Saint Josemaria Escriba, a victim soul
Sandy Cremer

In the book The Way by Saint Josemaria there is mention of his offering as a Victim. It is point 175 in the section on mortification.

In the critical-historical edition prepared by Pedro Rodriguez, it talks about this point at length on page 360-361.

Footnote 12 says about this point:

It was compatible with what he (St. Josemaria), personally, did in offering himself as a victim to the Merciful Love. St. Josemaria relates: "On 11 August 1929, according to a note that I worte that day on a holy card that I keep in my breviary, while giving Benediction in the church of the Foundation for the Sick, without having thought of this beforehand, I asked Jesus for a serious, painful illness, for expiation... I believe that our Lord granted it to me" (November 1931) ...

He related the interior tribulation he was undergoing with this offering: "I think this immense suffering is simply the result of my self-offering as a victim to the Merciful Love" (May 1937). And in 1938, during a period of the 'dark night' in Burgos, he wrote: "Will a sickness come that will purify me?"

On speaking about St Luis de Montfort, with his ideal of a victim, St. Josemaria said: "On the Cross I don't feel myself to be a victim: it is a triumph, it is joy!"

Footnote 14:

"...it was well known that a "victim mentality", a sad Christianity, quite widespread in certain environments, was being spread improrperly under the patronage of St. Therese of Lisieux. Little Therese, whom St. Josemaria knew very well, offered herself as a victim, but with a clear sense of joy in contradiction and in the cross, which is what St. Josemaria demanded at all costs in his mediation on the Cross and on pain."

I wonder if the reason Saint Josemaria, in a sense, steered some away from calling themselves victims is because he was so concerned about the potential human tendency to have this "victim mentality" (oh, whoa is me,"¡hay que víctima!  I suspect the connotation of this word "victim" in Spanish is so entrenched with an emotionally negative, whiny meaning that many stayed away from this, as would be proper, in order to emphasize the joy in the cross.

But this is also like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Clearly Saint Josemaria and millions of other saints did offer themselves as a victim to the Merciful Love, Our Lord. This is a bridge that needs to be crossed clearly in clarifying this to all priests and lay people. The sense that we are children of God it is true and in being so, we so much more want to offer ourselves, willingly and joyfully as victim souls, united to Jesus on the Cross as love crucified.



Love Crucified