they have proposed to themselves are prayer and sacrifice. Their motto must be: “Prayer and sacrifice, love and suffering.” Even as Jesus reconciled sinful humanity to His heavenly Father by prayer and sacrifice, by the same means Victim Souls fulfill their holy vocation of reparation.

First Means: Prayer


Victim Souls will, above all, seek to perform the various practices of devotion to the Sacred Heart.


Of course, none of these exercises of piety is indispensable. The spirit, however, which should animate them must manifest itself in sacrifices, which they can perform even to a heroic degree, independently of the various exercises of piety which will be presently indicated. It remains, therefore, for the individual soul to make use of those practices which her individual circumstances make possible for her.


It should also be borne in mind that none of the requirements for a Victim Soul is binding under pain of sin, except such as are binding upon all men. It is, of course, possible to make a separate vow when making the offering of oneself as a Victim; but such a vow is not necessary, nor is it even advisable, and hence ought never to be made without permission of one’s confessor.


The following exercises of piety are recommended to Victim Souls:

1. The First Friday of the Month


Victim Souls will above all be faithful in the observance of the first Friday of each month by devoutly receiving Holy Communion, or, if hindered on the first Friday, at least on the first Sunday of the month. This devotion, which has become a cherished object of all clients of the Sacred Heart, will be especially dear to Victim Souls.


It is precisely the first Friday that Our Savior Himself appointed for special reparation. It was on this day that He once appeared to St. Margaret Mary and complained to her of the coldness and ingratitude with which most men requite His love and His benefits, and asked her to receive Holy Communion in reparation thereof.


It is well to bear in mind that Our Savior has made a most consoling promise in favor of those who regularly receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of each month. “I promise these in the excess of the mercy of My Heart that its all-powerful love will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the first Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving the Sacraments; My divine Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.” No wonder that thousand upon thousands, yea, millions of Catholics flock to the altar on the first Friday to gain for themselves a claim to this wonderful promise; so that now, since the introduction of frequent Communion, the first Friday has become a veritable feast day in most parishes. How zealous, therefore, Victim Souls should be in observance of the first Friday!

2. Communion of Reparation



Victim Souls will, moreover, feel themselves drawn to receive Holy Communion, not merely on the first Friday, but also at other times with the special purpose of making reparation to the Sacred Heart.


Even as the first Friday arose from an express wish of Our Savior, in like manner the origin of the Communion of Reparation is to be traced to an express desire on His part; for, on one occasion, He addressed the following words to St. Margaret Mary: “I come into thy heart in order that by thy burning love thou mayest repair the offenses which are offered to Me in the Blessed Sacrament by lukewarm and cold souls. Do thou at least afford Me some comfort: make reparation for the ingratitude of men by receiving Me in Holy Communion as often as obedience permits.”


Again He spoke to her, saying: “I wish thy heart to be a refuge to which I can fly and find joy when sinners drive Me from their hearts. When thou shalt realize that the divine justice is aroused against sinners, do thou receive Me in Holy Communion, place Me upon the throne of thy heart, and prostrate at My feet do thou offer Me adoration.”


Do not these words of Our Savior apply equally well to Victim Souls, since they too, like St. Margaret Mary, have consecrated themselves to the Sacred Heart for the very purpose of making reparation to Him? And how can this be done better than by the Communion of Reparation? To repair the offenses offered Him in the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord Himself prescribed the reception of Holy Communion as the proper means of celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart.



Is it possible, then, for Victim Souls to remain indifferent to so earnest an appeal of the Sacred Heart? Will they not feel themselves powerfully drawn to fulfill this wish of their Savior as often as they can?

3. The Mass of Reparation


The most effective means of reparation is Holy Communion together with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In Mass there is offered to God a gift which is of infinite value – the only-begotten Son of God, and His Precious Blood shed in reparation for us. This infinite gift is offered to God not only by the priest, but also by the faithful who assist at holy Mass – a fact which becomes clear from a consideration of the beautiful prayers used by the priest during the Holy Sacrifice.

When he raises the paten with the hose at the Offertory of the Mass, he makes the offering not only for himself, but also “for all those present, for all believing Christians, for the living and the dead.” At the offering of the chalice he prays in the name of all who are present: “We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency, that in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty it may ascend with the odor of sweetness for our salvation and for that of the whole world.” At the conclusion of the Offertory he turns to the people and says these words: “Brethren, pray that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father Almighty.”


At the moment of the Consecration the priest indeed speaks the sacred words alone, but soon after he offers the divine Victim in the name of all the faithful who are present, saying: “Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants and likewise Thy holy people offer unto Thy most excellent Majesty a pure Victim, a holy Victim, an immaculate Victim, the holy Bread of eternal life an the Chalice of everlasting salvation.”


Most of the faithful are, unfortunately, too little conscious of this exalted function which should be theirs at Mass. It is therefore all the more incumbent upon Victim Souls to unite themselves most closely with the sacrificing priest. In so doing they ought at the same time to unite themselves with the divine Victim, and with Him and through Him make of themselves and all they possess a sacrifice of reparation.


It is highly desirable and profitable for Victim Souls not to be content with thus offering the one Mass at which they are present; they should strive to unite themselves frequently during the day, in the spirit of self-oblation, with all the Masses which are said throughout the world.


How slight is the reparatory value of our own good works, because of our poverty and sinfulness! But Jesus, the loving Savior, comes to aid this our poverty and deficiency by giving Himself to us in holy Mass as a perpetual sacrifice of reparation. Well may we then follow Him in spirit from altar to altar and take part in His uninterrupted sacrifice.


And how useful is the practice of making a new offering of ourselves at the beginning of each hour of the day! Thereby we please the Sacred Heart of Our Savior and gain a greater share in the graces of the Holy Mass. This good intention so frequently renewed, although earnestly recommended, is however by no means essential for sharing in the multitude of Masses that are said daily; it suffices if we make the intention in the morning to share in all the Masses that will be said during that day.

4. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament




Victim Souls will naturally experience a strong yearning to pay frequent visits to their loving Savior in the tabernacle. Only too frequently He is left alone, not only during the long hours of the night, but also throughout the day; and yet we know He is there out of love for us, that we may not be left orphans in this vale of tears, that He may bestow His graces and blessings in richest abundance on those who come to keep Him company in His loneliness. But, oh, how few think of this loving Heart of Our Savior perpetuating His presence amongst us solely for our benefit!



Ought it not, then, to be the sweetest privilege of Victim Souls to present themselves frequently before the tabernacle in order to make reparation for the coldness and indifference of others by their own faithfulness and love?



It was this very loneliness of Our Lord in the tabernacle that deeply affected Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus, and therefore, while still in the world, she was wont to spend whole hours in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Being asked on one occasion what she found to say to her loving Savior during all these hours, she replied: “I tell Him that I long for a thousand hearts to offer Him, a thousand lives to sacrifice to Him, and thousands of souls to bring to Him.”



From her ardent desire to make reparation for the coldness of men proceeded her endeavor to obtain for her newly founded Community the privilege of perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the little chapel of her convent.



From the same desire she adopted the practice of saluting her loving Savior in the tabernacle, whenever on a journey she spied the tower of a church or chapel. She also made it a labor of love to decorate the altar personally and to prepare everything necessary for the service of the altar. For this end she ever strove for the utmost splendor and magnificence, upon which she once remarked as follows: “There was a time in my life when I was much given to display and extravagance, and had I remained in the world this inclination might have proved dangerous to me; but now that I have left all for God, I can indulge it without fear or restraint, because it enable me to exalt His divine Majesty.”



What a beautiful example for Victim Souls! If there were but one such person in every parish how well would the beauty of the Lord’s house be guaranteed! Then indeed the decorations of the altar would never consist of merely a few faded artificial flowers, nor would there be a single church in which after the brief half hour of the morning Mass Our Savior would be left entirely alone. Truly, such a Victim Soul would cause unspeakable pleasure to Our Savior and would merit a rich reward from Him.



5. The Holy Hour



The devout practice of the Holy Hour owes its origin to the promptings of Our Blessed Lord Himself. One day when He appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, He said to her: “Every night between Thursday and Friday I will make you partake of that sorrow unto death which it was My will to suffer in the Garden of Olives. United with Me in the humble prayer which I then offered to My Father, you shall rise between eleven o’clock and midnight; and you shall prostrate yourself with Me for one hour, with your face to the ground, both to appease the anger of God by imploring mercy for sinners and to sweeten in some way the bitterness which I felt when My apostles abandoned Me, being unable to watch one hour with Me.”



The Saint observed this hour of adoration faithfully, and in return received countless favors from the Sacred Heart.



Undoubtedly many pious souls imitated the example of St. Margaret Mary, but it was only in the year 1829 that Father Debrosse, of the Society of Jesus, founded a Confraternity at Paray-le-Monial, whose members promised to observe the Holy Hour in accordance with the wishes of Our Savior. Pope Pius VIII granted the members a plenary indulgence for the observance of the Holy Hour; Pope Pius IX granted the same indulgence to members of the Apostleship of Prayer who observe the Holy Hour between sunset of Thursday and sunrise of Friday; Pope Leo XIII permitted the members of the Apostleship to observe the Holy Hour at any hour and on any day of the week, provided the observance to be in common and in public.



To gain the plenary indulgence attached to the observance of the Holy Hour at present, the requirements are most simple: to spend an hour in prayer according to the intention above described, during the time indicated. The Holy Hour may therefore be hold in the church or at home; during which time one may kneel or stand or be seated, no special position being prescribed. In like manner we may perform the most various kinds of devotion: we may make spiritual reading on the Passion of Our Lord and then meditate on what we read; we may make the Way of the Cross, or recite the Rosary, contemplating the Sorrowful Mysteries; or we may say any other prayers to which we may feel inclined. It is, however, very desirable to occupy oneself with the consideration of the Passion of Our Lord, especially with His sufferings in the Garden of Olives.



6. The Offering of the Precious Blood



The last exercise, which is especially recommended to Victim Souls, is the frequent offering of the Precious Blood and Water which flowed from the wound of the Sacred Heart when it was pierced with the lance. This is an exercise which is specially practiced by the Guard of Honor, and hence souls of sacrifice ought frequently to offer this precious price of our Redemption to the heavenly Father.



The intention with which this offering should be made is, first of all, the expiation of the sins of mankind, the conversion of poor sinners, and the needs of Holy Church; and then very specially to implore greater perfection for priests and Religious, together with all the graces they need in order to triumph over the persecution which the powers of hell seem to be instigating against them in our day.



The following indulgenced prayer seems particularly suited for this offering:


“Holy Father, accept in reparation, for the needs of Holy Church, and in satisfaction for the sins of men, the Precious Blood and Water which flowed from the wound of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and have mercy on us.”


The six exercises of piety which we have just described are rather external practices, eminently characteristic of devotion to the Sacred Heart. They are therefore earnestly recommended to Victim Souls, but do not constitute the peculiar mark which should distinguish them. It is the second means, namely sacrifice, which should characterize them; for only souls that courageously make sacrifices merit in the truest sense the name of Victim Souls. However, one can be more or less generous in making sacrifices; and therefore we shall indicate the various degrees of this spirit of sacrifice. In the first place, timid souls should remember that it is not necessary, in the very beginning, to aim at, much less to arrive at, the highest degree of sacrifice; it suffices that we have the firm determination of will to accept in the spirit of reparation whatever befalls us in the ordinary course of events. Indeed, the surrender of oneself to the Sacred Heart in the character of a Victim Soul does not demand anything extraordinary: it suffices that we perform ordinary actions in an extraordinary way, as perfectly as circumstances allow.


With this preliminary remark we proceed to the consideration of the second means to be employed by Victim Souls in gaining the object which they have proposed to themselves.

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