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: The Second Degree of the Spirit of Sacrifice .1

A) Willing Performance of Duty

Victim Souls have a wide field for the exercise of the spirit of sacrifice in the faithful performance of the duties of their state in life. These duties demand constant self-denial from weak nature; for, surely, continuous toil throughout the day, whatever its character, becomes in the long run most trying and exhausting, and demands perpetual sacrifice of self; but if cheerfully done in the spirit of reparation, it makes one a Victim Soul in the full sense of the term.

In the faithful performance of their daily duties, Victim Souls should pay attention to three points: (1) the avoidance of all deliberate faults; (2) faithfulness in the observance of their order of the day; (3) the conscientious observance of their rule.

B) The Avoidance of Deliberate Faults

Our Savior said to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: “Learn of Me, because I am the perfect Master, Who teach holiness. I am perfect purity and cannot bear even the smallest fault.”

1) Here Our Lord does not refer to involuntary faults, into which we fall through want of reflection, or through human weakness. With the best of will and in spite of the most perfect spirit of sacrifice, we shall continue to commit such faults during our entire life, for they are inherent in our very nature.

Our nature would have to be completely reconstituted and spiritualized, and the consequences of original sin removed, before we could avoid all such faults of weakness. That is a condition which we can never hope for in this life; it will be realized only in eternity.

Neither do these involuntary faults offend Our Savior any more than a mother is offended at her little child’s falling repeatedly whilst attempting to walk. The mother only pities the weakness of her child, helps it to rise when it has fallen, and pets it when it has hurt itself. In like manner, Our Savior only pities us because of our faults arising from weakness, and is ever anxious to receive us back with the greatest tenderness, if we will but return to Him in all humility.

For this reason we ought never to be disturbed because of such faults. St. Margaret Mary tells us expressly: “You must never become uneasy or disturbed at the sight of your faults and miseries. They are even good and useful, since they preserve in us the consciousness of our wretchedness. Inasmuch as we do not offend God by them, we ought to be glad at being afflicted with such involuntary perversities, which contribute to our greater humiliation.”

As a matter of fact, if we never committed any faults, not even through haste, we should have to fear greatly lest we should become guilty of self-complacency, and even of exalting ourselves above others. To preserve humility of heart, it is therefore good for us at times to fall into some humiliating exterior faults, which make us feel thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. On such occasions let us say to Our Lord with the Psalmist: “It is good for me, that Thou hast humiliated me.”

On this point Father Grou, S.J., says most admirably: “The masters of the spiritual life maintain that God often permits certain faults to remain in even the most perfect souls – faults of which, in spite of all efforts, they can not rid themselves – in order that they may realize how very weak they are and what they would be without His grace; to prevent their becoming proud because of His favors, to preserve in them a dissatisfaction with themselves, and to help them to escape the snares of self-love; to make them practice watchfulness and have frequent recourse to prayer.

“The faults which we commit are not infrequently occasions of practicing virtue. Thus when we have allowed a harsh word to escape our lips, or have given way to sudden impatience, an act of humility will make good the fault and make abundant satisfaction for any scandal we may have given. The fault was committed through impulse; it is, as it were, retracted by a fully determined act of the will, which has cost us much. Such an act pleases God more than our fault can have displeased Him.” Nevertheless, it ought to be the constant endeavor of a soul that is aiming at perfection to rid herself of even these involuntary faults.

2) What Victim Souls must altogether avoid are deliberate faults. St. Margaret Mary is most insistent on this point. “Our love of God,” she says, “must keep us from doing anything that might displease the Beloved of our soul. I cannot understand how a heart which belongs to God and sincerely wishes to love Him, can offend Him willfully. Be careful, therefore, I conjure you, not to commit such faults; for they would rob you of very many graces, the loss of which would render your heart lukewarm and so weaken your soul as to make progress in the way of perfection simply impossible.”

And so it is in reality. A Victim Soul no longer belongs to herself, but to her Savior. She ought to be a living tabernacle of her Savior, and her heart a living altar upon which sacrifice is offered constantly, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. But even the smallest particle of dust displeases us on the tabernacle and on the altar.

Furthermore, it is a matter of experience that because of deliberate faults Our Savior withdraws Himself from us and often remains deaf to all our prayers for a long time. St. Margaret Mary therefore writes to a Sister Religious: “If you wish to pray well, you must faithfully practice mortification, preserve constant recollection of sprit, and avoid deliberate faults.”

Father Grou, S.J., writes as follows: “The first resolution of a soul that would belong entirely to God must be never to commit a fault with full knowledge and consent, never to act against conscience, never to refuse anything that God asks of her. She must never say: ‘This is unimportant, God will not take notice of such a trifle.’”

If, therefore, we would be true Victim Souls, we must make the firm resolution never to commit a deliberate fault, and to fulfill the duties of our state even to the smallest details.

C) Faithful Observance of the Order of the Day

For the faithful performance of the duties of our state it is almost essential to have a fixed order of the day, and to observe it conscientiously in spite of inclinations to the contrary. First of all the time of rising ought to be set, and we ought to rise punctually at the determined hour, unless there is a good reason for remaining longer in bed. Our first thoughts on awaking should be directed to Our Savior as an act of reparation for those who never think of consecrating to Him the first moments of the day.

Our morning pray ought to contain a special act of oblation, wherein we consecrate ourselves, and all our thoughts, words, and actions to the Sacred Heart, for the intentions for which He offers Himself in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

If time and circumstances permit, we ought to connect with our morning prayer a meditation of a quarter or a half hour. We ought likewise endeavor to hear Mass daily, and in accordance with the wishes of the Sacred Heart to receive Holy Communion every morning.

During the day we ought to preserve an intimate union with Our Savior by frequent acts of love, by a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, by the devout recitation of the Rosary, and occasionally, at least, by performing the devotion of the Way of the Cross.

Finally, a Victim Soul will not fail to make an examination of conscience at the close of each day. In doing so she might especially ask herself: “Have I today been guilty of any deliberate fault? Have I consciously resisted any inspirations of grace ore refused my Savior any sacrifice?” If she must answer affirmatively, she ought humbly to ask Our Savior’s pardon and impose upon herself some penance in reparation of the fault. Then she may be sure that, seeing her good will and her genuine sorrow, Our Savior will not longer be displeased with her.

D) Conscientious Observance of the Rule

In the case of Religions, the faithful observance of the rule is an important part of the duties of their state and offers numberless opportunities for manifesting the spirit of sacrifice. A Religious who conscientiously observes even the smallest precepts of the rule, is constantly called upon to make sacrifices. He or she should never ask, “What does the rule demand of me?” Thus a Religious is able to make, daily, any number of sacrifices, thereby eminently fulfilling the aim of perpetual reparation. Let a Religious be guided by the principle by which St. John Berchmans was led in all his actions, “I would rather die than transgress even the smallest rule through carelessness or without sufficient reason.”

For example, how many sacrifices does not the faithful observance of silence demand! And yet this apparently unimportant rule is of supreme importance for the making progress in spiritual life; for without the conscientious observance of silence a soul will never arrive at true union and familiar intercourse with God.

It is not difficult to observe the rule faithfully for a day or two, or perhaps even for a week or two; but to do it for years, without ever dispensing oneself from even some of its minor precepts, through carelessness of indifference, this is indeed a difficult task – even heroic; and therefore it is the best way of making reparation to the Sacred Heart.

Religious, then have no need to seek for opportunities of self-sacrifice; since the faithful observance of the rule provides them constantly. But it is to be feared that to many of them these words of St. Bonaventure can be applied: “Many have the desire of sacrificing their life for Christ, but are unwilling for His sake to accept even a small rebuff, or to keep an easy rule. They might be excused had the task imposed on them been a difficult one, but what excuse can they make for transgressing such easy commands?”

Religious will do well to bear in mind the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori, saying: “A Religious who goes to the choir to pray or performs exercises of penance when the rule prescribes work or recreation, is not to be commended. Such untimely acts of devotion are stolen sacrifices, which God does not accept.”

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi used to say that the best way for Religious to gain a store of rich merits is to be present as for as possible at all Community exercises.

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