Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Fun Fact

The other day I was reading one of those delightful old pamphlets that were a common feature of pre-Vatican II piety, and I found something remarkable: a number of recent saints and blesseds all belonged to the "Association of Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart of Jesus".  The association was a movement to awaken the faithful to the fact that the Christian life is a complete offering of the self, in union with Jesus' own perfect offering on the cross.  Amongst those enrolled in the association were St. Pope Pius X, and the following Blesseds: Columba Marmion, Marie-Joseph Cassant, Cardinal Schuster, Jacob Kern and our own Charles de Foucauld. That's quite a list!  Columba Marmion was a Benedictine abbot and a great spiritual writer (his Christ, Life of the Soul is a must-read).  Marie-Joseph Cassant was a persevering young Trappist who died of tuberculosis.  Dom Kirby writes of him and the Association of Victim Souls here.  Cardinal Schuster was a holy Benedictine abbot who was called to steer the archdiocese of Milan during the Mussolini years.  Jacob Kern was a seminarian who was seriously wounded in combat during WWI.  Afterwards he became a monk, though never fully recovered from his combat wounds.  After some brutal surgeries he succumbed at the age of 27.

Perhaps there is a holy monk or nun amongst us who will revive such an association today?  These kind of movements and sodalities largely disappeared after Vatican II based on the ignorant enthusiasm of the 60s and 70s, but the association was an expression of an ancient truth.  As St. Ignatius of Antioch writes in 108 AD in his Letter to the Magnesians, 

"Unless we are ready through his power to die in the likeness of his passion, his life is not in us."

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