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 Third Degree of the Spirit of Sacrifice – Love of the Cross and Oblation of Self .1

The spirit of sacrifice urges some specially favored and chosen Victim Souls to a higher degree. Not content to carry the cross and to accept all sufferings sent by God with submis­sion and patience; not content to take upon themselves voluntary crosses and penances, they cherish and foster within their hearts an ardent desire to become like unto their cruci­fied Love, to stiffer with Jesus, to be humiliated with Him as victims of love and atonement.

(A) What Constitutes This Third Degree of the Spirit of Sacrifice?

I. Love of the Cross and Humiliations

1. This love of crosses and humiliations does not necessarily remove or destroy the natural fear and reluctance our weak hearts feel towards crosses and humiliations; neither does it make our nature insensible to the pain and suffering inherent in them. That would necessitate divine interference, a miracle, as in the case of some martyrs who felt none of the physical tortures and torments inflicted upon them. Such a miracle, however, cannot be the aim of Victim Souls, not even of those who hope for the highest degree. Still, the constant practice of patient cross-bearing and voluntary sacrifices will produce an ever-increasing cap­ability in us to bear heavier crosses and make greater sacrifices.

Let this encourage and comfort timid, ordin­ary Christian Souls though our whole nature recoils and shrinks from the cross and humilia­tions, still we can attain to the third degree of the spirit of sacrifice. Recall the scene of the Agony in the Garden. Our Lord's human nature felt the full force of the cross and humiliation; He began to be sorrowful and to tremble when the full realization of His suffer­ings came upon Him; and yet who will deny that He possessed the third degree of the spirit of sacrifice?

In order to attain to this third degree it is necessary that, conquering the repugnance and aversion of nature, we embrace the cross and humiliation with ardent love, not only now and then, but habitually, consistently, and when­ever an occasion arises.

This heroism in the exercise of the spirit of sacrifice through a love of the cross and hu­miliation is identical with the so-called third degree of humility, as explained by St. Igna­tius in his Exercises. The Saint says that of two actions tending to glorify God, that one is to be preferred which effects a closer resem­blance to Christ. Hence poverty is to be pre­ferred to wealth, because Our Savior was poor; ignominy to glory, because the Redeemer chose the former; the mockery of the world to its applause, because the Crucified One was mocked and ridiculed.

Let it, however, he clearly pointed out that there may he cases in which the very regard for God's honor will not permit us to expose ourselves to poverty, contempt, and ignominy; though even in such like cases our personal longing, as Father Meschler, S. J., tells us, should die for what Our Savior has chosen.

But let us remember that to reach the third degree of the spirit of sacrifice, special and ex­traordinary graces are necessary. “Whenever God is pleased to demand great sacrifices of a soul,” P. Grou, S. J., tells us, “He also imparts a corresponding generosity; the heart is ex­panded by the love of God; its sensibilities are heightened; the mind is enlightened to perceive clearly what is worthy of God, and to realize that what is done for Him is nothing, even less than nothing; that it is His infinite good­ness alone which accepts what the soul offers.

“Penetrated by this knowledge, the soul sees clearly that till now it has clone nothing for God; an unspeakable yearning seizes it to sur­render itself unreservedly to God; and since all that it could do and suffer would not be worthy of His infinite Majesty, it entreats Him to glorify Himself through it in the manner most pleasing to Himself, and thus surrenders itself wholly to Him.

“From this moment the heart expands and is rendered fit for the great purposes of God. What is difficult and irksome to ordinary Chris­tians becomes sweet and desirable to the soul; and it is amazed that God should ask so little of it; for love of God it longs to undertake a thousand times more.”

2. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque is a shining example of this love of the cross and humilia­tions. Shortly after her profession Our Lord showed her a cross covered with flowers on the ground. Our Savior said to her: “Behold the altar on which the sacrifice of My spouse must be offered. These flowers shall wither: but the thorns concealed beneath them shall remain and pierce so painfully that it shall require My love's whole power to persevere on the cross.”

Once at Holy Communion St. Margaret Mary saw Our Lord, His hand grasping a crown of thorns. Putting it on her head, He said: “My daughter, receive this crown as a symbol of the one which shall be soon given thee to render thee like unto Me.” The Saint failed to grasp the significance then, but was enlightened shortly afterwards when, drawing water from a well, the winch slipped from her hand and struck her head so forcibly that it seemed to her as if her head were pierced by a crown of thorns. She thanked Our Lord for this precious gift. “I am more grateful to my Savior,” she remarked, “for this costly crown, than if He had presented me with all the diadems of the world. And I value it all the more because no one can rob me of it, and because it forces me to converse with the one Object of my love; for since it is impos­sible for me to rest my head on a pillow, I am compelled to remain awake, and thus I imitate the example of my dear Lord, who was unable to rest His head against the Cross. Unspeakable joy and peace fill my soul at this resemblance to my divine Master.” Our Lord instructed her to unite the suffering she en­dured with the pains caused Him by the crown of thorns, and to offer them to the heavenly Father for men's sins of pride.

At another time Our Lord appeared, show­ing her one of His sacred hands, on which was represented the picture of the happiest life imaginable of a Religious--a life of perfect peace, rich in exterior and interior consolations, blessed with perfect health, rejoicing in the esteem and approval of the world. On the other hand was pictured a life of trials and crosses, of suffering and bitterness, of persecution and humiliation. Holding both pictures before her, Our Lord said: “My daughter, choose that which pleases you most. Whichever your choice shall be, in either case I will give you the very same grace.” Ador­ing Our Savior, the Saint answered: “Oh, my Lord. I desire nothing but Thee, and that choice which Thou shalt make for me.” But Our Lord insisted that she should make her choice. Then St. Margaret Mary replied, “Thou art sufficient for me. O my God; do Thou make choice for me of that which shall glorify Thee most, regardless of my interest or my joy; Thy pleasure alone will suffice for me.” Thereupon He offered her the picture of the crucified life with these words: “Behold, I have chosen this for thee, both to realize My purposes and to make thee conformable to Me. The other picture is a life of enjoyment, not of merit for eternity.”

In a letter to her superior, the Saint de­scribes a similar incident: “One day, while kneeling before the tabernacle, I saw the flow­ing love of the Seraphim, the source of their bliss, and I heard a voice: `Wouldst thou not sooner be happy with them than to be suffering and humbled continually, thereby spreading My kingdom in the hearts of men?' Without a moment's hesitation I embraced the cross cov­ered with thorns and nails which was shown me, and repeated again and again: `My only Love, if it but advance the knowledge and love of Thee, I desire the cross and yearn to suffer much more than to be one of these Seraphim without the cross.’ " Ever afterwards this dis­position of hers remained, and was rewarded by the Adorable Heart with manifestations of unspeakable tenderness.

It is for this reason that the Saint considers the cross the most signal favor received from God: “How loving my Savior and Master is to display an unchanging goodness and mercy towards me, His unworthy handmaid, despite my frailty and infidelities! Help me to thank Him for all His favors, among which the dear­est and most precious is the cross which accom­panies me everywhere. The only consolation of my life is that I am permitted to suffer; and the most valuable of these sufferings are the humiliations followed by the contempt and de­sertion of men. Blessed, indeed, the souls thus favored by Our Lord!”

How touching are her words in another let­ter to a former superior: “The favor that I value most besides my Redeemer is the gift of His cross. Oh, that it were given us, my beloved Mother, to realize the preciousness of the cross! Then, indeed, men would not seek to avoid it or turn their backs upon it; rather, they would love and desire the cross and find their greatest joy therein; we would have no other longing but to die in the arms of the cross, despised and abandoned by the world. And this will be our blessed lot if love is the priest and the heart the victim.”

To Father Croiset the Saint wrote: “Nothing in this world delights me but the cross of my Savior-a cross, however, like unto His; namely, a heavy cross, a shameful cross, with­out consolation, without relief. Others may ascend Thabor with our dear Lord; I am con­tent to know no road but that to Calvary. Nothing has so great an attraction for me as the cross. May it be my portion to abide unto death on the summit of Calvary with its whips and scourges, its thorns and the Cross, finding no consolation and no joy but the lack of all consolation and the absence of all joy. What blessedness to suffer in silence day after day, crushed by the weight of all possible afflictions of mind and body, forgotten and despised and forsaken!

"Praise Our Lord with the that He has fa­vored me so lovingly and lavishly with His precious cross, since I am never without suf­fering, not even for a moment. What would become of me without the cross in this vale of destruction, when I lead so sinful a life that I must regard myself as the scum of misery, utterly unworthy to carry the cross, to be like my crucified Savior!

“God has favored me with the grace to be engulfed in a sea of humiliation; this grace is so precious to the that to be deprived of it, or to lie without suffering, I should consider the heaviest of punishments, for I judge every hour of life without suffering as one lost. I can assure you that I desire to live only to have the grace to suffer; that alone brings joy to my heart and mind. However, do not think that I only theorize about suffering; no, actu­ally and practically I do suffer very much. Yet, alas, how little have I suffered, and in conse­quence how very little have I done for God!”

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