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!

Other Texts ...

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: First Degree of the Spirit of Sacrifice

A) Patient acceptance of crosses and sufferings

1. The most essential requirement for Victim Souls is the courageous acceptance of those sacrifices which God imposes upon them, and which, consequently, they are in wise able to avoid; these, however, they should accept with the intention of thereby offering reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of contributing, in some measure, to the conversion of poor sinners.

They must therefore be firmly resolved to accept with full resignation and in the spirit of reparation whatever cross or suffering God may wish to send them. In their act of oblation they have made a complete surrender of themselves to the Sacred Heart to be dealt with entirely according to His good pleasure. They have consented in advance to accept in the spirit of reparation all sufferings, whether of body, mind, or soul, which the Sacred Heart of Jesus may wish to send them.

2. Not a few may shrink from joining the Association of Victim Souls when they consider that if they make an absolute surrender of themselves, God may send them very heavy crosses to bear, and hence, they argue, it is better for them to refrain from joining the Association, since they are far too weak to bear crosses.

Such fear, however, is entirely groundless. To surrender oneself to God in the character of a Victim Soul does not mean to ask Him for extraordinary crosses; this, indeed, would be imprudent, because we do not know whether we are capable of bearing them. A cross which taxes our strength may become for us a temptation to impatience or discouragement.

After she had on a certain occasion written enthusiastically of her own thirst for crosses and sufferings, St. Margaret Mary thus cautioned a Sister Religious: “I would not have you understand me to mean that we ought to ask for crosses and sufferings, for the more perfect way is to desire nothing and to refuse nothing, but to abandon oneself entirely to the Beloved, to be crucified or humiliated according to His good pleasure.”

St. Francis de Sales writes in a similar strain: “Should Divine Providence permit sufferings to befall you, do not reject them, but accept all quietly and lovingly. If, however, God does not send or permit such to befall you, do not desire or ask them. I am of the opinion that we ought not ask for bitterness of heart, as Our Lord once did, for we are not able to bear it as He did. For us it suffices that we accept it with patience.”

3. On the other hand, the surrender of oneself in the spirit of Victim Souls does imply the conviction that sufferings are indeed a precious gift. Their attitude of mind ought to be such as might be expressed in the following words: “O Lord, if it is for Thy greater honor that I follow Thee not only in joy but also in suffering, I am willing. Thou needest not act like a father who may not handle the spoiled child roughly lest it fight and resist. I know that Thou wilt not send me sufferings unless they are for my good, and that I can give evidence of my love for Thee only by love of the cross.”

This much, then, must be simply a matter of course for Victim Souls, that they accept willingly in the spirit of reparation all crosses and sufferings which Our Savior may see fit to send them; for this is implied in their act of oblation, and is in fact the plain duty of every Christian, as may be seen from the words of Our Lord: “He who will not carry his cross cannot be my disciple.”

We may not therefore give ear to the voice of corrupt nature ever prone to complain when God sends crosses and sufferings. “He inflicts such deep wounds and His hand rests heavily upon me!” Yes, but can we fear aught from a hand which was pierced for us and was willing to be nailed to the Cross for us? “But He leads me upon so narrow and thorny a path!” Yes, but what if there be no other way to Heaven; would you rather be lost forever? And did He not Himself walk the way of suffering? “But He offers me a chalice filled with bitterness!” Yes, but remember that it is your Savior who offers it; and surely He who loves you with such infinitely tender love would never be so severe, apparently so harsh with you, if it were not for your profit, and perhaps even necessary for you.

Another thought deserving of our consideration is this: It may well be that difficult trials are actually in store for us; but if we have formed the habit of offering ourselves voluntarily for anything that may befall us, will it not be easier to accept trials when God actually sends them? We shall therefore do well frequently to express our willingness to sacrifice our possessions, our health, our good name, everything that we may call our own, in accordance with the good pleasure of God, until we have reached that stage where we shall will only what God wills, and desire nothing that God Himself does not desire.

B) Complete Abandonment to Divine Providence

1. The surrender of oneself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as a Victim Soul necessarily implies the complete abandonment of oneself to Divine Providence. In their act of oblation Victim Souls expressly declare their readiness to accept from the hand of God whatsoever it may please Him to send them. Whosoever would therefore become a Victim Soul must abandon himself without reserve to Divine Providence.

Such is likewise the express wish of the Sacred Heart; for there is nothing which Our Savior asked with more frequent insistence from St. Margaret Mary than this complete and unreserved surrender of herself. “It is My wish,” He says to her, “that you surrender yourself completely to My Providence, both when I heap tenderness upon you and when I visit you with sufferings.”

Again He says to her, “I am your Guide, to whom you must abandon yourself completely without any care or regard for your own person; for you shall never be in want until My Heart is deprived of its power.” In like manner, Our Lord wishes every Victim Soul to abandon herself completely to His good pleasure; yea, even that she allow no desire whatever to take possession of her heart which is not in full accord with His wishes.

Once when St. Margaret Mary was frightened at the sight of her own weakness and faults, Our Savior said to her: “Why are you frightened? Am I not sufficient for you? Can a child which is as much loved as I love you, be lost when it rests in the arms of the Almighty?”

The same words might be addressed by Our Savior to every Victim Soul; for there can be no doubt that she is a specially favored child of God. How then can she be lost if she surrenders herself into the arms of Divine Providence? She can only be lost if she withdraws from the loving care of Our Savior. It behooves us, therefore, to be totally unconcerned about the future, and in accordance with the wishes of Our Savior to cast all our care upon Him.

2. St. Margaret Mary writes to a Sister Religious: “Let us ask for nothing and refuse nothing.” Would that all Victim Souls practiced this golden rule, for surely it contains deep wisdom! We mortals are so frightfully short-sighted, and as a result oftentimes pray frequently for some grace which if granted would be simply disastrous to us, whilst we oppose with all our strength some disposition of Providence which would be to our advantage. Do we not often come to realize in mature years that the very things which happened to us in early life were for our real good, though at the time we did not think so? Surely, then, we ought as Victim Souls to make it the rule of our life neither to ask for anything nor to refuse anything, but to leave all to the loving Providence of God.

Another profitable course is indicated by St. Margaret Mary in these words: “We ought to abandon ourselves to the Providence of the Sacred Heart, so as to be fashioned and formed according to His good pleasure, just as the statue is in the hands of the sculptor.”

Were we thus disposed, it would be easy for the skillful master hand of our loving Savior to produce in a very short time a really beautiful work of art out of the coarse, shapeless mass which we are by nature. As it is, He is obliged to apply the chisel repeatedly and to strike heavy blows with the hammer, in order to smooth off the rough corners and edges, and thus gradually produce His own likeness in our souls. And all this is accomplished only after many years of labor on His part, because of our stubborn opposition; whereas otherwise it would require but a few months.

3. We shall quote a few more authorities on this important subject. St. Ignatius writes thus: “There are but few who understand what Almighty God would make of them if they did not oppose Him. A block of wood, no matter how rough and shapeless it be, may by the skill of an artist be transformed into a beautiful statue. Many a one who hardly deserves to be called a Christian would become a saint but that he puts himself in opposition to God’s designs and the workings of divine grace.” To abandon oneself unreservedly to Divine Providence is to make a Victim of oneself – no doubt but that is just what is expected of a Victim Soul. Is she not to become a Victim? That very surrender of oneself to God’s Providence is a necessity, to be sure; but it is at the same time the most acceptable of all sacrifices that can be offered to Almighty God.

Father DeLehen, S.J., indorses the opinion of St. Ignatius in these words: “The surrender of your own will is precisely that kind of sacrifice which is most agreeable to Almighty God and which confers greater honor on His infinite Majesty than any other. It is the most signal manifestation of love, the most exalted, the most meritorious of virtues. We may safely assert that by that submission we earn for ourselves, at every moment even, treasures of grace great beyond measure, and thus reap in a short time for all eternity a harvest of merits rich beyond description.” It may moreover be confidently maintained that by that very same submission the Victim Soul acts up to the demands of her sacred calling of atonement in the most perfect manner.

All Victim Souls therefore may listen to the exhortations St. Teresa addressed to her spiritual daughters as addressed to themselves. She says: “When you begin your spiritual exercises, take this only resolution, that you will endeavor to conform your will to God’s will. Rest assured that this conformity is the greatest possible perfection the soul can attain to; and the more eager you are in striving after it, the richer will be the graces the Almighty God will shower down upon you, and the quicker the pace at which you proceed along the path of the spiritual life. Believe me, there is no mystic knowledge beyond what I have just told you; and this is the foundation upon which the spiritual edifice is safely founded.” On our part we add that this conformity to our will to God’s will transforms us into genuine Victim Souls of the divine Heart of Jesus.

St. Clement Maria Hofbauer used to say: “The best means by which to attain holiness consists in sinking like a stone into the ocean of God’s will, and allowing oneself to be whirled and tossed about like a ball by the hand of Almighty God.”

We always return to God with a joyous heart when He throws His ball upwards, that is, when He elevates us to the realm of blissful contemplation or overwhelms us with His sweet consolations; but neither should we refuse to return to Him when He flings His poor ball to the ground, that is, when He lowers us into the depth of humiliation. Even then let us exclaim with a thankful heart: “My Jesus, I give Thee thanks that Thou hast lowered me, for I know that it is for my good; of it be for Thy honor let me be humbled anew. Have I not offered myself to Thee as a Victim Soul, that Thou mayest fully dispose of me according to Thy pleasure?”

It is indeed true that it is not always easy to make this complete surrender of ourselves to the Providence of God. Oftentimes God leads us over rough and dark paths; we stumble over the rough places and fear to advance in the darkness. Then indeed it is hard to abandon ourselves to the divine guidance. Even many a Victim Soul lacks the courage to do so, because she forgets that God’s ways are not our ways, that He sees farther than we, that He knows better what is for our real good.

Oh, that we could always keep alive the conviction that God’s infinitely loving Providence seeks only our true good, even when He sends us heavy trials! True, God could, if He so chose, reveal to us the full scope of His plans in our regard, and then we should readily acquiesce to Him. But then where would be our merit? It is just by abandoning ourselves confidently to the divine guidance, even when we do not see the wisdom of His ways, that we glorify God and make reparation to Him for the complaints and oftentimes blasphemies of those who refuse in the blindness of their hearts to submit to the dispositions of His Divine Providence.

For the consolation of souls what have high aims in the spiritual life, it may be well to outline what seems to be the manner of God’s dealings with them. The words of Father Grou, S.J., are most apt for this purpose. He says: “When a soul has made a complete surrender of herself to God, He at first gives to her a great confidence in Himself, a strong faith in His promises, perfect abandonment to His guidance. Later it pleases Him to test this confidence in a variety of ways. He seems to act in a manner contrary to what He has promised, as it were to abandon those who have delivered themselves to Him, to place them in a condition of darkness and spiritual desolation, so that they no longer know what to do, and are led almost to believe that God has delivered them up to perdition. If such souls nevertheless persevere in the service of God and do not in any way grow lax, but gradually make a sacrifice of all they hold most dear; if in their hearts they continue to hope against hope, they thereby glorify God supremely and amass for themselves a priceless treasure of merits.” Indeed, such souls are the ideal Victim Souls of sacrifice.

So complete a surrender to the divine guidance, even in heavy trials, seems indeed to be ideal; and yet it ought to be taken as a matter of course. For we cannot change the disposition of God’s Providence in our regard; even if we oppose and struggle against it; on the contrary, we thereby render crosses and sufferings only the heavier. We ought therefore, so to speak, make a virtue of necessity and accept all out of love for the Sacred Heart, to render Him atonement and to benefit poor sinners.

It is clear, then, from what has been said, that we fulfill the essential requirements of the Association of Victim Souls if only we willingly accept, in the spirit of reparation, the crosses which God sends us. But this will not satisfy the true and generous Victim Souls. Inflamed with love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they will long to do more; they will impose voluntary penances upon themselves; they will make it a rule of life not merely to shrink from no sacrifice, but even cheerfully to use every opportunity for self-surrender, because they realize that sacrifice is the means best adapted to accomplish their aim in life, viz.: to make reparation to the Sacred Heart, to bring stray souls back to Him, and to implore God’s blessing upon priests and Religious.

No comments:

 
Site Meter