Christ’s Mystical Messages to Blessed Conchita Shine Light on Our Suffering
In the Cross of Christ is our salvation and the invitation to join our suffering to his
Public or Private? It was not a question I expected to be asked during a six-week pilgrimage my husband and I made to Spain and Portugal. In Barcelona, I knew that I needed to get to a hospital when my abdominal pain became on par with labor. At the reception desk, we were asked, “Do you want a public or private hospital?” They were a private one. I wasn’t going anywhere, so private it would be. A Google search told us it was a good hospital for English speakers.
A CT scan revealed acute diverticulitis. I was admitted and given antibiotics. Diverticulitis is an abdominal condition that may never cause a problem, but if infection sets in, it needs to be treated before it causes a perforation or sepsis — life-threatening situations.
I learned surrender from the lives of the saints and from Jesus in Scripture, and so it was for five days in the hospital before continuing on the pilgrimage at a slower pace. My husband Mark and I understood that uniting our sufferings with those of Christ is powerful spiritual collateral.
Worldly productivity gave way to the spiritual. It canceled my plan to keep churning out articles for the Register on the amazing churches we were visiting and halted work on the third book in my children’s series during downtime and traveling. I offered it up for conversions and for all the people I learned were praying for me, asking God to bless them all. Mark and I suffered together — he wishing it could be him instead of me, but me glad it wasn’t since he was the one who spoke the language and knew how to get around.
Eternal Value of the Cross
Although I understood offering up suffering, that understanding deepened upon my return home, through the messages of Jesus to Blessed Conchita Cabrera I read about in Kathleen Beckman’s new book, Beautiful Holiness: A Spiritual Journey with Blessed Conchita to the Heart of Jesus.
Blessed Conchita (1862-1937) received mystical messages from Jesus — approved by the Church — offering profound insights into the power of suffering. The Mexican wife and mother of nine had founded a men’s and a women’s religious community and published 46 books sharing mystical messages to transform our lives in Christ. She received the title of “Blessed” in 2007 after Pope Francis approved a miracle of a young father suffering from a debilitating condition who was healed through her intercession.
Jesus spoke to Conchita directly, explaining the eternal value of the Cross and the communion of suffering. Through the Cross, Conchita was formed in Christ and received the “highest grace of the Mystical Incarnation,” union with Mary, and entrustment of a spiritual motherhood of priests.
“Blessed Conchita’s life and spirituality illuminates a path of godly possibilities that most have not imagined,” Beckman wrote. “The Cross of Jesus was Conchita’s signpost; the Crucified Lord was her model.”
Beckman acknowledged that to the world, the cross is madness, but noted that God made provisions for such a time as this.
“A married laywoman, a mother, would arise to sound a trumpet and herald the power of the Cross like St. Paul. This power cannot be stripped away by all the sin and evil in the world. As Paul teaches, ‘Where sin increased grace abounded all the more’ (Romans 5:20).”
Conchita wrote in her book, Message of the Cross, “It is of vital urgency to have a clear awareness of what the Cross of Christ means, of what it accomplishes in the mystery of the person.”
In the Cross of Christ is our salvation and the invitation to join our suffering to his, Beckman explained. She shared that a season of her own suffering had been so heavy that she thought she would die from it.
“The only solace I ever received was uniting my suffering to Jesus on the Cross. When I placed my pain next to Christ’s passion, I gained perspective and purpose.” She explained that the Cross is a love story and through Christ’s wounds, ours are healed and that when we suffer, Christ is mystically holding us. “Suffering for sufferings sake is evil (see 1 Corinthians 13:3),” Beckman wrote. “Suffering has meaning and value only when united to Jesus’ cross.”
Visions of The Cross
Conchita received visions of a heart on a cross, surrounded by flames, pierced by a lance and pulsating with love. Jesus explained to her that it was a continuation of the devotion to his Sacred Heart given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690). Through Conchita’s messages from Jesus, the Apostleship of the Cross developed into a new school of spirituality in 1895, founded in Mexico by the Venerable Ramón Ibarra González, then Bishop of Chilapa, Guerrero.
Jesus told Conchita:
I wish the Cross to reign. Today, it is presented to the world with my heart so that it may bring souls to make sacrifices. No true love is without sacrifices. Therein is the repose of the soul, the soul inebriated by love delights in its life. … The essence of this work consists in making known the interior sufferings of my Heart which are ignored, and which constitute for me a more painful Passion than that which my body underwent on Calvary, on account of its intensity and its duration, mystically perpetuated in the Eucharist.
Jesus shared with Conchita that the world has known of the love of his Sacred Heart through St. Margaret Mary and now through her, it would learn of the suffering of his heart. In a letter to Father Jose Alzola, a Jesuit provincial, Conchita wrote that Jesus told her:
I say again, there must be a penetration into the Interior of this boundless ocean of bitterness and an extension of knowledge of it throughout the world, for by bringing about the union of the suffering of the faithful with the immensity of the sufferings of my Heart, for their suffering is mostly wasted. I wish them to profit from it by way of the Apostolate of the Cross for the benefit of souls and for consolation of my Heart.”
“Jesus wants the world to profit by uniting its vast suffering to the immensity of his suffering on the Cross,” Beckman wrote. “The message is rejected today. Jesus searches for men in women of all vocations to be brave in their witness to the power of the Cross. How often do we consider the interior sufferings of Jesus and offer consolation or reparation?”
She pointed out that we should certainly pray for the alleviation of our suffering.
“But whatever suffering remains, if the healing doesn’t come, then the offering of suffering in union with the Cross is a powerful act of love.”