The Church sprang from My Heart on the Cross. There it is that the Church so pure and beautiful was born from My side as Eve from Adam's side, in order to be the Mother of all Christians, of all souls, to save them through the infinite merits I deposited in her immaculate soul" (Diary, March 14, 1928).
This classic and basic theme of ecclesiology is contemplated by Conchita in the characteristic viewpoint of her own personal grace. The expression Cross has an eminently personalist resonance. The Cross signifies, above all, Christ Crucified, Christ Priest and Victim who out of love offers Himself to the Father for our salvation. The Cross designates also the Christian who wants to be like Christ by identifying his innermost feelings with His, and frequently Conchita will affirm that the genuine Christian must be a
Even more, the Cross which gave birth to the Church is not only the external and visible cross which was raised on the summit of Calvary, but the interior, inmost core of the Heart of Christ, which began with His Incarnation and was consummated when He delivered His spirit into His Father's hands.
"Through the external cross which all can see, I was a victim acceptable to the Father by shedding My blood, but it was above all through the interior cross that Redemption was accomplished" (Diary, Sept. 7, 1896).
We have already seen that the inmost cross is a central theme of the teachings of the Cross which lead us to the heart and to the essential of the mystery of salvation.
The interior cross is the purest sorrow, born and vivified solely through love. "I loved My Father and I wanted to glorify Him by paying off the debt of sinful man. I loved men with an infinite and human love and I wanted to make them happy and save them" (Diary, Jan. 23, 1928).
Both these loves, founded on one single love, on the Holy Spirit, form the heart of the Redemption.
The Cross is Perpetuated in the Eucharist
Conchita asked the Lord: "If the Redemption satisfied Your justice to efface sin, if by it the distance between man and the divinity was overcome, why did You perpetuate this same sacrifice of the Cross on the altars?"
The Lord answered her: "Solely out of love, solely out of charity, I remain on the altars because burning thirst consumes the Word made flesh who rejoices in His immolation for the sake of man.
"I have stayed on the altars to perfect in their souls by My life as a victim what is wanting of sacrifice in them.
"I have stayed thereon to continue expiation for man's ingratitude through a perpetual sacrifice.
"I have stayed thereon since I am the only pure victim.
"Without Me every immolation would be futile, by My perpetuating My sacrifices, forgiveness is likewise perpetuated, giving their value to the sacrifices of men whey they are offered in union with Mine.
"I have stayed thereon to bring souls, through My example, to become lovers of pain under all its forms.
"I have stayed thereon due to the pleasure the Incarnate Word feels from the proximity of His creature" (Diary, July, 1906).
"In the Mass is perpetuated the same immolation of the same Victim, Me, on Calvary. It is not a prolongation or a repetition of My sacrifice, but the same sacrifice though unbloody, the same living crucifixion with the same an only loving will of the Father to give His own Son, His only Son, for the salvation of the world" (Diary, Aug. 2, 1933).
The whole Church is Priestly
Christ, the Sole Priest, has raised up a Church, an entire priestly people, as a sacrament for the salvation of the world.
She is a chosen nation, a royal palace, a priestly community, a holy nation, a people whom God has acquired for Himself (cf 1 P. 2:9).
The view of a wholly priestly Church is an essential aspect of Conchita's spiritual doctrine, fifty years before Vatican II.
"There are souls who have been consecrated through priestly unction, but there are likewise, in the world, priestly souls, who, although they have neither the dignity nor are consecrated as priests, have a priestly mission, and they offer themselves to the Father in union with Me, to immolate themselves as He desires. These souls mightily aid the Church on the spiritual plane.
"As for priests, they should be victims, transforming themselves into gifts, renouncing themselves and offering themselves to My Father in union with Me for the salvation of souls, as I do" (Diary, Jan. 8, 1928).
There is but one priesthood, that of Christ, but everyone can participate in it for the spiritual priesthood is at the same time the characteristic and charism of the ecclesial community.
The ministerial Priesthood perpetuates Christ's oblation in bringing about the Eucharist in
persona Christi, rendering possible for the whole Church the exercise of the spiritual priesthood, the offering of Christ really present among His people who offer themselves in union with Him.
"When I pronounced these words: 'Do this in memory of Me,' I was not addressing Myself only to priests. Of course, they alone have the power to change the substance of bread into My most holy Body and the substance of wine into My Blood. But the power to unite in one single oblation all oblations belongs to all Christians. It belong to all Christians, members of one single Body, to become one with the Victim on the altar by faith and works, offering Me as Host in
appropriation to My eternal Father" (Diary, June 7, 1916).
This twofold participation in Christ's Priesthood constitutes the structure of the Church of the
Cross, of the Church of Christ Priest and Victim.
"I cannot separate Myself from this sacred heavenly bond, for it is through it I came into the world. My universal Priesthood is naught else but My infinite charity to save man. The Father, I might say, found no other adequate way to save the world than the priesthood, which forms the body of the Church and of which the center or the heart is the Trinity itself. That is why the Word was made flesh, most particularly to be a priest and to spread His Priesthood in souls.
"For thence proceeds the spiritual and mystical priesthood. Religious and laity in the world form part of the mystical Priesthood to the measure of their more or less close union with Me" (Diary, Nov. 29, 1928).
The ministerial Priesthood represents Christ as Head of the Church. "From time immemorial I
behold My Priests in the light of a love which chooses them and embraces them from all eternity, including in this embrace not only their beloved souls but also thousands of souls, for each priest is the head of many other souls."
"Upon eternally considering the priests, I contemplate in him a multitude of souls engendered by him through the Father's generosity, ransomed by him in union with My merits, formed by him, sanctified and saved by him, souls which will render Me glory eternally."
"Do not think the life of a priest is unique or isolated. No, in the life of a priest I contemplate many lives in the spiritual and holy sense, many hearts which will give Me glory eternally" (Diary, Nov. 14, 1927).
The Priest is another Christ
In the present crisis, when priestly identity seems to be lost, Conchita's message is strikingly pertinent.
"When I took on human nature, I brought love to man. Having the same blood, the brotherly bond uniting both natures, the divine and the human, I divinized man, putting him in contact with the Word, raising him above the things of the earth that he aspire for heaven.
"But among all men, I singled out some who should be Mine, other Christ, those who would continue on with the mission which drew Me to earth, that of bringing to My Father what had sprung from Him, souls who would glorify Him eternally" (Diary, Jan. 11, 1928).
'I would never finish saying all the priests are for Me: My hands, My works, My Heart and the center of innumerable souls.
"In the priest I contemplate My Father's reflection. I see Myself and the Holy Spirit. In the priest I contemplate mysteries, that of the unity of his inmost being with the Most Holy Trinity; the mystery of the Incarnation which the priests makes present at each Mass; that of the Eucharist which would not come about without his concourse; finally, that of the Sacraments and My beloved Church and thousands upon thousands of souls engendered in his souls for the glory of God. At every moment in My priests I contemplate Myself but Myself as I am in them, Saint among saints and not disfigured by their sins" (Diary, Nov. 20, 1929).
The Church must continue the Passion
"I am the Head of the Church, and all who are Mine are the members of this same Body and must continue in union with Me, expiation and sacrifice till the end of time.
"My passion was consummated on Calvary, but those who form My Church must continue the passion in themselves, offering themselves in reparation for themselves and for others to the Trinity in union with Me, victims with the Victim, and having the same qualities of victims.
"This is the law of love, the law which governs My Church: ever love, expiation and union" (Diary, July 24, 1906).
"I have no need of anyone to save the world, but all Christians must suffer with Me, cooperating in this same Redemption for the glory of God an their own glorification" (Diary, May 16, 1907).
A prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours expresses this same spirituality: "God our Father, You brought salvation to all mankind through the suffering of Christ Your Son. May your people strive to offer themselves to You as a living sacrifice and be filled with the abundance of Your love" (Vespers IV).
Mary, Mother of the Church
The priestly Church of the Incarnate Word has as her Mother Mary, Mother of the eternal Priest.
"Mary was chosen among all women that in Her virginal womb the Incarnation of the Divine Word be brought about and from that very moment She, wholly pure, the Virgin Mother, She who consented to it with love in most total submission to My Father's will, has never ceased offering Me to Him. The victim came from heaven to save the world, but She sacrificed Her maternal heart to the divine will of the Beloved Father.
"She reared Me to be a Victim, attaining the supreme oblation of Her soul when She delivered Me up to be crucified. One sole sacrifice was there, that which I offered on the Cross and which took place in Her heart. She continued this sacrifice by Her martyrdom of solitude, offering up Her sufferings to the eternal Father in union with me.
"When I left the world, when I parted from Me Disciples, I left them Mary, to represent Me by Her virtues, in Her maternal tenderness, in Her Heart; perfectly faithful to Mine. I left Her to be a necessary factor for the foundation of My Church, as well as sustenance for My Apostles and My first disciples.
"The nascent Church relied on Mary, who sustained Her by Her sufferings an Her virtues, Her prayers and Her love.
"That is why, when I sent the Holy Spirit to My Apostles, I did not take Mary away, although She was even now full of grace and filled with the Holy Spirit. This was in order that the Church see in Her, her Queen, that priests judge Her indispensable, and that neither they nor the faithful suffer from the absence of their Mother's love and sacrifice" (Diary, April 6, 1928).