Posted by: wordofthevine | March 25, 2014

The Mystical Incarnate: A Gift to the Church

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On this feast of the Annunciation, I am drawn to a recent experience that I had.

A woman that I was well acquainted with described her experience while traveling to Assisi, Italy and attending Mass in the Porqiuncola, St. Francis’ first Church which is enclosed inside  the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. As she finished celebrating the Mass in the little Church, she was moved or rather enraptured in prayer while gazing upon the image above the altar by Ilario da Viterbo that depicts the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation. She said, “I experienced this immense sense of spiritual light engulfing my soul and person; the radiance of the Father’s love seemed to come to me with a sense of burning intensity of desire for God. I was being beckoned by the Lord to offer myself into this fruitful light, and heard in the depths of my heart:

“Mystical Mary, I am drawn to you to incarnate within you, surrender yourself to me, surrender yourself without reserve into me and my heart. Become radiant within and let my Mother guide this grace of all graces. This grace requires the context of mutuality within my Church for it to become most active.”

She continued, “It was as if the grace of the Incarnation had become active within me somehow and all I could do was receive it and respond to it. I was quite interiorly centered for the rest of that day and even now perceive a new sense of the Lord present to me somehow.” 

This woman’s words seemed to penetrate my heart. What stood out for me was that the fruitful “radiance of the Father’s love” had engulfed this woman after she had encountered the Holy Mysteries of the Mass through the ministry of a holy, ordained priest. As I held in my hands the writings of Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida or “Conchita” for short, the woman’s  experience seemed to bring Conchita’s words off the page. “Conchita” was a Mexican lay woman and mystic from the early 20th Century that received mystical intuitions and lights of spiritual doctrine describing the advent of a new Pentecost in the Church through the sanctification of the ordained priesthood. Ven. Concepcion received the profound grace of transforming union with God called the mystical incarnation that the Lord had described to her as available to all the baptized but  particularly important for and accessible to ordained priests through the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders.

This radical movement of “incarnational” grace that Conchita and the woman I described had experienced seemed to shed light on the dynamics of this new Pentecost within the Church, a Pentecost that calls forth the fruitfulness of the laity through the spiritual renewal  of the ordained priesthood. Although, in Il canto dello Spirito (Ancora 1997, p387), Raniero Cantalamessa, the Preacher of the Papal Household, describes the writings of “Conchita” as having a “prophetic character” for today’s Church and world, how do all the baptized and particularly priests make sense of this profound reality of mystical incarnation?  How do they become receptive to this grace and action of the Holy Spirit?   Stay tuned to read about his in upcoming  posts! ~ Mary


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