Part III - The Soul Grieves for Sin
and Begs to Suffer for It
Then it confronts Him, as having recourse to Him, bearing (as a victim who implores pardon of His Justice) all the sins of the world. "Do you see me, most sweet Jesus, here in Thy presence, laden with the exceeding weight of all the sins of all my brethren. These are the sins with which they offend Thy Divine Justice. Accept them as though they were mine; and chastise me in their stead. Yes! . . . I beseech Thee, let me bear their punishment, provided that Thou forgive and bless my brethren."
Let us look carefully now at this part of the prayer, to measure the intensity of its words: what the soul offers and what it asks of its just and merciful God.
It asks pardon of the Divine Justice and not of the Merciful God because that Justice of its God will be manifest precisely in His exercising mercy with it, considering that God Himself has promised not to deny His grace and His pardon to whomever, repenting, implores Him, sincerely detesting the sin, does penance, cleansing that sin with his tears and with the sorrow of his soul. Thus it is like that petition to Mercy and to Divine Justice in Sacred Scripture: "Hear Thou my voice, O Lord, according to Thy mercy and quicken me according to Thy judgment." (Ps. CXVIII:149)
And thus the victim soul is inspired to make its offering by nothing other than the profound sorrow of seeing the Justice of its God offended, and seeing its brothers stained by guilt, and that is why it is certain of obtaining that mercy and pardon from the Divine Justice. As the Psalm says: "Hear, O Lord, my justice: attend to my supplication. Give ear unto my prayer, which proceedeth not from deceitful lips." (Ps. XVI:1) That is, it proceeds from my sincerely contrite heart, justified before You. That is why the soul concludes: "Behold! In the very depths of my soul I feel that sincere repentance that atones to Thee and effaces sin."
What's more, on crying like this, the soul wants to implore clemency from God for itself in its role as victim: because on asking that all the sins of the world be punished in it, it thinks that that punishment could be in the form of rejection. And that is why it makes such a strenuous effort in the sincere sorrow that it feels on seeing Divine Justice offended.
The soul must then pronounce these words, considering all their weight and magnitude: it has made itself the bondsman of all the sins of all its brothers. The extent of this bond that the victim soul takes upon itself is unlimited; it is not characterized by a portion of souls nor by one or several types of sins, but clearly binds itself to take upon itself all the sins of its brothers.
Thus the refinement of the charity with which God animates it begins to manifest itself. And then it bursts forth in the principal part of its offering when it says: "O my God, through the blessed hands of Mary Immaculate of Perpetual Help, I offer myself to Thee to suffer the penalty of these sins. Deign to accept me as Thy humble and insignificant victim."
Well then: the soul is offered through the hands of Mary because Jesus, its Model, the Victim par excellence, did so; in such a manner that on offering itself, it will do it by uniting itself to the Victim, the Word Incarnate in Mary.
In regard to the invocation of the Blessed Virgin that is used here, it is in consideration of the maternal designation, by the figure of speech that it encompasses and in consideration of the origin of that same invocation, titles of perpetual promise that the Blessed Mother Herself gave to the image of this invocation, as a blessing to mankind. (The story of the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, painted by the Evangelist St. Luke, in the life of the Blessed Mother, refers to how, on the Saint's presenting to Her the image he would paint, smiling gratefully, She said: "Let this image bear My perpetual help," and She blessed it.)
Thus the victim of Divine Justice takes the Virgin Mary, under this most sweet invocation, as Patroness of its victimhood, in order to lovingly oblige Her to constantly dispense the maternal help that She Herself has promised.
On the soul's offering itself as a victim, it does so imploring God that He deign to accept it; because, although its attitude implies a presentation made to God, nevertheless, it is necessary to implore that Sovereign Majesty to grant it the grace of accepting it, since the soul must never forget, neither when it gives nor when it asks, that it can merit nothing in the Divine eyes. That is why it adds to the words of its donation, the confession of its littleness and says: "Regard not my great misery, but the ardent desires, which Thou Thyself art inspiring within me."
And, it insists, begging to be accepted: "Do not disdain my supplication."
Next, the victim soul, considering that in order that its offering become a tangible reality and its victimhood be fruitful, it is necessary that this acceptance that God makes of it be manifest in exterior events related to its life from now on, and convinced that only suffering and the cross and sacrifice will be the means of realizing its ideal, it insists on imploring God that He deign to give it that reparatory cross, the cross of expiation: "Therefore, my most sweet Jesus, if this inspiration is from thee, and if Thou dost accept me, withhold not Thy hand. Do with me whatever pleases Thee, provided that Thou givest me Thine own Divine strength. Thus I will be enabled to suffer meritoriously, that my least efforts may be fruitful, with Thy help."
Thus, together with the cross, the soul asks for the strength to know how to bear the weight of its victimhood worthily. Because, it does not offer itself trusting in its own strength, which would be foolishness, rashness and vain presumption. But, without forgetting its nothingness and its misery, and keeping in mind that "the Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit," (Ps. LXXXIV:13) it does so through that which neither lessens its desires nor its resolution of delivering itself to be immolated. Its delivering up of itself is such that it has said to God: "He may do with it what He will." Here the soul assumes that, from now on, its mission must be to suffer and to sacrifice itself, that is: its vocation will be suffering.
This is the logical consequence of its offering, since only suffering and sacrifice rescue and save souls. That is why it has said that it offers itself to "suffer" the punishment due for the sins of the world.
And since it has offered itself as a victim, this cannot be conceived of without sacrifice, complete sacrifice.
Let us look more closely at this to understand the obligations of a victim soul to Divine Justice.
It must consist not only in the disposition of the soul to receive the crosses that the Lord deigns to send it, but in effectively making its life consist of what is the most important role of the victim: TO SUFFER ALWAYS. To suffer in its body, to suffer in its soul. In the first, by sacrificing its senses, and in the second, by helping Jesus to cry and to lament for the crimes with which the world has lacerated His Divine Victim Heart, which the soul must intensify by means of meditation on the Mystical Passion of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Passion that the Word Incarnate suffers secretly in His Heart and waits to be consoled by that legion of these souls consecrated to Him, offering themselves in atonement to Divine Justice, like Him and with Him.
If the victim soul neglects this interior life of sharing in the Mystical Passion of Jesus, surely it will not be able to identify with its Model, and thus its work will be fruitless in the rescue of souls, because its immolation will be incomplete, its virtue weak and its zeal meager. "Its souls" will be immobile, waiting in vain for it to attain for them the fire of His divine Love. Jesus, far from being alleviated of the weight of His Cross, will take upon Himself even more with the weight of its infidelity or its mediocrity, and Divine Justice will perhaps be more grievously offended.
But no: let the victim soul look beyond this and see that, on making this offering to God, its action must be constant and universal. From today on, it is a bondsman before Justice and it will have to answer for: a blasphemer with blasphemers; an impure person with the impure; a heretic with heretics. It will certainly be a repentant blasphemer, an impure person who loves purity, a heretic who renders veneration to the faith, who cries, who begs pardon. But, it is fitting that, for each type of sin, it know how to offer the proper expiation. This will be to put to work what St. Paul says to the Galatians: "Bear ye one another's burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. VI:2) Thus the victim soul lives, as the same Apostle says elsewhere: "Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is scandalized and I am not on fire?" (2 Cor. XI:29)
What sin will it see in the world that the victim soul need not answer for before Justice? Besides, "its souls" are not a fixed number, so that, after a certain period of time during which it could rescue them, it can rest from its mission, but rather, like Jesus, it must nail itself to its cross always until there is no other sin left on earth.
Faithful and constant it must be in its labor, like Jesus, Who, similar to His Heavenly Father, of Whom He says: "My Father worketh until now." (Jn. V:17)
As also the Apostle says: "And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men." (Gal. VI:9-10) Because he says in another place that: "He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly." (2 Cor. IX:6)
"And he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings." (Ibid.) In such a way that the victim soul should fulfill his labor of immolation as a resolution of its heart, not with sadness or as if by force, because "God loveth a cheerful giver." (Ibid. 7) And the Apostle says that for those who are faithful in attaining the end, (Phil. III:14) "God is able to make all grace abound in you." (2 Cor. IX:8)
Part IV - The Soul Submits Itself to the Divine Will