A Mother's Spiritual Diary

The "Inner Cloister"

Where is the secret of such a life to be found? Undoubtedly in her love for God and in an unbelievable love for Christ. Her daily life is transfigured by faith. Nothing makes her stand out from those who are around her. She is a woman whose life resembles that of all others. God fashions in her a model for women of today who live in their homes, where they carry on their daily occupations, with evangelical simplicity, faithful to all their duties, generous, devoted, at times heroic without the slightest suspicion of it. It is a new type of holiness of which the present day world has need. The Lord told Conchita: "l want to make of you a saint known to Me alone. That is why I take care of you, advise you, direct you, watch over you... I want you to be a mirror of hidden virtues… nothing external. I am tired of this reef on which a great number of souls which should be Mine either perish or run aground. You, if you are Mine, if you listen to Me, if you content yourself, if you pass by everything, letting yourself be held back by nothing. Finally if your eyes and your heart are constantly fixed on Me, you will achieve what I expect of you" (Diary, April, 1895).

The Master knew that his humble servant, responding to His call, would follow Him along the paths of a hidden life: "I want to be a saint. This aspiration without bounds never leaves me, despite the weight of my misery. My soul has the desire, a great desire of sanctity under this form. 'So it is that I ask it of the Lord with all my heart. I want an obscure sanctity, like to the shades of night, one which God alone might see. I want daylight to let be seen only something contemptible and common place. Even more, in my heart there burns the ardent desire that the world judge me as a worm, not a man, as the scorn of men, despised by the people" (Diary, Sept. 10, 1897).

In order to be able to remain united to God in the midst of external agitations and daily tasks, Conchita took refuge in her inner cloister, as did St. Catherine of Sienna in her inner cell, where she constantly found Christ through faith and hive.

Under diverse forms, they are the same instructions for union that Christ gives to all His disciples, as in His last discourse to His Apostles: "Live on in Me, as I do in you. No more than a branch can bear fruit of itself apart from the vine, can you bear fruit apart from Me?" (Jn 15:4-5). He said again and again to Conchita: "I do not want you to expend yourself externally with creatures. No, your mission is other than that. You must correspond with it with an extreme fidelity. No more useless conversation and words. You are to live cloistered in the very inner sanctuary of your soul, for there is where dwells the Holy Spirit. It is in this sanctuary you must live and die. There are your delights, your consolations, your repose. Do not look elsewhere for it, you will never find it. It is for this purpose I have created you specially. From today on, enter into the innermost regions of your soul, into those areas so unknown to so many others but where is found that happiness which I am. Enter into it never to leave it.

"And here is the path which will lead you there: the inner, of which I have spoken to you so many times, offering you as your Mistress, Mary.

"There, you will find absolute purity, you will measure the amplitude of this virtue in all its fullness. There, you will discover a divine reflection in the purity of the soul. There, will await you the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit for your own sanctification and, through you, for the glorification of God. There, your soul will put on the wings and the might to go and lose yourself in this immensity of God of which you have had some experience. A much vaster field of virtues awaits you there that you may practice them and that you may comprehend them on letting yourself be crucified.

Here is your cloister, your religious perfection.

"It is not enough to immure your body, to be a nun… The 'inner cloister' is essential for the sanctification of the soul wishing to be all Mine. You must never leave this inner sanctuary, even in the midst of your outside obligations. This constant interior recollection will facilitate these activities in the very measure you will practice them in God's presence…

"You seek perfection to come closer to Me. You have there a practical path to reach it. The pure and recollected soul lives in Me and I in it, not confusion and pride, but in interior solitude and in the sacrifice of contempt of self...

"There, in this sanctuary, which no one sees, is found true virtue and consequently the contemplation of God and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit" (Diary, Aug. 15, 1897).