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 .4

Incorrupt body of St. Margaret-Mary

(C) Aim of all Victim Souls

To display such heroism in the spirit of sacrifice as to actually long for crosses and suf­ferings and humiliations, and that without any of the sweet consolations which often accom­pany them, will probably prove too difficult a task for most Victim Souls. It will be possible only for those to whom God gives special graces for that purpose. And yet all should, and all can, do something towards this end. All can strive to rid themselves of manifestations of sensitiveness and of too great a desire of sweet consolations.

I. The sacrifice of sensitiveness.

A Victim Soul ought not to be so sensitive as to shed tears at every rebuke or at every humiliation, nor give way interiorly to such discouragement as to lose all relish for prayer and work. When humiliated she ought to be buoyed up by the thought: “I am a Victim Soul, hence I will gladly bear this trial for love of the Sacred Heart.”

It were greatly to he recommended to culti­vate the habit of going as soon as possible to Our Savior in the tabernacle whenever we have been humiliated. There we can prostrate our­selves before Him and thank Him for the humiliation, at the same time begging for grace to be able to accept our trial without a word of complaint or justification, as a slight reparation to His Sacred Heart and for the conversion of sinners. This is a degree of love of the cross which should be possible for every Victim Soul.

“A Religious who is striving for perfection,” declared Venerable Mother Clara of Luxem­burg, “will accept criticism with great calmness and humility. She will rather bite off a piece of her tongue than justify or excuse herself. There is never any injustice done to us as long as we are on earth, not even if all conceivable evil is said about us, for we are but most wretched creatures. who have offended God.”

Again she says: “Sensitiveness does not come from the spirit of God, but from self-love. Self-love is, however, a deceitful guide, which leads us away from perfection. Self-lave is a poor custodian of the interests of God; it only seeks its own interests.”

Many pretend that they wish to be told of their faults, but when this act of charity is shown them, they become so sensitive and in­vent so many excuses, that no one would again venture to call attention to their failings.

The practice of interior humility is therefore very necessary for Victim Souls when meeting with opposition and slights from others. They ought to regard themselves as the servants of all, who may therefore justly be slighted and despised by others. If they act thus they will merit the special pleasure of the Sacred Heart for the more they humiliate themselves, the more they will be pleasing their Savior.

It will therefore help them to make sensitive­ness the subject of their particular examen, un­til they have arrived at the point when they prefer humiliations to commendation, until they feel that they are able to overcome their natural feelings on this point. This is indeed difficult; but it is true virtue. It will help us to overcome sensitiveness, to remind ourselves frequently that after all it matters little what people think or say of us. It would not make us a whit better even if people were to canonize us during life, and conversely it would not make us more wicked if they considered us most imperfect. On the other hand, we can­not possibly have too small an opinion of our­selves.

We ought to desire nothing better than to he considered imperfect by others. If we are true Victim Souls we shall rejoice, as the saints did, to stand low in the opinion of men, if only we are pleasing to God.

II. The sacrifice of sweet consolations.

Victim Souls will find a further means of practicing the third degree of sacrifice by re­fraining from seeking sweet consolations, and by desiring to share in the interior sufferings of Our Savior as a proof that He has been pleased to accept their sacrifice.

Contemplation of Our Savior in the Garden of Olives is a fit subject of meditation for them; for it was there that His Sacred Heart experi­enced in advance what His sacred body suffered on Good Friday: all the bitter anguish which the ingratitude and the faithlessness of so many millions of men in subsequent times heaped upon Him. In contemplating these interior sufferings, which then oppressed His Sacred Heart, so that His Precious Blood was forced in drops through the pores of His skin, Victim Souls ought to experience an ardent desire to share in this nameless anguish. They ought to consider it a precious privilege to he allowed to drink of the cup of suffering with their lov­ing, Savior.

Sometimes He deigns to grant this grace to souls who surrender themselves to Him with­out reserve. Then they actually experience what Father Grou, S.J., thus describes: “At first God heaps His graces and blessings on such souls, then He gradually withdraws Himself from them, and casts them from one abyss into another. They see nothing, feel nothing, find no further relish in anything. When they pray, their prayers seem to be rejected. They find no longer any support interiorly, no further commendation front their conscience; on the contrary, they feel overwhelmed with sin; the sword of divine Justice seems to he sus­pended above them, and they feel as though they must at any moment be hurled into the depths of hell. Neither do they find consola­tion or support from men; rather are they mis­judged and pursued with slander and persecu­tion.”

In this condition of utter lack of consolation they indeed suffer an anguish of spirit similar to that of Our Savior in the Garden of Olives, and yet they would not for all the world aban­don their cross. They feel indeed as if they must cry out: “it is enough,” but from the depths of their soul a voice comes pleading “More suffering, dear Lord.” They recoil from sufferings and sacrifices, and yet their soul thirsts for more suffering. They experience re­bellion from opposing nature, and yet they pray with resignation: “Father, not my will, but Thine be done.”

Surely, a soul who thus courageously shares in the sufferings of her Savior fulfills eminently the demands of her vocation of reparation. Thereby she makes greater reparation to the Sacred Heart than by many hours of prayer filled with consolation; thereby she contributes actively and substantially to the labors of priests and missionaries and, consequently, to the sal­vation of souls.

The Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus is a notable example of such courageous renuncia­tion of all consolation. She frequently medi­tated on Jesus in the Garden of Olives. When she reflected that the bitter chalice was pre­sented to Him just at the moment when He was glorifying the divine Majesty most by of­fering Himself to the heavenly Father as a Vic­tim of propitiation for a sinful world, she re­fused to be better treated than her divine Sa­vior and heroically renounced all comfort and joy.

Our Savior accepted her generous offer­ing; from the moment of her complete surrender of self to the Sacred Heart to the hour when she died by a murderer's hand, her par­ticipation in the sufferings of her Savior seemed almost uninterrupted. Interior sufferings and violent temptations were constantly her portion, and it was only by the prudent direction of Father Calage that she was able to preserve her courage unbroken.

For the guidance of Victim Souls who may be forced to endure similar interior trials, we quote here some of the points of direction which this experienced priest wrote in a letter to his spiritual daughter. “Your condition of soul is good; these trials are necessary for you. The knowledge of your weakness and your wretchedness will prepare you for the working of the Holy Spirit within you. Perfection is not the result of your efforts, but the work of God; without Him all would be useless. He desires indeed your co-operation, but you must abandon yourself to it completely. Here are some of the characteristics by which you may judge of the operation of God's grace in your soul:

1. A great desire of detachment from crea­tures and especially from self.
2. An attraction towards simplicity and a perfect surrender of yourself to God, so that in all things you seek only Him and His interests.
3. Clear self-knowledge, i.e., knowledge of your own nothingness.
4. All acts of virtue of your past life will appear to you as imperfections, without how­ever causing you to be discouraged. Confidence in God will support you, and the thought of your misery will lead you to Him.

“Judged by these characteristics your pres­ent state of soul gives evidence of the working of God's love, and at the same time of the envy of the evil spirit, who would rob you of your precious possession. Be not afraid. Have confidence and give yourself entirely to God. God will work with you and in you. Remember that at holy Mass I daily offer you to God in union with the divine Victim.”

These interior sufferings are felt even more than bodily pain; they are felt by Victim Souls, even by the most heroic among them. Many a Victim Soul has perhaps complained to the Savior of interior dryness and lack of consola­tion, especially at prayer. If so, the answer which Our Lord once made to St. Margaret Mary, when she thus complained to Him, is equally applicable to them: “If I will that you be deaf and dumb and blind in My presence, ought you not to be perfectly content? The prayer of submission and of sacrifice is more pleasing to Me than the most moving contem­plation.”

Because many Victim Souls wrongly think that the absence of sensible consolation is equivalent to lukewarmness and retrogression in the spiritual life or a sign that God is dis­satisfied with them, we shall here set down some passages from the writings of St. Mar­garet Mary:

“You are distressed because of your many interior trials,” she writes to a Sister Religious, “but I assure you that it is precisely these trials which ought to console you, if you will only bear them with submission and complete surrender to the Sacred Heart. They are in reality a proof of the excessive love which Our Savior bears toward you, and He wishes you to acknowledge these as such and to be grate­ful for them. By these interior trials He wishes, in the first place, to cleanse you from attachment to creatures, which is so opposed to pure love of God. In the second place, He wishes them to be the means by which you may merit the glorious crown which He has destined for you in the life to come. Interior consolations would but produce in you vain self-complacency. You ought therefore to be grateful for these interior trials, and in no way desire to be free from them.”

To another Sister she writes: “What you consider severity, I regard as proofs of God's loving goodness towards you. God makes use of these means, which are indeed unpleasant to nature, to detach you from yourself and from all other creatures. O my dear Sister, if you but knew the glowing love of Our Savior, you would readily understand that all these afflic­tions are but proofs of purest love.”

It must not he forgotten that all whom God wishes to lead to a high state of perfection, must necessarily pass through this stage of in­terior desolation. Father Grou, S.J., says very truly: “When God calls a soul to a high state of perfection, He usually begins by revealing, His designs in her regard. At first He heaps upon her graces and blessings, and when she seems to be firmly established in grace, He gradually leaves her, takes back all his gifts, and hurls her from one abyss into another. When He has led her to a perfect sacrifice of herself, to a complete renunciation of self, He rouses her to a new life and bestows upon her a certainty and a foretaste of blessed immor­tality. Such a condition, which embraces all kinds of crosses, of corporal pains, of interior anguish, of humiliations and persecutions, may endure for fifteen, twenty, or even more years, according to the designs of God and the greater or less fidelity and courage of the soul.”

What is to be done in this state of spiritual aridity? Father Grou answers: “We must be generous, willingly accept all privations, accus­tom ourselves never to seek self, love God with a pure love and serve Him for His sake alone.

“To be sure, such service of God will not be agreeable to poor, weak human nature, which will protest and complain and be driven to despair. But we must simply suffer nature to complain and be all the more faithful. We must, so to speak, drag the victim to the slaughter and pay no heed to nature's protests.”
Truly, if a Victim Soul accomplishes this, she is doing all that God expects from her in the practice of the third degree of the spirit of sacrifice.

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