A Mother's Spiritual Diary

Apostle of the Cross

The monogram which came to transform her personal life, prepared Conchita for her apostolic vocation of the Cross. What is remarkable in the inscribing of the Holy Name of Jesus on their bosoms by St. Jeanne de Chantal and Conchita was the different meaning of their deed of love. For St. Jeanne it was the supreme affirmation of her unique love for Jesus Christ. For Conchita it was the unexpected explosion and we might say, the eruption of her inner fire, of her indivisible love of God and of men. It is right, then, for her religious family to date the birth of the Works of the Cross from the monogram.

Some time after the monogram, while Conchita was praying in the Jesuit church at San Luis Potosi, her native town, there suddenly, appeared to her the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love, illumining and enkindling from on high all the Works of the Cross.

"I was meditating devoutly on God, when all of a sudden I saw a vast tableau of very vivid light, growing brighter and brighter at its center. A white light! and most surprising, above this ocean, this abyss of light with its thousands rays of gold and fire, I saw a dove, an all white dove, its wings spread, covering I know not how, this whole torrent of light. I understood that there was here a vision most elevated and impenetrable, profound and divine. It left me with an impression of suavity, of peace, of love, of purity and of humility. How can the inexpressible be expressed?

"Two or three days after this vision - an inexplicable thing - I saw, one afternoon, in the same Jesuit church - a happy afternoon - I saw again a white dove in a large hearth whence flared brilliant and sparkling rays of light. The Dove, once again with its wings outspread, was perched at the center, and beneath It, at the bottom of this immensity of light was a large Cross, a very large one, with a heart at the center (Aut. 1, 211-213).

"The Cross seemed to float in a twilight of clouds of fire from within. From below the Cross there flared myriads of rays of light, which could be clearly distinguished from the white light of the Dove, and the fire of the clouds. They were like three different grades of light, how beautiful!

"The heart was alive, beating, human, hut glorified, surrounded by a material fire which seemed to glow, and sparkled as in a hearth. Above it there flared other different flames, like tongues of fire of a higher quality or grade, I shall say. The heart was surrounded by luminous rays, longer at first and then becoming smaller, distinguishable from the flames which were below, and from the dim light and the most brilliant disc which encircled it.

"The flames which blazed up from the hearth ascended rapidly as if dispatched with great force, covering and revealing the tiny crosses fastened within the heart.

"The thorns which encircled the heart hurt us on seeing them as if they pressed against this so delicate and tender heart.

"l was able describe all this because, many a time, day and night, this very beautiful Cross was presented to me, though without the Dove. What does that mean? That is what I asked myself. What does the Lord wish? I rendered an account to my director. At first he told me to disregard this, then, inspired by God, I think, he wrote me a letter for my soul in which he said: 'You will save many a soul through the apostolate of the Cross.' He simply wished to speak of my sacrifices, united to those of the Lord. He never thought that this formula could designate the name of the Works of the Cross. As far as I was concerned, on reading this, I only knew what I felt: this name must characterize the Work which the Lord began and of which I was now speaking" (Aut. 1 214-215).

God came to choose this young woman, married and the mother of a family, a simple lay person, to make us be mindful of the mystery of salvation of the world by the Cross.

"The Lord told me: 'The world is buried in sensuality, no longer is sacrifice loved and no longer is its sweetness known. I wish the Cross to reign. Today it is presented to the world with my Heart, so that it may bring souls to make sacrifices. No true love is without sacrifice. It is only in My crucified Heart, that the ineffable sweetness of my l heart can be tasted. Seen from the outside, the Cross is bitter and harsh, but as soon as tasted, penetrating and savoring it, there is no greater pleasure. Therein is the repose of the soul, the soul inebriated by love, therein its delights, its life'" (Aut. 1, 216-218).

Here we have the prophetic announcement of the contemplatives of the Cross. All are consecrated to a life of immolation of love: "I was praying, when, all at once, there was presented to my interior view, a lengthy process of nuns, bearing a great red cross... They passed along two by two, looking at me often on going by . Some days later, the Lord told me: 'There will also be a Congregation of men, after this foundation for women, but I will speak to you of this later, at a more opportune time.' There are now some four hundred nuns in Mexico, in Guatemala and in Spain" (Aut. 1).

The message of the Cross was to be introduced to the whole Church: "Yes, this apostolate of the Cross will spread to the entire world and will give Me great glory."

Finally the Lord reveals to Conchita that she will have to continue in the Church the work of Margaret Mary. Here is what she says to her director in reference to this: "Father, l hesitate to tell you this, but it was Jesus Himself who evoked the memory of Margaret Mary. He told me that He had chosen both of us, one for one thing, the other for another, that is, one to reveal His Love and the other to reveal His suffering... Do you understand me?" (Diary, May 1894).

In a letter to Father Jose Alzola, Jesuit provincial, Conchita expresses this more clearly. "The Apostolate of the Cross is the work which continues and completes that of My Heart and which was revealed to Blessed Margaret Mary. I tell you that this does not mean only My external Cross as a divine instrument of Redemption. This Cross is presented to the world to bring souls toward My Heart, pierced on that Cross. The essence of this Work consists in making known the Interior Sufferings of My Heart which are ignored, and which constitute for Me a more painful Passion than that which My Body underwent on Calvary, on account of its intensity and its duration, mystically perpetuated in the Eucharist. I tell you, up to this day, the world has known the love of My Heart manifested to Margaret Mary, but it was reserved for present times to make known its suffering, the symbols of which I had shown simply and in an external way. I say again, there must be a penetration into the Interior of this boundless ocean of bitterness and an extension of knowledge of it throughout the world for bringing about the union of the suffering of the faithful with the immensity of the sufferings of My Heart, for their suffering is mostly wasted. I wish them to profit from it by way of the Apostolate of the Cross for the benefit of souls and for the consolation My Heart."

"A month ago, while I was traveling, the Lord told me suddenly: 'The Work of the Cross is the continuation of that of My Heart. It includes likewise the continuation of the revelations made to Margaret Mary'" (Letter to Fr. Alzola, Jesuit Provincial, Nov. 4, 1899).