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.


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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 .5

(H) Mortification

When true love of Our Savior has once taken possession of a soul, she often feels within herself an intense longing to suffer for Him, since He has suffered so much for her: she would gladly practice the greatest auster­ities to give proof of her love of Him. Such a desire for suffering is indeed praiseworthy, and yet it would he imprudent to act upon it rashly. For in our days people are no longer capable of performing the austerities which their forefathers practiced without seriously endangering their health.

A spiritual writer says very appropriately, “One can perform many great austerities and still fail to become holy, because of self-love and pride, which spoil all. Perfection consists in union with God, which can be gained only by self-denial, obedience, and humility. Peni­tential works are not the most important ele­ment; they are only means to an end. They must always be performed with a humble spirit, in obedience to our holy rule or to our spiritual director. Only then will they make us virtuous; whilst, if we become puffed up by them, they will but injure us, and had better be entirely omitted.”

“In my opinion,” the same writer continues, “there is much greater merit in accepting and bearing with loving patience the trials which God sends us than in any extraordinary acts of penance which we impose upon ourselves. If God does not give us sufficient strength for great austerities we may be sure that He does not require them from us. In that case we need only acknowledge our weakness in all humility and perform the duties imposed on us by obedience, and our humble acknowledgment will be the best penance and self-denial.”

In regard to extraordinary corporal penances, a safe principle of action is to do nothing with­out consulting and obtaining the express per­mission of one's confessor because, as we know from the repeated revelations of Our Lord to His saints, such penances, without the blessing of obedience, often have little or no value towards reparation. There remains, how­ever, for all persons without exception, a means of satisfying even the most ardent desire for doing penance: it is the practice of mortifica­tion.

I. Mortification of the Senses

Victim Souls will find numerous opportunities of practicing mortification of the eyes by preserving habitual modesty and continually restraining curiosity. How frequent are the occasions of refusing a look of mere curiosity? Is it not a sacrifice to discontinue the reading of a book just at the moment when it is be­coming most interesting, or to lay aside for a time, unread, a long-expected letter from a dear friend, or to deny oneself the pleasure of taking part in some festivity?

Can we not practice mortification of the hearing by refraining from inquiring anxiously the news of the day, or by refusing to listen to gossip and uncharitable talk, or by acting as though we had not heard an offensive word that may have been spoken against us?

What an abundance of mortification is pos­sible in regard to the sense of taste, not merely by refraining from choosing certain articles of foot and drink, but by taking a little less of some palatable viand and substituting for it a larger quantity of a dish which does not suit our taste! Habitual indulgence of a delicate palate is the enemy of both corporal and spiri­tual health.

Abstaining from the use of perfumes will serve as a wholesome mortification of the sense of smell. It is not becoming for Victim Souls to seek satisfaction from the fragrance of sweet odors. Their aim ought to lie, according to St. Paul, to become “the good odor of Christ unto God in them that are saved,” i.e., to give testimony of Christ by their lives, and thereby gain for themselves the approbation of God.

Finally, we should guard against pampering the sense of touch by delicacy and sensuality. Let us bear heat and cold without complaint, oppose the liking for ease and convenience, flee all idleness and strive to employ our time conscientiously in the service of reparation.

All these are most harmless forms of mor­tification, which will not in the least injure our health, nor attract attention, but which will not escape the notice of our loving Savior, for whom they were performed. Indeed, He will gladly accept them as substitutes for those more difficult works of penance, which we were will­ing to perform, but which we omitted through motives of obedience.

II. Mortification of perverse inclinations and passions

A still more precious sacrifice is found in the mortification of our perverse inclinations and passions, especially our predominant passion, and of all the ugly traits of character we may possess.

Our inclinations and the demands which our passions make upon us are frequently out of harmony with the desires of Our Savior, with the teachings of our holy Religion, with the principles of the saints. And even when we have already made great progress in the way of perfection, our perverse inclinations and pas­sions, which ever remain in us, are not infrequently the cause of deep humiliation to us, and show us how very poor and miserable we still are.

“Unfortunately,” says Father Meschler, S.J., very truly, “we are still in the condition of fallen nature, which is a condition of disorder. Our whole nature is like a knotty tree trunk, permeated by mean, dangerous, and ofttimes unclean, inclinations and tendencies, which im­pede the good in us and incline us to sin. We are filled with self-seeking, pride, envy, impa­tience, sensuality and inconstancy. Even the best-disposed person can, to his own chagrin, become ignoble, even mean, if he is unwilling any longer to do violence to himself. If we al­low our passions full play for even a single day, we are capable of even the most degrading acts of wickedness. Dangerous animals are kept in captivity behind bars; it is not prudent to trust even tamed animals. In man there really dwells a beast; for there is nothing too low or mean for him to stoop to, when urged on by his pas­sions unrestrained. Here the sole remedy is self-conquest, mortification.”

In another passage the same author says: “A single passion is sufficient to cause our com­plete undoing. Like the tapeworm, every pas­sion grows apace when left unchecked.”

Above all, it is necessary to mortify our pre­dominant passion. How often has it not given offense to others? How often have we not had to accuse ourselves of it in confession? Here there is need of sacrifice. Courage, then, dear brethren! Even though our perverse inclina­tions and passions persist, let us never lose courage, but ever war on them afresh. Then, by degrees, the struggle will become easier and in the end the victory will be ours.

III. Mortification of the heart

The heart of man, ever set on gaining the love and affection of others, also presents an occasion for mortification and sacrifice.

1. Our heart, whole and undivided, must belong to Our Savior, especially it we have chosen the virginal state or perhaps even elected Him as the bridegroom of our soul and consecrated ourselves to Him, by a special vow, either privately or publicly, in the religious state. Should we, therefore, discover even the smallest fiber in our heart which is not yet con­secrated to His love, we must tear it out with­out mercy, for Our Savior is, humanly speak­ing, jealous of the love of our whole heart.

A virginal soul must, therefore, in reality be animated by only one love--the love of Our Savior. She must have one desire, to please Him and Him alone. Her one aim must be honor and reparation to His Sacred Heart. With the spouse in the sacred Canticle she must be able to say: “My Beloved to me and I to Him,” that in her may be fulfilled the words of St. Paul: “I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. Ii, 20).

2. A virginal soul who has once completely consecrated herself to the Sacred Heart may not tolerate in herself any other love; other­wise Our Savior Himself will withdraw from her.

St. Margaret Mary refers frequently to this point in her letters. “If you seek the affection of creatures,” she writes to a Sister Religious, “and wish to gain their favor, you will lose the favor of the Sacred Heart.”

How true these words are may be seen in the case of many a Christian living in the world. Her love for Our Savior was tender and ar­dent until she allowed her heart to become at­tached to creatures. Even many a Religious has had the same sad experience. Once she lived for Christ alone and was exceedingly happy in His love. But then came the attachment to some creature, and with it the love of her Savior languished. Wherefore, O Victim Soul, thou who hast consecrated thyself to God in the virginal state, be brave and resolutely oppose all undue attachments.

“The Sacred Heart,” St. Margaret Mary tells us, “will withhold from you the communication of the treasures of His graces in the measure in which you enrich yourself with per­ishable goods. Whatever may be the nature of the vain pleasures in which you seek con­tentment of heart, they will in the end cause you only unrest and confusion.”

3. These human satisfactions will but serve to close up the fountains of God's grace and render unfruitful the soil of your heart. At­tachment to creatures is a hindrance to the work of grace in your heart. “If you wish pure love to reign,” writes St. Margaret Mary, “you must resolutely break off these attachments, for they are displeasing to the Sacred Heart of Our Savior. It is because you neglect to do this, that you find so little relish in prayer and the practice of virtue.”

“Remember that yours is a jealous Bride­groom, who will possess your heart completely or not at all. If you will not expel creatures from it, He will withdraw therefrom; if you refuse to give up their love, He will take back His love.”

Such a sacrifice may indeed prove to be most difficult, causing our poor heart to bleed and almost break, but it must be made. Our Savior demands it from Victim Souls.

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