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: The Second Degree of the Spirit of Sacrifice .2


E) Fidelity to the Inspirations of Grace

A further means of manifesting the spirit of sacrifice is found in being faithful to the inspirations of grace. “Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the interior life,” says Father Hausherr, S.J., “will readily become aware of the voice of divine grace in his heart; and the more attentive he is, the oftener will he hear that voice. He will find that the voice of God suggests to him the practice now of one, now of another virtue. If he acts on these suggestions, he must make progress in virtue; for practice makes perfect. Moreover, he thereby prepares his heart for the reception of graces ever more numerous and more precious, according to the well-known principle of the spiritual life, that God never allows Himself to be out-done in generosity by His creatures. He will eventually come, through personal experience, to find the truth of the words of a certain spiritual writer, who says that few persons realize the heights of perfection to which God would raise them, if they but surrendered themselves completely to His guidance and gave ear to the whispering of His grace.” This is therefore a point of supreme importance for spiritual progress.

I. What is meant by inspirations of grace?

Victim Souls, and indeed pious souls in general, often experience good thoughts and suggestions. Now, the questions naturally arise: “How ought we to look upon these? Must we always regard them as inspirations of grace, or our own activity?”

In regard to important suggestions of this nature, a pious author would have us put certain questions to ourselves:
1. “Is the work thus suggested a morally good one?
2. “Is it in accordance with prudence and good judgment? Would its performance be a hindrance to what would be manifestly something better, or would it even have bad consequences?
3. “Is its purpose a holy one and its motive supernatural?
4. “Does the work imply the practice of mortification and charity? Merely natural works always savor of self-love.
5. “Is the suggestion accompanied by peace of hear and confidence in God? For peace of heart is the surest sign of the genuineness of an inspiration.
6. “Is the suggestion lasting and persevering? Inclinations and desires, which are the product of our imagination, betray the same characteristics as the changeable faculty of the soul – they are changeable and shortlived. The same is true of suggestions coming from the evil spirit, for they, too, are produced through the instrumentality of the imagination."

“In matters of smaller importance," the same author continues, “a lengthy consideration is not advisable. Why, for example, should I hesitate in deciding whether to recite the rosary or the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin? The difference between the two is not so vital as to demand long consideration. In such cases the practical thing to do is to go straight on without any scruples and do what seems right. Thereby we prevent loss of time and are not exposed to the danger of becoming uneasy and superstitious.” Hence, in by far the larger number of cases, one is free to do what seems best at the moment.

II. What must we avoid in the case of genuine inspirations of grace?

Above all, we must never reject a real inspiration, even if it demands a sacrifice from us.

This is a point upon which St. Margaret Mary repeatedly insists in her letters. “Let us love the Sacred Heart,” she writes, “with our whole strength, and let us surrender ourselves to Him completely and without reserve; for He will have all or nothing. And when we have once made the offering of ourselves, let us never recall it.”

Again she writes: “Let us not trifle with grace when it urges us to perform an act of virtue. We must courageously obey its inspirations in spite of all protests and objections on the part of nature. For the grace which now inspires us so powerfully may gradually cease and withdraw from us entirely, leaving us cold and insensible. Then we shall in vain implore it. From such a misfortune may God preserve us.”

How many souls have not experienced the fulfillment of the menace which the Saint expresses in these words! They wished to bargain and trifle with grace, and in consequence Our Lord abandoned them. Formerly grace worked powerfully in them and drew them forcibly to the Sacred Heart, but when they neglected so many inspirations and were unwilling to open when He knocked at the door of their heart, Our Savior, tired of long waiting, withdrew from them. That, indeed, is truly severe, a punishment, but we must confess, one that is deserved. If, therefore, Victim Souls wish to avoid Our Savior’s withdrawal from them, they must not bargain and trifle with grace.

In this respect Our Savior Himself would bear no delay and no hesitation on the part of his chosen pupil. “Whilst still a novice she felt great difficulty in conquering herself, wherefore Our Savior showed her His sacred body, covered with wounds which He had suffered for love of her, and reproached her with ingratitude and cowardice in not overcoming herself for love of Him. ‘What wouldst Thou have me do, O my God?’ she said; ‘my will is stronger than myself.’ Our Lord told her that if she placed her will in the wound of His sacred side, she would no longer find any difficulty in overcoming herself. ‘Place it there, then, O my Savior,’ she replied, ‘enclosed it there so securely that it may never more escape from thence.’ From that moment everything appeared to her so easy that she had no longer any difficulty in conquering herself.”

III. What must we do in practice when we experience real inspiration of grace?

The answer to this question is evident: Co-operate faithfully with every grace.

For this purpose Victim Souls are strongly advised to renew the resolution at every Communion, to promise Our Savior that they will never refuse Him anything, that they will never reject any of Hid requests, not even if He should demand some sacrifice from them. In the evening let them examine themselves concerning the fidelity with which they have kept this resolution. If they have deliberately acted contrary to their resolution, let them humble themselves before Our Savior, and in reparation of their fault impose some small penance upon themselves, or at least recite a short prayer of reparation to the Sacred Heart.

But let us once more emphasize the caution that in matters of less importance a lengthy consideration is not advisable; the best course is simply to do what at the moment seems right. Scrupulous souls ought always to pursue this course, for hesitation would simply mean loss of precious time. Similarly, when once the action is performed, it is not good to be anxiously concerned about whether it was performed as perfectly as possible, and then to reproach oneself with having refused Our Savior a sacrifice. Having done what at the moment seemed to be right, we have done well and pleased Our Savior. Our Lord does not weigh things so minutely as many a scrupulous person is wont to do. Why, then, should we continue to torment ourselves and thereby lose our peace of heart?

Let us, therefore, be faithful to the inspirations of grace, since so much depends thereon, both for our spiritual progress and for the preservation of the spirit of reparation; but let us steadfastly put away all anxiety and narrow-mindedness.

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