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  #1  
Old Apr 6, '07, 10:48 am
DL82 DL82 is offline
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Default Victim Souls

From what I've read on Saints who became Victim Souls, all of them seem to already have been enduring great suffering as a result of illness or persecution, and decided to 'offer it up' as a service to God.

Would it be immoral for a healthy young man to offer up his life to be a Victim Soul? I have always felt a certain kind of calling to do things the hard way, and that if I'm enjoying things I'm not following God's call. The Catholic concept of the victim soul does have a certain kind of appeal. I realise it's a massive, and frightening, commitment. I am drawn to it all the same.

Of course, there are other connected issues. I am my dad's only child, and he lost his Christian faith when my mum died of a prolonged cancer. I don't know how he'd deal with me living a life of great suffering. Also, I am engaged to be married, and I know my fiancee wants me to lighten up and enjoy life more. I think she'd blame herself for my suffering, as she's always worried about being a burden to others, and might make a connection that isn't really there.

On balance, do I need to suffer not being allowed to suffer, if that makes any sense, and offer that up to God instead?
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  #2  
Old Apr 6, '07, 1:42 pm
Eileen T Eileen T is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Many years ago a little booklet came into my hands, probably with a pile of other books because I do not remember anyone giving it to me, I just found it one day.

It was about making a "Life Offering" and becoming a 'victim soul'. I kept coming back to it every now and then, but resisted saying the prayer of offering because it freaked me out what might be expected of me, a mother of 6 and I was only 40 (young!).

One day, I just knew I couldn't put it off any longer. I made the offering. That was over 10 years ago. Nothing major has happened to me so far, my sufferings are more spiritual. I have come to believe that I am to be a sign of contradiction in the world and witness my Catholic Faith to those God sends my way (I don't have to seek them out).

What has happened is that my spiritual life has intensified and I am now very much more aware that the "Kingdom of God" is indeed near at hand. I am more conscious of sin both in myself and in others, and the need to pray for the conversion of sinners, ALL sinners, not just my own loved ones.

Ask God for a sign. But here is one. . .

I woke up this morning thinking that I should post about being a Victim Soul. That is something I had planned for today but you beat me to it.
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  #3  
Old Apr 6, '07, 2:04 pm
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PhilotheaZ PhilotheaZ is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Quote:
Originally Posted by DL82 View Post
Would it be immoral for a healthy young man to offer up his life to be a Victim Soul? I have always felt a certain kind of calling to do things the hard way, and that if I'm enjoying things I'm not following God's call. The Catholic concept of the victim soul does have a certain kind of appeal. I realise it's a massive, and frightening, commitment. I am drawn to it all the same.
You sound like a generous soul. May God bless you! I would urge you, though, not to undertake anything like this without the permission of a good spiritual director. He can help you discern whether this is something God wants you to do, or whether it is something you want to do. I have heard that when you pray to be a victim soul, God almost always answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DL82 View Post
On balance, do I need to suffer not being allowed to suffer, if that makes any sense, and offer that up to God instead?
I think this would be a good and prudent way to begin, or just offer up whatever little trials and tribulations come along on a daily basis. Refusing to snap back at someone who offends you may please God just as much as enduring some physical ailment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DL82 View Post
Of course, there are other connected issues. I am my dad's only child, and he lost his Christian faith when my mum died of a prolonged cancer. I don't know how he'd deal with me living a life of great suffering. Also, I am engaged to be married, and I know my fiancee wants me to lighten up and enjoy life more. I think she'd blame herself for my suffering, as she's always worried about being a burden to others, and might make a connection that isn't really there.
I think you are very wise to consider these things. Our decisions affect not only ourselves, but those around us. That is why you need a wise guide (spiritual director) to help you discern.
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  #4  
Old Apr 6, '07, 3:13 pm
Eileen T Eileen T is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

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Originally Posted by PhilotheaZ View Post
I would urge you, though, not to undertake anything like this without the permission of a good spiritual director. He can help you discern whether this is something God wants you to do, or whether it is something you want to do. I have heard that when you pray to be a victim soul, God almost always answers..
I spent a LOT of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament praying about it before I made my Offering Prayer. A couple of years at least.
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  #5  
Old Aug 5, '07, 7:42 am
mom4truth mom4truth is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Hi all. I'm new to this thread. Question: does God choose the victim soul or does the person discern the calling himself? Please let me know someone. I'm hoping for legitimate Catholic doctrine on this subject.

mom4truth
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  #6  
Old Aug 5, '07, 7:59 am
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Victim Souls

You would be in a better position of discerning, IMO, if you read Story of a Soul by St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She was moved totally by love and her intense desire to save souls, which was confirmed when she asked for a sign regarding the conversion of a man being executed. God granted her the sign.

Therese began doing little things, hidden sacrifices that nobody could recognize: sitting up without using the back of a chair, eating foods that were set before her without complaint, refusing to give in to curiosity and finish reading when the bell called her to prayer, etc. Simple yes, but the love behind these little sacrifices was what captured God's heart. We read in Mt. 13:12, For he that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that also which he hath.

In other words, the grace to suffer and make the heroic sacrifice to be a victim soul, was a gradual movement of grace, increasing (abounding) as she responded to the first inspirations.

The entire edifice must be built by grace and love. Be especially aware of St. Paul's words, "Even if I give my body to be burnt, but have not LOVE, it profits me nothing." Then let God lead.....

blessings,
Carole
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  #7  
Old Aug 5, '07, 8:25 am
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PhilotheaZ PhilotheaZ is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom4truth View Post
Hi all. I'm new to this thread. Question: does God choose the victim soul or does the person discern the calling himself? Please let me know someone. I'm hoping for legitimate Catholic doctrine on this subject.
The following is from section 213.2 of the book Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.:
The idea of reparation brings to mind that of "victim of reparation" well-known to lovers of the Sacred Heart, and officially recognized by the Church in the Encyclical of Pius XI on reparation. This venerable document explains what should be done by one who intends to offer himself as a victim: "Such a one assuredly cannot but abhor and flee all sin as the greatest of evils. He will also offer himself wholly and entirely to the will of God and will strive to repair the injured divine Majesty by constant prayer, by voluntary penances and by patiently bearing all the misfortunes which may befall him; in a word, he will so organize his life that in all things it will be inspired by the spirit of atonement" (Miserentissimus Redemptor). This is far from the fantastic idea of victim which some souls adopt. Under the pretext of being obliged to take upon themselves extraordinary immolations, they avoid the reality of ordinary, daily life and imagine they are capable of enduring all kinds of suffering, whereas actually, they try to escape the sacrifices which present themselves every day. The idea of a victim of reparation offered by the doctrine of the Church is, on the contrary, something very serious, concrete and realistic. The victim soul should make reparation for sin; and it will accomplish this by always doing what is contrary to sin. Sin is an act of rebellion against God and His will, as manifested by the commandments and the arrangements of divine Providence. Therefore, to do what is contrary to sin will consist in a total adherence to God's will, by accepting it with our whole heart in all its manifestations, in spite of the repugnances we may feel. This, then, is the programme of a victim soul: not only to avoid sin, even the smallest one, but to embrace God's will in such a way that He can really do all that He wants with it. To this docility, the soul will add prayer and voluntary mortifications, which will have value only because they are offered by a heart entirely submissive to the divine will. And let us note that the first penitential act mentioned in the Encyclical is "the patient endurance" of the adversities of life.
From this it seems to me that we are all called to be "victim souls" at least in the sense that we embrace God's will in our everyday lives for the good of souls.

The papal document mentioned in the paragraph above (Miserentissimus Redemptor) can be found at http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi11mr.htm . (The specific citation is found in paragraph 18.)

To answer your question (do we choose to be a victim soul, or does God choose us?), I would say that any desire to do good ultimately comes from God, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But to aid in discernment (i.e., to ascertain that what we intend to do is indeed God's will and not coming from our pride or other impure motivations), it is a good idea to discuss your desires with a good spiritual director.
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  #8  
Old Aug 5, '07, 9:25 am
mom4truth mom4truth is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

To the latest responses: does that mean that a person must be perfect, in that he submits to all evil by returning good? How can a human being do this if we have a fallen nature? Thanks again. God bless everyone.

mom4truth
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  #9  
Old Aug 5, '07, 10:36 am
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PhilotheaZ PhilotheaZ is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom4truth View Post
To the latest responses: does that mean that a person must be perfect, in that he submits to all evil by returning good? How can a human being do this if we have a fallen nature?
Jesus said, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) Few of us achieve it this side of heaven, but we must strive for it. We will do better if we rely on God's help, not on ourselves.
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  #10  
Old Aug 5, '07, 11:17 am
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Dear Mom,

Quote:
To the latest responses: does that mean that a person must be perfect, in that he submits to all evil by returning good?
The word that jumped out at me was 'submits.' Not every situation of evil calls for our passive submission, and that is where we rely on God's grace to teach us the wisdom to know the difference, as the Serenity Prayer teaches. We can get psychologically imbalanced if our perception is to blindly submit, and masochism can be a possible offshoot. Webster:

1. gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification.

2. the tendency to find pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.
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  #11  
Old Aug 5, '07, 2:18 pm
TOP TOP is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Interesting, I didn't know you could "volunteer" to be a victim soul. I tend to do offerings in retrospect as the situation arise's. I have notice that in praying for conversions, things can get tougher, in a way. Tim
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  #12  
Old Aug 5, '07, 2:42 pm
mom4truth mom4truth is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

To JOYSONG: I am not saying that I would gladly take pleasure in evil, masochism, degradation of any sort just because I "liked" it. However, God does ask of us to return good for evil, is that not correct? If indeed, that is the case, we all should strive to "put up" with the adversities in our lives. Sometimes they can seem humanly impossible. However, doesn't God say that he only gives us what we can endure through his grace? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is an easy task. Far from it! However, I do believe that the Lord either chooses or allows certain individuals who suffer from all sorts of things for the reparation of others who cannot do it. What do you think?? Thanks for answering! God bless.

mom4truth
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  #13  
Old Aug 5, '07, 3:28 pm
Joysong Joysong is offline
 
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Dear Mom,

Quote:
I am not saying that I would gladly take pleasure in evil, masochism, degradation of any sort just because I "liked" it. However, God does ask of us to return good for evil, is that not correct? What do you think??
I hope you did not think I was speaking directly to you, but in general, more or less in response to the OP - that it is not a customary thing to take pleasure in suffering. Rather, suffering that comes our way can be borne in love willingly for a higher purpose, such a reparation or conversion of souls.

Without going into too much detail, I was a little imbalanced myself during my conversion years, for I took literally the scripture that said not to look at the speck in our neighbor's eye, but concentrate on the beam in our own --- then we will see CLEARLY how to cast the speck out of our neighbor. I believed that if I concentrated on my own sins and omissions, that when they were under control, I would learn that valuable lesson Jesus promised on how to correct my neighbor. Funny thing, though, I never reached that point. Maybe that was the hidden meaning of Christ's message.

As you may have guessed, I bore some things that I believe now in hindsight should have been dealt with using a strong medicine of tough love. Nevertheless, since I bore them in the right frame of mind, who's to say God wasn't able to use it for greater good of another, maybe even the person I'm speaking of? Yes, I even followed the return of good for evil, but sometimes that can confirm a person in the very evil we wish to correct --- we become 'enablers.'

It is often wise to allow a person to experience their own consequences rather than become a savior of sorts because we can't stand to see them suffer. We help nobody in those situations.

For very simple wrongs that are not of serious consequence, of course I agree with you that we should bear one another's burdens, and even show kindness in return for wrongs. It is said that we heap burning coals upon their heads.

Carole
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  #14  
Old Aug 6, '07, 12:51 pm
mom4truth mom4truth is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

Joysong: I completely understand what you said. I am speaking of things that are beyond on our physical and spiritual control. Not about the enabling process. I understand that is wrong. But the victim soul thing is to be embraced, right? I don't think that that means it's not hard though, do you? Thanks for answering and God bless you!

mom4truth
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  #15  
Old Aug 6, '07, 1:10 pm
Mordocai Mordocai is offline
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Default Re: Victim Souls

To the original poster:

I strongly related to you. I have similar thoughts of "well why should I enjoy this when others don't even have a meal?"

I don't know what God wants. What would happen if I just gave it all up? Became a friar or something?

Perhaps it causes more suffering to live in this world as appearing to be 'one of them' and become 'all things to all men' that I might save a few.
It is irritating that my own desire to do something big stems from my simply wanting to escape what I've been handed now. What I have now is a family situation that doesn't seem to be improving. I love them dearly, but they do not understand me.
If I gave everything up or became a victim soul... Is this the 'psycho-logic' behind taking th easy way out of an annoying family and my inability to relate with them?

I'm just rambling. But I wanted you to know that I do understand.

Think long, hard and deep about what must have kept Jesus under His Mother's care for 30 years. No doubt He was ready at age 12...or was He? I do not know.

But what kept Him under Mama's Mantle?

God Bless you, say a prayer for me, I will for you
Mordocai
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