Co Redeemers with Christ -The victim souls


Victim souls are co-redeemers with Christ
By: Glenn Dallaire

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's sufferings for the sake of his body, that is, the church” – St Paul to the Colossians (Col 1:24)

We read that St Gemma was a “victim soul”, but what exactly does this mean? Having read the lives of numerous mystics, the one’s that I have found most interesting are the “victim souls”, like St Faustina Kowalska, St (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina, Therese Neumann, Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, Marie Rose Ferron, Marthe Robin and finally my favorite and the subject of this website, St Gemma Galgani.

In the reading of these lives, I have caught glimpses of this great mystery of a “victim soul”. It is something that has always struck me, an explanation of which I will try to share in this article. It should be noted however, that I am not a theologian in any sense of the term, so I will try to avoid wading too deep into mystical and theological waters, of which I am not equipped or gifted.

We can begin with the words of Jesus as He spoke to Gemma in a ecstasy:
“My child, I have need of victims; strong victims, in order to appease the just anger of my Divine Father. I need souls who, by their sufferings, trials and sacrifices, make amends for sinners and for their ingratitude. Oh, if I could make all understand how angry My Father is by the impious world!”

Co-redeemers with Christ
A victim soul is a person especially called by God to sacrifice and suffer in union with Him for the conversion of souls, and in reparation for the sins of mankind. In other words, their mission is to lead souls to God. Most notably is the special union between Jesus and the soul victim. Jesus is not only with them, He is in them, and they are thus united to God in a special way for the conversion of sinners. Thus united, they are in a special sense, co redeemers with Christ. With this in mind we have St Paul who says-
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galations 2:20).

Certainly the concept of a sacrificial victim is nothing new, as it has been in practice since the times of the Old Testament. In it, we read that the Jewish priests would make burnt offerings of animals as “victims” for sacrifice to God for expiation of sin (cf Lev. 16 for example). However, these victim sacrifices as sin offerings were really a prefigurement of the ultimate sacrificial Victim, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the King of victim souls. He is the perfect and unblemished offering- "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. Jesus is the redeemer of fallen humanity, and it is through Him that our sins are forgiven

Nevertheless, in the mysterious design of the Eternal Father, a certain reparation must still be made for sin. Thus St Paul states-
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's sufferings for the sake of his body, that is, the church."(Colossians 1:24). It is in this sense that the victim souls cooperate with Jesus in reparation for the sins of humanity and also for the conversion of sinners. And it is also in this sense that we too are called to make reparation, to the extent that God wills, not only for our own personal sins, but also for the conversion of sinners. Thus, we are all called to be co redeemers with Christ, to the extent of God’s will and plan for each of us.

It is precisely in this strain that Gemma writes:
“I am happy in every way that Jesus wills, and if Jesus wants the sacrifice of my life, I give it to Him at once. If He wants anything else, I am ready. One thing alone is enough for me; to be his victim, in order to atone for my innumerable sins, and if possible, for those of the whole world”

The close union of Jesus with His victim souls is essential for the accomplishment of the reparation and redemption that He desires through them. It requires their free cooperation not only with His grace, but their complete abandonment to His holy Will. As I mentioned earlier, Jesus it seems, is not only with them, He is in them. And it is precisely through this close union with Jesus that the reparation and co redemption is accomplished through the sacrifices and in the sufferings of the victim soul. Thus Saint Gemma, for example, in union with the Passion of Jesus, suffered at times the stigmata, the scourgings, the crown of thorns etc. on Thursday evenings into Friday afternoons, that is, the time period that Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane until His death on the Cross at 3pm on Good Friday. It is precisely through this close association of the mystic with Jesus’ suffering that the accomplishment of the reparation is made.

As an example of such events we can read for example Ms. Cecilia Giannini’s testimony, St Gemma’s “adopted mother”, who writes:
“If you wish to form some idea of it, recall to mind the large Crucifix that we have in the house, before which Gemma was in the habit of praying; she [Gemma]was like that. The same livid marks, the same torn open gashes in the skin and flesh in the same parts of the body, equally long and deep and equally horrifying to behold. Blood came from her wounds in great abundance. When she was standing, it flowed to the ground, and when in bed it not only wet the sheets, but saturated the whole mattress. I measured some streams or pools of this blood, and they were from twenty to twenty-five inches long and about two inches wide.”
(Signed) Cecilia Giannini

We will find this suffering in union with Jesus in the lives of all the victim souls. One of the countless examples we could offer could be the American mystic and stigmatist, Marie Rose Ferron. In Father O.A. Boyer’s excellent book “She Wears a Crown of Thorns” we read:
“One day, Rose made the following remark to her mother and a few friends who were sitting at her bedside- ‘How is it that I lose so much blood, when I have so little?’
[According to her spiritual director, Rev Father O.A. Boyer, due to her severe illness and overall poor health, Marie-Rose Ferron was reduced to perhaps 80 or so pounds in weight. Additionally, she often bled profusely through her stigmata, her crown of thorns and also the wound in her side. This is why she said ‘I have so little’ -editor]
“She had hardly said these words when she was rapt into ecstasy, and she began to talk [with Jesus] saying: ‘Oh, it is Your Blood that gushes out from my veins?....As for me, I am a mere nothing….nothing….Oh my Jesus!’

Click here for more info on the American Stigmatic -Mary Rose Ferron

In their extraordinary love for Jesus, the victim soul has a great desire to suffer in union with Him. And so in a letter on Feb. 23rd, 1901, Gemma writes:
"Jesus knows of my disposition to suffer everything to make reparation for my sins. He sees once again the pain I feel at all my ingratitude and also the pain I suffer when I see Him so mistreated. On Friday then I propose to do this: with a contrite heart I will go in front of Jesus ready to receive from His hand anything that will please Him in reparation for the many outrages that He receives. Strike me; strike me Jesus. I will bless a million times the hand that will exert upon me a most just chastisement. So dear Dad, I ask Jesus to have me suffer; and to suffer much..."

And so, there we have an explanation and description of the special vocation of victim soul.

For those interested, here is an excellent article on the Virgin Mary's role in the lives of the Victim Souls and their battle against the demons. The article is based on the booklet "Mary Crushes the Serpent."

“...Therefore Jesus do not abandon poor sinners. I am ready to do something. You died on the Cross , make me die also on the cross. They [sinners] are all your children... do not abandon them. Jesus, I want to save them all... am I not the one that must suffer for them? Therefore cast Your anger at me. You have so many sinners, but You have so few victims." –St Gemma Galgani

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am perplexed. I cannot understand why a loving God would need victims in the first place. Also, I think what Stephanie meant was sins of "morality" are a value judgement. Yes, lying and killing and stealing are always wrong and are clearly sins. But loving "the wrong person" or wearing "the wrong clothes" etc. would be a sin? No, that is the conflict of different values. I do not make value judgements. For me, there is only Love. Love of God, love of my fellow human beings and all God's creatures, love of and respect for all living things. Patience,Tolerance and Understanding are a part of my daily practice. This is I believe, what Stephanie meant by the church needing compassionate people and not vindictive ones. But can you answer me why a loving God needs to cruelly visit so much suffering on those who love Him the most? Why does such a God need "victim souls?" This is a concept I honestly do not understand. Respectfully, Elisa Rose

little2u said...

I would like to answer why God needs "victim souls". It is easy for people to have faith when times are good; it is when times are bad that our faith wavers. So when a victim soul, in the depth of suffering still manifests faith, is this not inspiring? Doesn't this show what is possible? And when a victim soul remains loving and compassionate, doesn't this inspire us to rise above bitterness and anger when we find ourselves victims?
gently,laura

Kit said...

To the conservative minded person, nobody really wants to play around, unless your boss sends you someone else for you to be with!
Most of the time, everything about ME is to do with business and politics of the company which I work with.
I don't have anything against the church thinking. Most churches leave the audience alone, unless the priest are told to be aware of your presence in the pews.
To me, it is not for me to condemn anyone, and it is not for me to say that YOU are a sinner.
In New York, I happen to have a very loud voice as approved by the people whom I work for.
Everything I do have a reason.

Each person must examine their own comfort levels and job description.
Love is good, but I need to be faithful to only the person who request me to do so for HIM/HER.

Anastasia Kenney said...

The Lord calls those who are victim souls to suffer out of love. This is very important- that love is the reason. There are so many souls who chose terrible evils and have hardened hearts to God. Imagine a mother who has a sick child and would give anythign to take on that pain herself so that her child need not suffer. It is out of love that the offering is made. God is love, but He is also justice. We see this clearly in the gospels.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong church is a good concept but not needed to know what is right you have it with you everyone does and you learn to understand it and thus have faith and that above is wrong god is not about anger nor pain or suffering and does not need your blood or flesh or any of that crazy crap the church pushes

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your comments.
Just a couple of clarifications:

1)The Church does not "push" anger, pain nor suffering. It recognizes it as a consequence of original sin.
2) While you are correct that "Church...is not needed to know what is right" , "rightness" that is, truth, is not subjective, it is objective, and its source is God. This is why Jesus said "I am the way, the *truth* and the life."

And as far as God needing suffering, pain and blood -well, one can contemplate Jesus passion and death on the cross and realize that reparation was needed for our sins.
God bless,
Glenn Dallaire

Patrick said...

With all due respect, this concept of “victim souls” is ridiculous. Do none of you actually bother to READ the bible? You quote Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."
Did you bother to read the text prior to and after that passage? It is clear that Paul (speaking to the Galatians) is NOT talking about suffering in the name of Christ but that by Christ’s ultimate sacrifice and suffering we are now one with Christ Jesus and by accepting him into our hearts, He can act through us.

Your other quote from Colossians 1:24 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's sufferings for the sake of his body, that is, the church." Is taken WAY OUT OF CONTEXT!
The only thing about this passage that can be used is that Paul does suffer for Christ. But not in the same way as you are trying to justify it. You would have people believe that Paul is suffering in the name of Christ by taking on the sins of humanity as Christ did. This is by definition what you call a “victim soul”. However, Paul’s suffering comes from preaching the word of God. His suffering is his imprisonment.
Paul never makes the mistake of comparing his suffering to that of Christ Jesus. He never states he takes on the sins of the world as Jesus did and suffers alongside Christ.
Paul accepts his suffering (imprisonment) because he believes in Jesus and that Jesus is the one true God who by his suffering and death took away the sins of the world.

Jesus does not need anyone to suffer along with him. The bible was written to prophecy the coming of the savior and Jesus’ suffering and death was the fulfillment of that. Jesus’ sacrifice atoned for all sins of all time, making any further sacrifice unnecessary. (Hebrews 10:1-18, Jeremiah 31:31-34)

You need to stop preaching that “victim souls” exist and that Jesus needs them. Jesus needs no help and God is not angry with us like you believe. Sure he might be greatly disappointed with us but all our sins are forgiven because of Jesus. To say He requires “victim souls” goes against the bible and therefore goes against the word of God. Otherwise, by your words, God lied when he made His covenant with us. And I for one have no desire to worship a lying god.

“Victim souls” do not exist and are not required by God. A “victim soul” would still be a sinner and therefore useless to the world. If someone wants to suffer for his/her sins then so be it. I’m not one to stop them. But to claim they are suffering on my behalf is just plain stupidity. A sinner cannot suffer for anyone but themselves.

Jeffrey Dixon said...

Patrick I am sorry but you are the one misunderstanding what Paul was trying to teach the gal. 1st you are right in that Jesus does not need us to suffer to pay/redeem mankind, but where you are wrong is in the twisting of this statement to your own feelings. God loves us so and knows that those that truly love him want to help in anyway they can even though they know they are worthless ash and unworthy of any kind of attention from God, but the love we have for Jesus is so great that we cannot help ourselves we want to do something to help, so Jesus out of love and his generosity lets us suffer some of his agony to take to ourselves some of the suffering that others go through and to help those who are suffering in purgatory. And even that small amount is to much for us most days and we cry for help or relief because we are so weak and worthless. You are correct we cannot redeem anyone by ourselves but Jesus in his mercy will let us help because he loves us ans we him..

denis said...

Victim souls do exist. In fact Jesus was one of them. All suffering brings us closer to God and as the Lord said, we must take up our crosses and follow him. He did not say that we do not need to suffer because he did it all for us, rathe he asked us to take up our crosses so we can unite our suffering with his. Suffering has no value unless it is united with his suffering on the cross. When we suffer for Him it has great value. We all suffer in any case. whether we believe or not, because it is the will of God. No one escapes suffering and death. Correct understanding of suffering means accepting it with love in agreement with the Will of the Father. We need to accept is just as we accept the joy he sends us in our lives...all for Love of Him and to his Glory.

Stephen Browning said...

All for the Love of Jesus because if His Great Love
for us!

Joanne said...

The idea of "victim souls" does indeed sound harsh. It almost sounds as if God is harsh and cruel. This, though is the gift of our truly loving God: to be worthy to suffer in union with Christ.

Elisa Rose gave an opinion about not understanding "why a loving God would need victims in the first place". She goes on to say that "Patience, Tolerance and Understanding are a part of my daily practice. This is I believe, what Stephanie meant by the church needing compassionate people and not vindictive ones."

Since the misinterpretation of Vatican II it seems many Christian Catholics have developed their own form of Catholicism/Christianity. Teachings from the pulpit have become weak - almost sycophantic. The result -- people have taken it upon themselves to interpret sound doctrine. Love has become a fluffy term disassociating from Church teachings, i.e. the teachings of Christ. These teachings are greater than our own interpretation and can be found in Sacred Scripture, (the Navarre has excellent commentary), the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Doctors of the Church, etc ...

It is folly to fall on emotional interpretation.

The concept of a person assisting in carrying a burden is not alien to love. And while Christ has redeemed mankind, sin and it's effects remain. Suffering is a gift that we all share. Martyrdom is part of Christian history. That Christ would choose to have some participate in sacrificing themselves in a particularly close way with Him, is a blessing and not a curse of a sick twisted god.

Pray for the understanding of the victim soul and it will be granted to you. It may not be right away but in God's time. "Knock and you shall receive; seek and you shall find ...

Glenn Dallaire said...

Thanks Joanne for your excellent comments and for sharing your insightful reflections.

-May God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

I have been told that as a gay man my "calling" is to offer the sacrifice of my love life to God as a victim soul. In other words, I was created to feel the need for love and partnership, but never to have them.

That I feel the need for love and partnership can't be denied. But that God created me never to have them is something I'm unwilling to accept. Why me? If I am a victim soul, I'm a most unwilling one. Not only does the concept test my faith, it really just makes me want to lay down and die. I get no pleasure from the prospect of dragging out my days in celibate loneliness. And what kind of a God would require this from me? The cruelty and randomness of it all speak to me of callousness and amorality rather than love and mercy.

The willing victim soul is of course free to choose such a fate. But the unwilling victim soul has just as much right to reject it, I believe.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your sincere and heartfelt comments.

When it comes to each one of us, without a doubt the most important thing to God is to one day be united with Him in heaven for all eternity and using the gifts of our intelligence and our own free will, we are to work out our salvation. He bestows grace and wisdom upon us, along with the necessary strength to accomplish His will and desire for us--and we receive His grace most especially when we are sincere in our desire to know, love and serve Him, and we do this firstly and most importantly by obeying His commandments.

As far as the subject of homosexual desires, I leave it to Jesus to help and guide you in your struggle in this area, since I am simply a layman, and am not in a position to advise on such a matter.

Thanks again for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones!
-Glenn Dallaire

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