When Conchita was forty, the hour arrived when the divine preparations were to be completed and end with the "central grace" of her spiritual life:
the mystical incarnation. Throughout long years the Lord had given her a presentment of this grace of graces, the source of a multitude of other charisms and divine favors, all converging toward identification with the interior sentiments of the priestly soul of Christ.
Conchita returned time and again in her writings to speak of this signal grace but the principal account, the one closest to the event, the most immediate and spontaneous has been recorded in her
Diary. Therein is clearly discerned three successive aspects its preparation, its multiple consequences for her personal life and its apostolic radiance.
"I want you to prepare yourself for the day when the Church celebrates the feast of the Incarnation of the Divine Word. On that day I descended to unite Myself with Mary, making Myself flesh in her most pure womb, for saving the
world. This same day I want to unite Myself spiritually with your soul and give you a new life, a divine and immortal life, in time and in eternity.
"Prepare yourself, purify yourself, because the benefit I prepare for you is very great, immensely great..." (Diary, Feb. 17, 1897).
After she had understood this, on February 14, 1897 she felt a new force, an impulse toward
heaven, a great thirst for perfection and for purity of soul. She understood that she must be loved, and, year by year, she prepared herself for receiving what was promised her.
Conchita went on retreat March 20, 1906, avid for silence and recollection, resolved to be renewed.
The retreat master was Father Mariano Duarte, S.J.
From the very first days, the Lord began to prepare Conchita for this supreme grace, in perfect keeping with her special vocation to the Cross.
"Here I am on retreat... Even now He urges me to practice virtues. Even now I feel His presence absorbs me... Yes, oh my Life, speak to this heart which belongs wholly to You, speak to it in the solitude of Your cloister, in the atmosphere of Your Cross.
From all eternity, by Your grace, You have made me come out of nothingness... From my tenderest childhood You have drawn me to suffering.
You have shown me the folly of love, but love of the Cross, You have transformed me into it" (Diary, March 21, 1906).
"Lord, listen at this hour to the cry of my soul, during this retreat and this silence.
This cry is most powerful, without any admixture of self-love. You are going to listen to it then: 'Jesus, Savior of men, save them, save them, may they not perish! May they not fall into hell... May Your Cross hold them back and may the Holy Spirit sanctify them' (Diary, March 22, 1906).
While on retreat Conchita does not think of herself. She bears in her soul the anguish of the salvation of the world.
She wants to save all men, her brothers.
"I feel in me, coming from heaven, a drive toward perfection, toward a new life" (Diary, March 23, 1906).
Then, without undue emphasis, with evangelical simplicity, Conchita has described this sublime divine favor, carefully giving us the date of this major event of her life.
"March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord.
"You have brought me to these holy exercises against every counsel of human prudence.
You have given me health. You have also asked me from the first day, for the greatest sacrifices of the heart.
You have then asked me to purify my heart of all the dust and affection of the world, so that I be all Yours.
You desired me to belong wholly to You. Then you granted me contrition for my sins and the most vivid desire of purifying my poor soul as much as possible.
All that is past. Yesterday I acknowledged all the faults of my life. Ever waiting, year after year, I expected today, trembling, what the Lord had promised me.
I humbled myself, thinking that it was pride to expect to see come about what eight or nine years ago the Lord had offered or asked of me.
"Around a quarter after midnight, I rose, prostrating myself face down on the ground, I celebrated this sublime mystery of the Incarnation which, I know not why, ever filled me with wonder.
At ten minutes after four, I stretched myself out upon
the roses (thorns) for an hour. Then I wanted to make my meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation, but was totally unable to do so.
According to the
Exercises I was supposed to make my meditation on the flight into Egypt.
"Before Mass, prostrate before the Tabernacle, I humbled myself as much as possible. I begged the Lord's pardon, I renewed my vows, I promised Him that I would never let my heart be taken over by the things of the world as I had done up to now.
Thus, my soul empty of all else, I received Him in Communion. I wanted to say many things to Him, the
Incarnatus est, but I did not know what to say when the moment came. In fact, at the first Mementos for the living and the dead, I was taken over by the presence of my Jesus, quite close to me, hearing His divine voice which said to me: 'Here I am, I want to incarnate Myself mystically in your heart.
I carry out what I promise. In countless ways I have prepared you for this grace. The hour has come to carry out My promise: Receive Me.'
"I then felt an inexpressible confusion. I imagined I had already received Christ in Communion, but He, as it
were, reading my mind, continued: 'No, no, it is not so. You have received Me today quite differently.
I have taken possession of your heart. I incarnate Myself mystically in it never to leave.
Sin alone would be able to separate Me from you. I likewise warn you, every creature that might come to occupy it, would lessen in it My real presence.
By that I mean, the effects, for I cannot undergo any diminution.' He added: 'Therein is a very great grace which My bounty has prepared for you.
Humble yourself and be grateful.' I dared say to Him: 'Lord, what You had promised me, what You had asked of me, was it marriage?'
"That has already taken place. Now there is question of an infinitely greater grace."
"Would it be, my Jesus, spiritual marriage?"
"Much more than that. Marriage is a form of more external union; the grace of incarnating Me, of living and growing in your soul, never to leave it, to possess you and to be possessed by you as in one and the same substance, without obviously, you giving Me life; rather, it is I, who communicate it to your soul in a compenetration which cannot be comprehended: it is the grace of graces.
"There you have a mystic union, one that is greatest and most sublime, the greatest that can ever be.
It is a union of the same nature as that of the union of heaven, except that in paradise the veil which conceals the Divinity disappears, but since the Divinity never separates itself from Me, the union, the intimate encounter of nothingness with All is the same thing."
"I really and truly felt my union with Him living and throbbing in the depths of my soul, having the same effects the Eucharist produces but with greater intensity.
However I said to Him: 'Lord, what if this was a figment of my imagination or a delusion?'
He replied: 'You will discern all that from the results flowing therefrom.' He continued: 'What fidelity I demand of you! For you keep ever in your soul my real and effective presence.
What grace of predilection! I have been prodigal toward you with My graces, for I have My designs on your soul.'
"I do not merit this, my Jesus."
"No one merits it. Love Me. 'This kind of union is most profound, most intimate and, if your soul remains faithful, it will be an eternal union.
You thought you were going to die, when I granted you this favor which I had promised you.
I communicate to you a new life. Aspire to live it. It is all pure and holy, the life of your Jesus.
He Himself is He who is Life, your Word which, from eternity loved you and prepared you for this day."
"I felt my spirit inundated with freshness, peace, infinite delights, but was it true?
Yes, certainly, year after year I saw myself humiliated by this promise, which apparently was never carried out.
I did not understand it all. My tears flowed, such condescension seemed impossible to me.
What to do, yes, what to do to correspond to it? Lord, Lord, what will I do but humble myself and beg Mary to thank You for me and imitate You, repeating in my lowliness and nothingness: 'Behold the handmaids of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Thy Word' " (Diary, March 25, 1906).
In Conchita's spiritual journey, the mystical incarnation held a central place. Hence the major importance for grasping the whole historical significance.
This involved not only its preparation and fulfillment, but also its consequence for the rest of her life.
Conchita was the first
beneficiary. She better understood the fuller meaning of her vocation and of her mission.
She was to be a victim for the Church in union with Christ-Priest and Host. Conchita's entire spiritual doctrine is marked by this
priestly character. The mystical incarnation eminently realized the "royal priesthood" of all the members of the family of Christ.
"Upon increating Myself in your heart I had My designs: to transform you into Me, the man of
sorrows; You must live out of My life and you already know that the Word became incarnate to suffer, not as Word but in My human nature and in My very holy soul.
A mother gives her life to her child in whom she communicates her own substance... I will give it to your soul but plunged in suffering.
This union will largely be painful, making you like unto Myself, if you assent so to do.
In this intimate union there awaits you a path of suffering. Without thinking, run along it.
May the Holy Spirit be your strength. He has played a great role in this mystical and real union with your soul, learn to correspond with Him and you will be happy.
"What shall I do, Jesus? Live my life and be docile to my will. That demands of you a perfect and total fidelity to each one of my inspirations.
That is frightening, Lord! If you love Me, you will triumph over everything. If you do not get covered with dust, you will be My repose and in a hidden life, recollected and faithful, you will hear My divine voice which will ever sustain you.
"And l, on my part, felt born within me as it were a new life. A total abandonment, a detachment from all created things, an immense love" (Diary, March 26, 1906).
Right after the mystical incarnation, God inspired her with the "Chain of love" (Cadena de
amor) which was to raise up a spiritual elite wholly consecrated to God, in the service of His Church.
"You are at the same time altar and priest, for you possess the most Holy Victim of Calvary and of the Eucharist and you have the power to offer Him continually to the eternal Father for the salvation of the world.
Therein lies the most precious fruit of the great favor of the mystical incarnation in your heart.
I have given you that which is the greatest in heaven and on earth: Myself, and precisely, for this purpose, I have wanted you to start the 'Chain of love.' I have put in your hands a deposit of immense value with which heaven may be bought.
Alone, what would you be able to do? But with Me, united to Me, by the merits of this same price of ransom, the Word Himself, you will be able to continue saving men, thousands and thousands of souls.
You have nothing for yourself, but with Me, you possess all. Do you understand why this grace has now been given you?"
"Yes, My adorable Jesus, I now see that I will not be able to carry out my mission of saving souls save in possessing You and in offering myself to You."
"You will be My altar and at the same time My victim. Offer yourself in union with Me, offer Me at each moment to the eternal Father, with the so exalted purpose of saving souls and of glorifying Him.
Forget everything and above all forget yourself. Let that be your constant occupation.
You have received a sublime mission, the mission of a priest. Admire My bounty and show your gratitude.
Without you knowing it, I have given you what you desired so much, and much, much more than that: the ability to be a priest, not that of holding Me in your hands but in your heart and the grace of never separating Myself from you.
Achieve the grandiose finality of this grace. As you see, it is not for you alone but universal, obliging you with all possible purity to be at one and the same time altar and victim, consumed in
holocaust with the other Victim, the sole Host which may be agreeable to God and which may save the world.
"Thus grace is the echo of the cry of your heart which greatly has moved me and which has obtained the founding of the Works of the Cross, devoted to the salvation of the
world. You asked me to save men. I have come anew into your heart for saving them. Through the intermediary of the Works of the Cross, millions of souls are going to be joined to this new spirit of My bounty.
My heart will find therein a great consolation, my Church support, my Father His glory, and the Holy Spirit will find souls" (Diary, June 21, 1906).
This grace of the mystical incarnation, a grace of overflowing fullness will be for Conchita the sign of extraordinary lights designed to be spread throughout the whole Church.
There took place in her something analogous to the sublime graces and charisms received by St. John of the Cross in the prison at Toledo.
After terrible mystical nights and a transforming union, he came out another man, a saint, a teacher whose spiritual radiance and doctrinal synthesis are called to enlighten the Church to the end of time.
Likewise, Conchita's Diary, in this period following the grace of the mystical incarnation, has manifested an incomparable richness.
Her grand spiritual themes have revealed an amplitude up to then unequaled, embracing in a striking and concrete synthesis the widest horizons of the mysteries of the faith.
The laws of religious psychology have shown us, there is in the lives of God's servants an indivisible point which clarifies and harmonizes everything.
Isaiah: In the case of Isaiah, it is at the moment when the vision of the transcendental holiness of Yahweh is revealed to the Prophet.
Mother of God: In the Mother of God, it is the day of the Incarnation of the Word, at the moment of the Annunciation, when Mary becomes by her
"fiat," at one and the same instant the Mother of God and the Mother of men.
St. Paul: In the case of St. Paul, the point occurs during his conversion on the road to Damascus, when God the Father revealed to him the divine filiation of Jesus and His identity with all the members of His Mystical Body.
Nearer to our times, the apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin to Bernadette of Lourdes brought about in her soul a radical change.
By way of a phenomenon of amazing imitation by her actions and gestures, by her interior feelings, Bernadette manifested in her feelings, in her smiling, in her soul, a reflection of the Immaculate.
Bernadette herself said, manifesting thereby the secret of her sanctity: "l want to live like the vision."
Likewise we know through l'Histoire d'une ame, that on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, God revealed Himself to Therese de Lisieux, His face shone radiant with love and mercy, the dogmatic foundation of the spiritual childhood which has led a multitude of souls to offer themselves, as did Therese, to merciful Love in a total response of love.
The mystical incarnation, March 25, 1906, was for Conchita the "central grace" of her life, the key to her spiritual doctrine and to her mission in the Church of God.
She was able to conclude: "My soul seems to awaken from a dream. It seems to me that on penetrating into my soul, my Word has brought me in a new measure, more secret and hidden, more intimate and more luminous, where the Beloved dwells...
"Now I am going to go home to carry out my duties there and meet again creatures which deprive me of some time to spend with You and to maintain a certain indispensable contact with the world.
Since that is what You wish, I wish it too...
"I came here alone, I leave with Him" (Diary March 30, 1906).