A “victim soul” is someone who offers their life, their will and their intense sufferings to God for the salvation of immortal souls. By uniting their sufferings to Jesus’ sufferings, they bring down torrents of graces upon souls. Bl. Alexandrina was told by Our Lord: “Thousands have been saved by your terrible sufferings.” Many victim souls received revelations about God’s love and mercy. Here is one touching example: “I want to make known in writing the intense love with which My Heart burns for souls; I want to complain that I am forgotten, rebuffed; I want to plead for love as a beggar pleads for a crust of bread; I love souls so much, yet very often I am not understood and not loved.” – Jesus to Bl. Dina
We are not all called to be “victim souls”. St. Padre Pio said to one of his spiritual daughters that relatively few are called to be victim souls. We are all called to carry our cross with love and patience, however. In his encyclical ‘Miserentissimus Redemptor’, Pope Pius XI elaborates on this topic: “Although the copious Redemption operated by Our Lord has superabundantly forgiven all sins, yet through that admirable disposition of Divine Wisdom, there must be completed in us what is missing in Christ’s suffering on behalf of his Body, that is, his Church (Col 1:24). We can and we must add to the homage and satisfaction (expiatory suffering) that Christ renders to God, our own homage and satisfactions on behalf of sinners.”
With this in mind, let us reflect on some of the valuable life lessons given to us by these dear victim souls:
1. The Cross alone leads to Heaven.
St. Faustina had a vision of two paths. The wide path, which leads to suffering and loss, was full of temporary joys and pleasures. The narrow path, on the other hand, on which there were rocks and other causes for suffering, leads to eternal joy and peace. We should pray ardently for the salvation of the dying. According to St. Faustina and others, many souls have been converted on their deathbeds, even when they appeared to be without repentance.
2. We were created for Heaven.
“Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don’t think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage, we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally.” – St. Padre Pio
3. Many do not reach Heaven.
I’m sorry, dear reader, if these words upset you or make you anxious, but they are the words of Jesus, and they are confirmed by countless victim souls. This is a Gospel truth that should not be watered down for anyone (though this site is not concerned with the specific details of such doctrines); in fact, it is highly uncharitable to neither warn nor admonish sinners, in the same way that a doctor would be uncharitable to turn a “blind eye” to their patient’s cancer. “Fear of the Lord”, which is regulated by confidence and humility, is a powerful means of remedying some cases of scruples, conquering vices, bringing souls closer to Christ, and establishing peace in our souls.
There is no limit to God’s mercy; we do not know how many souls are saved, but God wants us to avoid presumption (“hope without fear [humility and sorrow for sin]” – St. Robert Bellarmine) because this state of soul blinds us to sin and the action of the Holy Spirit, Who wishes to free us! Also, it is important that we know this, otherwise we will never understand the value of suffering, the malice of sin (which brings unhappiness), the importance of the Sacraments, the need for persevering prayer etc. Do not be afraid, however; Our Lord is most generous, and He always begins what He finishes, provided that we cooperate with His graces. We will be saved if we truly love Him. God ardently desires that all be saved, but His justice (and love of course) has fastened Him to the Cross. His Mystical Body, that is, the Church, must complete the work of redemption. “I am giving you a share in the redemption of mankind.” – Jesus to St. Faustina
While suffering enormously both physically and mystically, Bl. Alexandrina said (in an ecstasy): “No Jesus! No Jesus! Crucify me! Pardon! Pardon! Pardon! They have the same right as I have, because you died on the cross for them as well as for me. Jesus, I want no soul to go to Hell, neither in my parish nor in the entire world. I love you for them. Forget the sinners, Jesus. Remember me through my crucifixion.” We must never forget that God desires our salvation more than any saint did/does!
4. Suffering is valuable.
I have already explained the value of suffering here: https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/consoling-revelations-about-suffering/
If we are in a state of grace, our sufferings have incomparable value when united to Jesus’ sufferings. Such suffering gives us strength, increases our love, increases our merit, expiates our sins, and save souls!
“When God sends spiritual darkness and desolation, His true friends become known… Sickness is the acid test of spirituality, because it discloses whether our virtue is real or sham.” – St. Alphonsus
“When anything disagreeable happens (humiliations, sufferings etc.), remember it comes from God, and say at once, ‘This comes from God’, and be at peace.” – St. Alphonsus
“If souls knew what it means to suffer, and suffer for God, not a soul would be found who would not be willing to suffer for Him.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata
5. The joys of loving God surpass any earthly joy.
The saints enjoyed intense consolations. While they suffered much, and for long periods of time, God gave them a taste of the joys that await them. St. Gemma was known to experience ecstatic states for an hour, in which her countenance was luminous and joyful. During these ecstasies she would say the most beautiful things to Our Lord and Our Lady. There are many moving stories like these in the lives of saints and victim souls. We must not seek these consolations, however. We must seek to love God, and will only what He wills. Doing this will surely lead us to eternal joy!
6. Life is short.
Death comes to many of us like a thief in the night; therefore we must be prepared; we must start taking our salvation seriously today. The average person’s notion of a “good person” will not suffice for salvation, nor will lukewarmness, apart from a special grace on God’s part, which we cannot rely on. I say this not to incite fear, but because it is true. Jesus reminded Sr. Josefa how easy it is to love Him. If we do not seek Him, we will never know this, and faith will appear burdensome. “How easy it is for a mere nothing to lose itself in that abyss of love.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
God calls us to perfection. Certainly this is no easy accomplishment, but it is much easier when we constantly seek to know and love God (daily prayer and reading the Bible is the bare mininum). For this, we must make use of the means for growing in love and humility, such as Confession, the Holy Mass, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. What infinite treasures! Jesus is waiting for us in the Tabernacle. He offers Himself for us daily in the Holy Mass. Perhaps it will help to imagine Jesus, as He appeared in His Passion, waiting eagerly in the Tabernacle for us to come and console Him. Indeed, Our Lord suffers grievously in this Sacrament of Love! “I was in prison, and you came to me.” (Mt. 25:36)
Essentially, victim souls are a reminder of our dignity and vocation as children of God. As Christians, we have been favoured before many others. This should humble us greatly, for to whom “much is given, of him much shall be required.” (Lk. 12:48) “We must not voluntarily nourish a desire to continue and persevere in venial sin of any kind. It would be an extremely foolish thing to wish deliberately to retain in our heart anything so displeasing to God as a will to offend Him.” (St. Francis de Sales) The victim souls remind us to pray frequently (especially the Rosary), to make sacrifices in atonement for our sins and for the salvation of sinners, to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to receive the Sacraments frequently, to suffer patiently, and most of all, to love God in a spirit of humility and gratitude!
Here is a quote from St. Alphonsus that should console us: “Having merited hell for our sins, we should be consoled that God chastises us in this life, and animate ourselves to look upon such treatment as a pledge that God wishes to spare us in the next. When God sends us punishments let us say with the high-priest Heli: ‘It is the Lord, let him do what is good in his sight’.” – St. Alphonsus
“My daughter, suffering is the key to Heaven. I have endured so much to open Heaven to all mankind, but for many it was in vain. They say ‘I want to enjoy life, I have come into the world only for enjoyment.’ They say ‘Hell does not exist.’ I have died for them, and they say they did not ask me to do so. They have formed heresies against me. In order to save them, I select certain souls and lay the cross on their shoulders. Happy the soul who understands the value of suffering! My cross is sweet if carried for love of me… I chose you from your mother’s womb. I watch over you in your great difficulties. It was I who chose them for you, that I might have a victim to offer me much reparation. Lean on my Sacred Heart and find therein strength to suffer everything.” – Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina, victim soul
“If you knew how much I love you, you would die of joy. I have established my home in your soul. I live in you as if you alone exist in the world and I had only you to bless. You are a tabernacle constructed by divine hands. I want you in my arms with the same simplicity of a baby in those of its mother. Give me your heart to place in mine in order that you will have no other love but for me and for the things that are mine. In your body is Christ; Christ in your glances and in your smiles. You are the valley and I the water which flows in it, which washes and purifies. You are rich in me. It is because of this that your glances attract. It is because of this that your smile has the fineness of Heaven. I want you to preach devotion to the tabernacles. I want you to kindle in souls devotion to this Prisoner of Love. I do not stay in this world only for love of those who love me, but for everyone. Even those engaged in work can console me.” – Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina
Here is a final counsel from Bl. Alexandrina herself: “Do not sin. The pleasures of this life are worth nothing. Receive Communion, pray the Rosary every day. This sums up everything.”
“The harm that comes to souls from the lack of reading holy books makes me shudder… What power spiritual reading has to lead to a change of course, and to make even worldly people enter into the way of perfection.” – St. Padre Pio
Here are some beautiful, illuminating books (about victim souls) that I encourage you to read:
– ‘Alexandrina: The Agony and the Glory’ by Francis Johnston (Free online: http://www.catholicrevelations.org/PR/alexandrina%20maria%20da%20costa.htm )
– ‘The Spiritual Legacy of Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity: Poor Clare of Jerusalem’ by Rev. Silvere van den Broek O.F.M
– ‘The Life of St. Gemma Galgani’ by Venerable Fr. Germanus
– ‘Marthe Robin: A Prophetic Vision of the Gospel Message’ by Bernard Peyrous
– ‘Padre Pio: Man of Hope’ by Renzo Allegri
– ‘The Way of Divine Love’ by Sr. Josefa Menendez (Free online: https://archive.org/details/TheWayOfDivineLove )
– ‘Sister Benigna Consolata Ferrero, a professed choir nun of the Order of the visitation, B. V. M., Como, Italy’ (Free online: http://archive.org/stream/sisterbenignacon00como#page/n3/mode/2up )