Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why be a Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart?

Perhaps all this preparatory information frustrates some. Maybe many do not have time to read it. That is all right. Just as there are various categories of victim souls, there are surely levels of involvement, desire, interest, commitment. The proposed website can attempt condensed tips on being a victim soul, such as for those who are sufferers without need to read and ponder. I have been praying about this valid point: length of written discourse yet adequate clarification of a little-known concept of critical and holy opportunity.

I recall what St. John of the Cross wrote in his preface to The Ascent of Mount Carmel. He pointed out that he was writing for those who had a desire to delve into the depths of prayer and to come to union with Christ. I consider another quote: "And it greatly behooves one to endure and suffer patiently and hopefully for so remarkable a blessing."

Suffering is a blessing, not only for the souls who benefit from offered sufferings, not only to Jesus who is assisted by loving offerings of suffering for souls, but also by the person who suffers. Yet, suffering is not a quick activity. The actual wounding might be quick, but the effects take patience in time, prayer, reflection, and understanding in order to endure suffering, in order to suffer well and with hope. The remarkable blessing will follow sometime later on, maybe not until after physical death.

Perhaps I have been naive and unrealistic in opening victim soul sufferings to four categories. Father Hardon's definition of victim souls as those chosen by God to suffer more than most people is accurate, of course, and it is those people who most likely, in desperation and desire to know more how to endure will have the patience to explore all aspects of victim soulhood. Yet, as I discussed today with a young pastor of a missionary alliance group, we too often don't make time for the development of the soul and to all that the soul is called in life. We are called to take up the Cross daily and follow Jesus. Where does Jesus go? He goes to the Cross to suffer and die for the salvation of souls and after that is resurrected and so forth.

Today's Gospel at Mass is Jesus' teaching on willingness to forgive not just seven times, but 77 times if a person asks for this forgiveness. The priest remarked that Jesus never limits Himself with us, and that we too often want to do the minimal or the least necessary. Thus, the idea of forgiving (or giving, or loving) 77 times or fully, not minimally, is difficult, perhaps, for us, but is what is required. I suppose this is true in the degree of being a victim soul, of being determined to give fully and preparing oneself carefully, with effort, and with patient endurance.

This journey of the soul and the incumbent suffering involved, at least for most people, cannot be discussed quickly, or at least not for Primary Victim Souls. And, as has been expressed previously, any person's category can change by God's will. In effect we are all Imminent Victim Souls; the category of suffering can deepen and extend without notice. Also, miraculous healings can happen, too, lifting someone from Primary Victim Soul to Situational.

So, I continue with this outpouring of thoughts on suffering and victim souls, as evidently I need to be informed and formed to a greater degree, myself. And I must ask myself: Why did I become a Victim Soul?

I became a Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart because of a situation which became a primary suffering: a car accident with accompanying constant pain. This was the external cause, anyway. I had prayed for Jesus to use me in any way He desired; I had prayed fervently. Later, I realized He had answered the prayer. Car accident. Physical pain. Loss of husband. Loss of career. Financial and emotional stress. Emotional pain. Slowed abilities, loneliness and hindered interests. Intellectual pain. Deep interior questioning and anguish. Spiritual pain.

Spiritual pain: I turned to Jesus for answers. I prayed and begged and wept and searched. He kept inviting me into His Church; I kept avoiding his invitation due to cowardice. I finally accepted after more prodding and more desperation and more invitations from the supernatural and natural realms. Through all this seeking and various experiences, my longing for Jesus grew to a point in which I would do anything for Him. Daily Mass with Eucharist and Scripture, and weekly confession, became sources of sustenance. Spiritual direction and spiritual reading and growth in prayer and more suffering increased my understanding, which led to more acts of the will to love. Getting to know and love the first Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart--the Blessed Virgin Mary--furthered the love and desire of Jesus, her divine Son.

All proceeded in tandem. Suffering, needing help, seeking more, increasing faith, increasing hope, increasing love--and Jesus bringing invitations to help Him, to love Him more, to be an immolation, to be mortified, to unite myself with Him on the Cross--and being given the graces and blessings in order to yearn more and give more and suffer more and love more. I was taught and am learning to love to suffer and thus to suffer to love. It makes sense. It works.

The Guide for Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart offers far better reasons. For one thing, Jesus provides inspiration in His continuous offering of His Sacred Heart for us, "imploring forgiveness and bestowing graces on us. Then there are the stirring petitions of the Savior asking us to make a return of His love. From the time He first manifested the love of His divine Heart, He made these requests known...." If a person has suffering, it should be an obvious consideration that perhaps Jesus is giving an invitation through His own Sacred Heart, asking for a return of love in offering back to Him our sufferings.

Jesus has made His requests known privately to various souls throughout history but even up to this day. However, the example of His private communications with St. Margaret Mary Alocoque, gives the appeal a critical edge. Our Lord said to her, "Behold this Heart, loving mankind so intimately as completely to exhaust and consume Itself in order to prove that love! Yet, as reward I receive from most of them [souls] nothing but ingratitude, indifference, disrespect, contempt and sacrileges in this Sacrament of love!" He added, "Most painful to Me is the ingratitude of those souls who are consecrated to Me! The others are satisfied with beating My body, but these pierce My Heart, which for all that never ceases to love."

"In our day, more than ever before, large numbers of sacrificial souls are needed to combat the work of the enemies of religion and ordered human society. Spiritual forces must be set in motion on all sides, if modern man is to be won back for Christ....Close contact with the crisis of our times should convince us that victim souls of the highest resolve, as special instruments in the hand of divine Providence, can produce a real change in the world's attitude toward God and religion, can effect a return to God and Christ's Church. This is saying not more nor less than what He Himself expressed in these words, 'Let him who will follow Me, take up his cross daily and follow Me.'

"By giving ourselves to the Sacred Heart we shall gain sublime peace. For the victim souls, those who cheerfully seize the opportunities of bringing little sacrifices [such as situational victim souls can do, also] , shall have intimate union with our Lord. Henceforth the Heart of the divine Savior unites Itself with the heart of the victim soul in a bond of tender love, a love that is intimate, pure, strong and holy. My Beloved is mine and I am Thine! What have I in heaven and what else do I seek on earth but Thee, O Lord!"

I personally attest to the truths and practical realities of what is written here. After I began to comprehend the whole notion of victim souls and that Jesus was giving me a beautiful opportunity to serve and follow Him in a way that has worth, meaning, and power of love and grace, I agreed--not really knowing all that would come, but that didn't matter because He had called me in love, to love, to Him as Beloved. Later, as I read more and understood more, I realized the value in making an act of oblation, to take private vows of offering the suffering.

I also needed to learn more about the concept of expiation and reparation. This came to me through the Sacrifice of the Mass. (Even on days in which I could not physically be at church, I could go "spiritually" with an act of desire, and I could watch the Mass on EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network.) I also learned through reading, through guidance of a spiritual director, through prayer, and through more suffering and the graces which came from my offering. Admittedly, I have not always kept my focus, and I have done much complaining and at times tried avoidance; but love of Jesus and understanding of the great use, need and worth of expiation and reparation undergirded my developing vocation as a (primary) Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart. The more I love Jesus, the more He asks, and the more I want to give--even if I don't know if I can endure the unknowns. My main reason for being a victim soul is love.

The next post will, hopefully briefly, explore this vast, valuable topic: expiation and reparation.


Post a Comment

<< Home