Lord; Bless the Lord all Things
That Breed on the Earth.
(Daniel 3: 75-76)
Let us return to the narration from the diary: That day we talked much with the Virgin,
And she talked with us.
We told her everything. Concerning what was comprised in this everything, Conchita wrote down especially this:
We told her that we walked to the pastures, that we were tanned, that we took the hay to the barns. And she laughed. We told her about so many things!
Since the first time I heard the story of Garabandal (unfortunately I was not there to see it personally) these words from Conchita have always sounded like music from a great pastoral symphony. They are like a brief strophe of pure air, of untainted fragrance, of childlike freshness on which were just beginning to fall the first traces of decay. With all the charm of a hillside breeze, those lines from the hand of the little narrator, chiseled with grace, truthful and sincere, reveal to us how hard each day was for the little children of the mountain village during the summer season.
It is a pleasure to walk through the hillside meadows when everything is in bloom; cut hay gathered and stacked under the sun has a fragrant scent. But to work hard, cutting and gathering it, carrying and putting it in a barn far away—the peasants do not call that a pleasure.
We should not be surprised then that the girls of Garabandal on that July 2nd, while seeing the heavenly Mother for the first time, would tell her all about the hard work of gathering hay. Didn't that stand out as the most detestable of all their daily chores? And the Mother was there to learn about it. No one could listen like her, for no one could love like her, for no one could be as interested as she in everything that concerned her children. Her laughter and smile full of tenderness and grace came as a breeze from paradise on those four creatures who so early had come to know the hard facts of life. When they had finished their childlike conversation, the Mother could speak with the words of Isaac of old, Behold the fragrance of my child is as the fragrance of a fruitful field, which the Lord has blessed. God give you the dew of heaven. (Gen. 27: 27-28)
Mother and Teacher
We said the rosary looking at her. And she prayed with us in order to teach us how to pray well.
The simple practice of the rosary, so underestimated today, has extraordinary and mysterious power to lead souls through Mary to God; it obtains from Him the mercies that the world needs. Imagine listening to the Virgin reciting the Our Father and Glory Be to the Father with the young girls. Then everything was a prayer of love, of praise, and of petition. But according to what Conchita tells us, when she recited the Ave María with them, it was not only an exercise of prayer, but also an instruction. The girls, like other children and adults too for that matter, had the bad habit of praying in a hurry, with poor pronunciation, almost mechanically. She showed them that one should not talk to God like this. Afterwards when the girls had learned their lesson,(15) the celestial apparition accompanied them only in the recitation of the Gloria.
When we had finished the rosary, she said that she was leaving. And we told her to stay a little while, since she had been there only a very short time. And she laughed, and told us she would return on Monday. Then when she left, it made us sad.
Nothing astonishing about that. In heaven time passes rapidly; while in the darkness of hell, the hours pass slowly in monotonous depression.
When she had gone, the people came to embrace us and ask us what she had said. Some of the people didn't believe since we had talked so much. How could the Virgin talk and listen so much?
Always the habit of applying our feeble conceptions and poor judgment to everything, even to the things of God! To say that the children had talked too much! As if God and the Virgin were such haughty persons that one could only go the Them with great formality and protocol to deal strictly with serious matters and important business.(16)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways My ways. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are My ways exalted above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts. (Is. 55: 8-9)
At that time Jesus answered and said: ‘I praise You, Oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things (the Queen's mysteries) from the wise and the prudent and have revealed them to little ones. (Matt. 11:25)
But the majority did believe, because they said it was like the case of a mother who hadn't seen her daughter for a long time, who tells her everything. And how much more we who have never seen her. Besides, she is our mother in heaven. They took us to the sacristy and a priest named Father Francisco Odriozola(17) questioned us one after the other. And afterwards he told the people what we said to him. That is how the Sunday of July 2nd ended. A very happy day, because we saw the Virgin for the first time. For we are all always with her, whenever we want to be.
There would not be a better conclusion for a main chapter of the new Visitation of Mary.
She is always with us.
And we can be with her, whenever we want to be.
By faith and love, by devotion and imitation. Nothing is more important than that, more important even than the apparitions themselves, which would serve no point if they did not lead us to that end.
Blessed are you who have believed, was said to Mary at the time of the Visitation. (Luke 1:45) We, her children, do her little service if we do not strive to acquire before all other virtues, the first one of faith.
July 2nd, 1961 . . . The Lord's day . . . Sunday. Day of a new Visitation by the Virgin. With the passing of time, it will come about that the Catholic liturgy will repeat in commemoration of July 2nd at Garabandal that which it says each year on
February 11th in Celebrating Lourdes:
Today the glorious Queen of Heaven appeared on the earth. Today she brought to her people words of salvation and tokens of peace.
Today the choirs of angels and the faithful, exulting with joy, celebrate her Immaculate Mystery. (Antiphon from Vespers)
15. During the apparitions one of the things that struck the visitors to Garabandal was the prayer of the girls in ecstasy. They prayed with great cadence in their voices, unhurriedly, with tremendous feeling. Hearing some of these prayers on a tape recorder was—of all the things that I first knew about Garabandal—the thing that most convinced me.
16. From the beginning, one of the strong reasons that certain intellectuals advanced against the supernatural nature of the events of Garabandal was namely this: the quantity and puerility of the conversations that the visionaries held with their invisible interlocutors. Although this may be a very wise point, how can anyone show that the matters of children are of less worth and importance in the eyes of God than the affairs of adults?
17. This priest resides in the city of Santander; sometime later he was named canon of the cathedral. He was to become one of those most involved in the investigation of Garabandal, and his name will always be connected to the history of these amazing events.