It is easy to understand that we must make reparation for our own sins, but sometimes we do not see as clearly that reparation should also aim at consoling the Heart of Jesus. “But indeed, can acts of expiation console Christ who now reigns happily in heaven?” asks Pius XI. “‘Give me a lover and he will understand what I say'”, replies the great Pope in the words of St Augustine.
In fact, a soul who lovingly penetrates the mystery of Jesus will realize that when, in Gethsamane, He saw all our sins, He also saw the good works we would do in order to comfort Him. What we do today with this intention consoled Him then in reality. This thought spurs us on to further acts of reparation, so that Jesus finds no reason to complain sorrowfully to us: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery … I looked for one that would comfort Me, and I found none” (Mass of the Sacred Heart).
The idea of reparation brings to mind that of “victim of reparation” well-known to lovers of the Sacred Heart, and officially recognized by the Church in the Encyclical of Pius XI on reparation. This venerable document explains what should be done by one who intends to offer himself as a victim: “Such a one assuredly cannot but abhor and flee all sin as the greatest of evils. He will also offer himself wholly and entirely to the will of God and will strive to repair the injured divine Majesty by constant prayer, by voluntary penances and by patiently bearing all the misfortunes which may befall him; in a word, he will so organize his life that in all things it will be inspired by the spirit of atonement” (Miserentissimus Redemptor)… The victim soul should make reparation for sin; and it will accomplish this by always doing what is contrary to sin.
Sin is an act of rebellion against God and His will, as manifested by the commandments and the arrangements of divine Providence. Therefore, to do what is contrary to sin will consist in a total adherence to God’s will, by accepting it with our whole heart in all its manifestations, in spite of the repugnances we may feel. This, then, is the program of a victim soul: not only to avoid sin, even the smallest one, but to embrace God’s will in such a way that He can really do all that He wants with it. To this docility, the soul will add prayer and voluntary mortifications, which will have value only because they are offered by a heart entirely submissive to the divine will. And let us note that the first penitential act mentioned in the Encyclical is “the patient endurance” of the adversities of life.
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene