Sunday, May 27, 2012

Venerable Conchita on priests

Concepcion Cabrera de Armida is a saint for our time. She was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in the Jubilee year 2000. It is said that her writings are almost as voluminous as those of St. Thomas Aquinas, the great doctor of the Church. She died on March 3, 1937 at the age of 75. As a mother she has a special role in the lives of priests and I do feel is very active in interceeding for them in heaven. Here are some difficult words that she shares from Our Lord regarding priests and priestly spirituality: " If souls lag along the road and their interior life is extinguished, it's the priest's fault. The gates of divine communication opened up for the mystical life, are closed. Why? Through apathy in My service, through dissipation of their lives, through their lack of mortification, through their lack of study in this domain, through absence of close and consciencious rapport with souls, through want of the spirit of sacrifice, because they do not love enough. Here are the motives, here the cause or rather the many causes which bring about and maintain these results: lack of prayer, of the interior life, or purity of soul, of intimate relations with Me; absence of love and devotion to the Holy Spirit, of union with God. The world opens at this moment a large breach in the hearts of priests and you know the number of vices which accompany this redoubtable enemy: an excessive contact with creatures chills their fervor, the neglect of external and interior recollection brings tepidity. Thence, where the world enters, thence the Holy Spirit departs. When the Holy Spirit leaves the heart of a priest, he is ruined, for if anyone has not only the need but the most imperious obligation to live and breathe the Holy Spirit, it is the priest. To the measure he departs, materialism penetrates. Woe to the priest who founders himself in matter, he can consider himself lost. This is so easy in a dissipated soul, in a heart which does not pray and is not mortified. Out of his infernal hatred for My Church, in a matter of such capital importance for so many souls and for the priest himself, Satan aims at her, his most poisonous arrows. He makes every effort to find the opening through which the world will enter into the priest's heart under any form whatsoever. After that, this unfortunate sould smoothly glides down the slopes toward sin." (Diary, Feb. 14, 1907) Conchita later shares some more challenging words for priests. They are words that should challenge the lay faithful as well: challenge them to pray and make sacrifices for priests and challenge them to promote priestly vocations by themselves living lives of holiness. Here Conchita shares the words of Jesus: " I want love in My priests. I want interior life. I want these consecrated souls to live most closely to Me. I want to banish apathy from their hearts and make them burn with zeal for My glory. I want to activate the divine life of so many souls who belong to me and who are failing. I want to destroy the indifference which paralyzes God's action and which deprives priests of My graces. The fire must be rekindled and this will be done only by the Holy Spirit, bu the divine medium of the Word, offering Him to the Father and asking for mercy." (Diary Sept 23, 1927). She continues the words of Our Lord: " I want a living, palpitating, clear and powerful reaction of the clergy through the Holy Spirit. A priest no longer belongs to himself. He is another Me and he must be all to all, but first of all by sanctifying himself, for no one can give what he does not have and only the Sanctifier can sanctify. So then, if he wants to be holy-as it is imperious he must-he must be possessed, impregnated by the Holy Spirit, since if the Holy Spirit is indispensible for the life of any soul whatsoever, for the soul of priests He must be their breath and very life. If priests are Jesus, should they not have the spirit of Jesus? And this Spirit, is He not the Holy Spirit? (Diary Oct 9, 1927) The Lord challenges priests to remember the words of the Bishop on the day of their ordination: "Let your life be modelled on the Lord's cross." The cross is the way of holiness for all...lay, consecrated religious, or priests. Here Jesus speaks to His priests through Conchita: "What is wanting to many of My priests is the spirit of mortification, love of the Cross, knowledge of the riches found in suffering. Many preach the cross but do not practice it (ouch-my words, Fr Nagle). They advise abnegation and self-renunciation and they do not even dream of practicing these virtues so necessary for priests, for sacrifice is one of the culminating points and is the base for transformation into Me who was a Victim from the very moment of My Incarnation to My death. To be acceptable to My Father, a victim must be pure and sacrificed. My entire life is reduced to this beautiful work which synthesizes the essence of the Christian and even more that of the priest....immolation! I was voluntarily immolated on earth and I continue this life of immolation on the altars. I came into the world to sanctify suffering and to take away its bitterness. I came to bring about the love of the Cross, and the most perfect transformation into Me must be brought about by loveing suffering, by painful love. Thus then, a priest who wants to assimilate himself to Me as is his obligation, must love sacrifice, must aspire to voluntary immolation, bu devoting himself, by renouncing his own self and sacrificing himself constantly on behalf of souls. Priest means one who offers himself and offers, who immolates himself and immolates. Priests must love the cross and be in love with Me crucified. I am their model." ( Diary, Jan 1, 1928) On this Pentecost Sunday 2012, we will leave with the words of Jesus to Conchita. Words for all priests to live by: " The Holy Spirit alone sanctifies priests. This divine Spirit alone raises them from the terretrial to the divine. He alone is capable of urging on, by His breath, priestly souls toward heroism, toward the sublimity of their vocation. He is the delicate and most pure link which eternally unites the Trinity. He is also the link, the sweet and loving chain, which must sweetly unite as all this His, priests with Me, to carry out the desire of My Father, Unity in Trinity, by the Holy Spirit. How much I desire the perfect reign of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who are Mine! This interior reign in the soul of My priests, must be His throne and nest. If they are other Christs, My priests must have My same Spirit, the Holy Spirit." Conchita, pray for all priests! Pray for this priest, and pray to the Mother of Priests!

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