Friday, August 05, 2005

Uniting Sufferings with the Sacred Heart of Jesus

For all who suffer, I pray this is an opportunity for you to find a new purpose for your life. Your life can be useful and beneficial if not in a purely physical way, but more so, in a loving, spiritual way which will affect your physical life and make it more meaningful.

If you decide to read further, and to learn and perhaps join in the effort of abandonment to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we will proceed on a journey together which has been journeyed before by many souls, suffering servants of God, saints, mystics, and the many unknown holy ones who are yet suffering on earth and those no longer suffering in Heaven.

We will explore suffering from Scriptural, doctrinal, mystical, theological, and experiential aspects. This will include such writings as the Old and New Testaments, writings of Church Fathers (including the late Pope John Paul II's Salvifici Dolores), reflections upon readings in the Divine Office, and writings of various saints who were victim souls and mystics. We will also come to a better understanding of the term "victim soul", of its historical and spiritual significance for souls and as a great force in reparation for sins of the world, and of those victim souls who have best explained why offering oneself as a victim soul to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is of great worth and benefit to oneself, to others, and is especially pleasing to God.

We will explore prayer and how to grow in deeper prayer, which will also assist in practical measures, the management of one's sufferings. Far more, however, this deepening prayer will allow one to grow closer to God for eventual union with Christ. We will join in prayer intentions, uniting our sufferings with one another and through our individual crosses, in union with Christ Crucified, so as to be useful to the great work of prayer and its results.

In the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century there was a religious community called the Society of the Daughters of the Heart of Jesus whose main, contemplative work was to offer themselves as victim souls in reparation to the Heart of Jesus. They developed the Association of Victim Souls in Union with the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, with certain minimal responsibilities of members. I have not yet located this Society, and it may no longer exist or may have changed its name. I also can find no reference to activity of the Association of Victim Souls. However, this writing effort will include not only what opportunities and direction they offered but will also provide additional suggestions for embracing and offering suffering for the supernatural good which it surely is.

On a daily, practical level, suggestions will be offered for living a life of suffering all for God, in the details of everyday life. This will include a sharing of experiences, as example, of how to gradually devote oneself totally to God, as a victim of His love and for His love, to learn to love to suffer and suffer to love. The suggestions will be quite adaptable to individual circumstances. Some suffering is of a moral nature, such as habits and additions or suffering as the result of another's wrong-doings; some suffering is physical; some suffering is emotional and psychological; and some suffering is of a deeply spiritual nature. And, suffering can include a combination of these categories. Those who suffer encompass all age brackets, races, economic and education levels. Some who suffer do as compassionate caretakers of those with severe disabilities. Suffering is a mysterious, painful, universal, and truly beautiful manifestation of our human existence. Jesus shows us how to suffer, yet it is well to understand better why and how He suffered, and how our suffering, when united with Him, can be fruitful and joyful.

Aren't victim souls those rather unusual mystic saints who had unusual graces and phenomena such as the stigmata (wounds of Christ) and miraculous visions, locutions, and ecstasies? Yes, but they are also anyone who suffers with the desire and intention of offering his or her sufferings to Jesus for His use to combat sin, and in love for Him as reparation for the "outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences by which He is offended." One doesn't need to wait for an unusual, mystical encounter in which Jesus invites the soul to be a victim of His love. While that may happen, know that He desires and accepts anyone's loving offerings of sufferings, united to His Sacred Heart in reparation for the sins of the world. It is truly worthwhile work to which many are called and chosen! Who doesn't suffer something, sometime? How much of this suffering goes wasted in the material world when it could "move mountains" in the spiritual realm?

As an introductory thought until the next post, which comes from a small guide book, now out-of-print, ponder these words and see if they appeal to your heart, your pain, and to your hope.

Victim souls abandon themselves unreservedly to the Adorable Heart of Jesus in order that He may dispose of them according to His good pleasure, as extension of the reign of the Heart of Jesus to help obtain exhaltation of Holy Church, abundant graces for the Priesthood, and for the salvation of souls.


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