A Mother's Spiritual Diary

Divine Illuminations

Conchita lived in the heart of the world, cloistered in Christ. Then new horizons opened up. Her heart expanded to the dimensions of the Church. "The Lord unrolled before me spiritual panoramas which left me mute in admiration. Suddenly I found myself involved in the most profound secrets of the spiritual life. I contemplated its ravishing beauties, its formidable abysses, its delights and dangers. I do not know for what purpose and in what manner He conducted me in these so unknown areas... Why do these flashes of interior light burst out in me at any moment at all? Why do the supernatural and the divine present themselves to me so clearly? At times I think that all this is purely natural and within the range of my intelligence but I know the rudeness and limitations of my spirit and I cannot but admit that such illuminations are extraordinary and graces from heaven, even though l do not know their purpose" (Diary, March 21, 1901).

God had predestined a simple lay woman, without scholarly culture, to illumine His Church. Therein, unquestionably, is the reason for these divine illuminations which astound us and which cannot be explained save by the special illumination of the Holy Spirit, supernatural intuitions touching on the most fundamental mysteries of Christianity. We shall cite but a few examples lest we render dull the simple relation of the film of her life, reserving for a second part, the account of her great spiritual themes. The Lord enlightened her about the paths of holiness, about the mysteries of the Church, about priests, and above all progressively about the mystery of God and the abysses of the Trinity, not speculatively and abstractedly, but ever in relation to her person and concrete life for helping her ascend to God.

Lights on the Immensity of God

Here are some of these dogmatic elevations on the immensity of God, on the essence of Him who is, on the Trinity and the Incarnation and on the eternal Generation of the Word.

"I received and experienced most vivid lights on the immensity of God... I saw God so great, so infinite in each and every one of His attributes. I felt lost like a drop of water in this ocean, like an imperceptible atom on these vast horizons. I felt myself submerged in God. I embraced His infinite bosom, feeling myself overcome with the infinite thirst of my heart. I found my joy on feeling that nothing was lessened in God, ever like unto Him. What a marvel! A marvel impossible to explain. I could only perceive and savor it. I experienced also an inexplicable spiritual joyfulness on scrutinizing my nothingness before His infinite altitude, on becoming aware of my impotence and of my weakness before I His grandeur and omnipotence. I rejoiced in my nothingness and fragility, in my misery, feeling Him, my God, of such grandeur, of such infinitude for ever and ever, world without end...

At other times, I experienced this illuminating, formidable presence of my God within the innermost depths of my being, an infinite thirst, an irresistible and constant impulse toward this unique Being, who alone was capable of satisfying me... I felt inside me, a kind of harmony and resemblance to God Himself. And I said to myself: 'How can one doubt the existence of the soul and its immortality?' Those who do, poor things, have never experienced what I endeavored to express.

"At yet other times, I felt a soaring of the soul, like a great flame which rises ever higher, like to, I thought, a mass of steam which ascends and overcomes all obstacles, losing itself, being dissolved, in the object of its desires. 'God! God!', I said again and again. 'God! My God!...' This Being so great is all Mine. My Creator become my Redeemer... This life, wholly divine, eager to suffer and die to give me life on a cross.. to die for me!

"Who would not have had their heart torn out on making such reflections! I had never felt so vehemently this immensity of God' (Diary, March 10, 1895).

"I am Who Am"

With an impeccable doctrinal assurance, Conchita's spirit rises to the supreme summit of divine revelation where, according to Exodus (3: 14) God manifests to Moses on Sinai His inmost nature as the God of the Covenant with His Chosen People. The scientific and architectural genius of a St. Thomas will discover in this privileged text "the sublime Truth" (Contra Gentes) which he will make the keystone of the arch of his Summa theologica: "l am existence itself." The entire Thomistic synthesis is ordered around this fundamental truth. If God speaks to a woman, if He reveals to her the secret of His Being, it is in order to establish consciousness of her nothingness and make of it the point of departure for her spiritual ascent. Had not the Lord announced the same basic truth to St. Catherine of Siena...? At the debut of her divine visions, that is, at the time when Our Lord began to manifest Himself to the saint, He appeared to her one day while she was praying and said to her: "Do you know, my daughter, who you are and who I am? If you have this two-fold knowledge you will be happy. You are she who is not. I am He who is. If you keep this truth in your heart, never will the enemy be able to deceive you, you will escape all his snares. Never will you consent to commit an act which is against My commandments, and you will readily acquire all grace, all truth, all clarity" (Life by BI. Raymond de Capoue, Ch. X).

God spoke almost in the same way to the great Mexican mystic, who relates it in her Diary, still greatly perturbed by the revelation of this supreme truth.

"Eternally I am: I am covers all eternity. For Me there exists neither before, nor after, neither past, nor future. I cannot say I have been or I shall be, but eternally I am.

"Why do you tell me this, Lord, if I do not understand it?

"Before creation, at the bottom of My eternal Being, without beginning: I AM now... I AM eternally. I AM by My very self. Nothing was brought to Me. I bear in Me all the perfections and attributes which I produce from my own essence. I am hlessed because I am eternal, ever enjoying within My own self, eternal Truth: Father, Son and l Holy Spirit, the Whole in Unity, three Persons in one single substance, there is your God thrice Holy! ! Holy! Holy!

"And I, in truth, am confused. I cannot think, or reason and, then feel I am at such heights, I can but lower myself into the bottomless abyss of my nothingness. I close my eves, I believe and I adore...!

"I believe there is no better lesson of humility than this. How can anyone believe, before God and in the presence of such grandeur, that he is something of grandeur, miserable atom that he is? How can he think he is something good in comparison with this goodness without limits: How can he declare himself perfect in the presence of such a light on these infinite perfections. How can he esteem himself pure, in the face of this eternal Truth. Oh what fools we are, we others, poor beings of this world, when we believe we are something or consider ourselves capable of the least thing!

"In truth, after I touched God and had an imperfect notion of His Being, I wanted to prostrate myself, my forehead and my heart, in the dust and never get up again" (Diary, Aug. 8, 1896).

Trinity and Incarnation

The Most Blessed Trinity also revealed Itself to her but by way of the Incarnation. It is ever thus with the mystics: through the humanity of Christ to the splendors of the Trinity.

"The Lord next elevated my spirit to the contemplation of the Incarnation of the Word. l made me understand most profound things in relation to the Most Holy Trinity of which He is the Second Person.

"The Lord told me: 'My Father existed from all eternity. He produced from the depths of Himself, of His own substance, of His very essence, His Word. From all eternity too, from the beginning, already there was the Word God and the Father, who is God, the two Persons constituting but one same divine substance. But never, at any moment, were these Persons, the Father and the Son alone or only two. In this same eternity, but inspired by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit existed, reflection, substance, essence of the Father and the Son and, equally Person. The Holy Spirit is a divine reflection in the bosom of the same divinity, the reflection of Love in the bosom of Love itself. The Holy Spirit is the reflection of Light in the bosom of Light itself, the reflection of Life within Life itself and likewise of all the infinite perfections in the most intimate depths of eternal perfection. This communication of the same substance, of the same essence, of the same life and of the same perfections which from and are in reality one and the same essence, substance, life and perfection, constitute the eternal felicity of one and the same God and the endless complacencies of the august Trinity.'

"Oh! how great, immensely great is our God and, in Him what incomprehensible abysses for man and for angels! In the presence of this grandeur, I feel like the most miniscule atom, yet my finite soul on feeling capable of receiving a feeble reflection of this same greatness, dilates itself, filled with joy, contemplating the felicity, the eternity, the incomprehensibility of the immensity of its God.

"And is it there the Word is: I say to myself, greatly moved: It is from this throne He descends toward a poor atom of the earth. Oh my eternal God, how do I receive such condescension?

"Jesus continued: 'The Word, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, descended into the most pure womb of Mary and, conceived by the Holy Spirit, as I have told you at other times, the Word became incarnate and He has become man! A most profound humiliation which the Love of a God alone could bring about. The Word has made human nature His own. At the same time as His Body, He received a holy soul, a very pure soul which animated it. But on becoming man and on descending to earth, He no less remains a divine Person in His humanity as Redeemer.'

"I heard about this marvelous and sublime mystery, things so profound which I have to keep to myself alone, not being able to explain them to others, for want of words...

"Tell me, Jesus, when I reflect on Your most blessed Incarnation, I ask myself, how did this come about? Would you be willing to explain it to me?

"'In God,' the Lord deigned to answer me, 'although there are three distinct Persons, there is but one will, one same substance, one same might. This will, this omnipotence brought about this mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, in this sense that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, is He who accomplished it... The Third Person is the bond of light and of Love, the divine source of all fecundity. Thus, when I myself was on the banks of the Jordan, before everyone, there appeared a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. The voice of the Father was heard saying: 'This is my beloved Son. My favor rests on Him' " (Mt 3:17);  (Diary, Feb. 25, 1897).

Here we have the marvel of marvels:

The Eternal Generation of the Word

"One night, the Lord invites me to pray, raising my soul to these summits of the divinity which frightened me because of my great misery. This night, I resisted as much as I could. In punishment, my heart stayed in a glacial coldness.

"The next day, right after Communion, I felt a divine impulse. I resisted again, as much as possible, but not being able to meditate, I ended up by opening my soul to God, abandoning myself wholly to His will. Scarcely had I done so than I felt submerged in an abyss of light, of clarity, of some inexplicable thing which took away all my feelings, leaving my soul in suspense fixed in one single point, and this point was: God! God! abyss of purity and infinite splendors!

"There, I saw, (I rightly say: I saw, the better to express myself), I saw, I felt, what had never happened to me before: the eternal Generation. I did not know there had been in God a generation. I had never thought about it. An eternal Generation! A divine Generation! Oh, if I could express all that I feel in these words, which left their traces in my memory and in my heart. The impression I felt and experienced then about this divine generation was so vivid that I still tremble at the thought and become as it were mute.

"l saw a large hearth with a most live and pure light. From this increated light there burst forth dazzling rays of divine clarity. All was divine. It was one and the same divinity in an eternity without beginning. Then my soul, as it were transported to this place, contemplated this torrent of light, of fire, of life which came back so to say toward the very hearth whence it had come, as if flowing hack and reflecting on itself. I do not know how to express myself. My God! In this dazzling splendor of light, of fire, of life, of one and the same divinity, I understand how there was brought about the Generation of the Word, of that Word which was from the beginning!

"l perfectly well know that none of these Three divine Persons is anterior to the other, but I cannot explain what I have seen nor can I explain the way in which I saw it.

In this production of the Word, endowed with all the perfections of the Father and forming two divine Persons in a single substance, one and the same will, one and the same might, one and the same beauty, one and the same light and one and the same love, in this unique instant there was established among these two Persons a complaisance, a felicity, a union of love, yes, as union which produced the Third Person, the Holy Spirit. He Himself brings all to perfection, He is the indispensable bond between the Father and the Son. Without Him, they could not exist. This indivisible unity is so fine, so perfect, so pure that it cannot be adequately understood on the earth not even in heaven, outside of God Himself. This divine Unity constitutes the felicity of the saints, the purity of the angels, the ardent flame of the seraphim.

"Oh Trinity! Blessed Trinity! Light of Light in which there appears not the slightest shadow, render me pure as crystal, pure so as to let the rays of Your divinity be visible in me. Oh eternal Generation! Oh Father, Son and Holy Spirit! I rejoice in the sublime secret of Your incomprehensible Felicity. I love you so that, if it were granted me to increase by an atom your beatitude, even at the price of my life and of my damnation - provided it be without sin I would do so. I do not know what I experience on contemplating this hearth of happiness in which They live the same Life! I saw the Three divine Persons, distinct but united in one and the same Center, one and the same love, one and the same substance, one and the same happiness and one and the same perfections" (Diary, July 17, 1897).

In view of such dogmatic elevations, I could not resist saying one day, at Rome, to his Eminence the Cardinal of Mexico, who personally knew the servant of God: "This is not only a woman but one inspired by God." He fully agreed.