I hardly know how to begin. I am rereading a little book which recounts Venerable Conchita’s retreat with Archbishop Luis Martinez in 1928. I thought I understood it the first time I read it, but tonight, I am speechless in response.
So deep, so powerful, so intense, but I want to share at least one part of it. Let me begin where Archbishop Martinez begins: “You must be Jesus for the Heavenly Father. Jesus is the only one in whom the Father is pleased….How? Gazing on the Father through the eyes of Jesus or letting Jesus gaze on Him through your eyes….”
Before we can be Jesus Crucified, we must be Jesus. How—the kiss of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit made Jesus incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit transforms those whom He anoints into Christ—we are progressively transformed into Jesus. Regarding the Holy Spirit, “my young dove” as Conchita affectionately called Him, “the heart of Jesus is the real nest of the Holy Spirit.” Wherever “the little dove” nests becomes the Heart of Jesus.
Several months ago I often began praying in this way: “Let me enter into the Love of Jesus for the Father….” or “Let me enter in the Love of the Father for Jesus….” For this is truly God’s intent for us, to enter wholly into Trinitarian love in the fullest way possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
But to continue with Archbishop Martinez: “The core of Jesus’ intimate life was this ineffable gaze….Jesus put all of His soul into that gaze, because that gaze was contemplation, love, self-giving, abandonment, longing to glorify the Father, an abyss of tenderness and a firm, loving, full commitment to His will.”
He goes on to say: “The gaze of your soul must be the reflection of Jesus’ gaze on the Father. This gaze must be the heart of your interior life.” [p8]
The editor explains: “The perfect interior life…is attained when the soul occupies itself only in glorifying the Father, in consuming all its energies, desires and love in only one will and love, in the Holy Spirit; when it offers itself to the Father in union with the Word as a victim of perennial expiation, only to give Him glory.”
If all the passion of Jesus is for the Father, how can we be transformed into Jesus without the Father’s becoming the very passion of our own interior life, our whole gaze, our whole will poured out in tenderness and abandonment to Him?
Now, let us move on: “Jesus loved His Father for all souls…All our souls were in Jesus because He is the Head of regenerated humanity, the new Adam, in whom we are all spiritually present….Alas! Many souls will not love the Father, but Jesus loves His Father for souls that would never love Him!”
Remember, that we are to be Jesus; and in order to be Jesus we must love the Father in the way that Jesus loved Him, never, of course, with Jesus’ own intensity, but as a faithful reproduction in miniature of Jesus’ love. “Your love for the Father must be unique, total, everlasting, ardent, tender, unselfish, active…the love of self-abasement and adoration, of abandonment and sacrifice.”
MOREOVER, if we are to be Jesus…”You, too, like Jesus, must love the Father on behalf of all your children and for all the souls that God has linked with you through the outstanding grace of spiritual maternity….Some of your children will love the Father with many limitations. You must supply for them. Perhaps some of them—may the Lord not permit it!—will never love. You must love for them. With what desire you must try to love for all in order that the Father may not lack even a spark of love from your spiritual family.”
Like Jesus, standing in the gap for us, we stand in the gap for our whole territory of souls—“ for all the souls that God has linked with you through the outstanding grace of spiritual maternity…your spiritual family.” Then Archbishop Martinez helps us to pray: “Yes, I love You for all souls that will be associated with me until the end of time.”
When Jesus was anointed by Mary Magdalene with the fragrant spikenard before his death, the broken alabaster jar filled the whole house with the fragrance of His anointing. So it is that His fragrance of love goes up to the Father for all of us; and with us, like Jesus, the fragrance of our love spills over all the souls who surround us, rising to the Father.
So awesome is our responsibility that it may frighten us. Archbishop Martinez assures us: “Your duty is immense, but do not be afraid, because in order to fulfill it you received and you will continue to receive in abundance the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit, the love which filled the divine Heart of Jesus. Love with the Holy Spirit and your love will be like Jesus’ love, as high as the sky, as deep as the ocean, pleasing to the Father and very fruitful for souls. So be it.”
This is the hidden life to which we are called. Our hidden martyrdom of heart as we gather to ourselves those broken souls who surround us. We suffer for them and love for them. We tell them often, “Yes, of course I’ll pray for you.” They have no idea what that entails—that for their dear sakes we gaze with the eyes of Jesus on the Beloved Father as we offer all. The fragrance of all that we are and all that we have.
In your hidden prayer closet, never doubt your role in the salvation of souls. United with the Heart of Christ, the fragrance of your love and sacrifice rises always to the Father, pleasing Him greatly.
Heavenly Father, my beloved Abba,
through the pure heart of my Immaculate Mother,
in union with Jesus, my Love Crucified,
and in the power of the Holy Spirit,
I offer you all that I have and all that I am.
I abandon myself to Your perfect Will,
and I love You for all souls that will be associated with me
until the end of time.