Since we hadn't seen anything on June 19th, they thought that he wouldn't appear to us again.
But they didn't know what had happened to us during the night — what we hadn't told anyone.
While going to school Conchita learned that during the night her three companions had received the same assurance as she, You will see me again. And so they were full of secret joy and predisposed to face the various incidents of the day.
The day passed like all the others, without anything worthy of special mention, until the midafternoon hour came when the children, having left the classroom, asked for their lunches.(11) The four visionaries, besides asking for their lunches, also asked with much more insistence for a special permission—to go together to pray in the Calleja.
But they ran into difficulties.
My mother, and also the parents, brothers, and sisters of the other girls were worried.
They had a very great conflict, for if they leaned to what was true, they also thought the opposite.
And there was above all the burden of human respect, the fear of being ridiculous that is so constraining in the small towns.
At first Aniceta showed herself completely intractable.
If you want to pray, go to the church; the calleja isn't the place.
Conchita implored, but without result. Fortunately Loli, Jacinta, and Mari Cruz then arrived, and they had already obtained permission to go.
—Please, Señora. Let Conchita go. Let her go!
—But why do you want to go make fools of yourselves?
—We aren't going to make fools of ourselves! We are going to pray, and to see if the Angel comes!
—No. Conchita isn't going. You can go if you want.
They left, but very slowly, until they no longer could be seen because of a wall in the way.
I remained, very sad.
My mother suddenly changed her mind, and with a loud voice called: Loli. Tell the other girls to come here.
Soon they arrived, and my mother said to them, If you do what I tell you, I'll let Conchita go.
A simple strategy had occurred to Aniceta to protect herself from insult and ridicule in case things did not come out as the girls expected:
You three go alone now, as if you were going to play there, without saying anything to anyone.
And when you arrive at the calleja, Conchita will go secretly, so that no one will notice.
Loli, Jacinta, and Mari Cruz were not very convinced, afraid that Aniceta was not speaking seriously. But they began to walk . . . slower and slower. Conchita had to reassure them that she would come. And a little later she did come. She found them complaining about her being late. But their displeasure soon passed and the four, very happy, knelt down on the rocks of the calleja and began to recite the rosary. Very hopeful in the beginning, their anxiety increased as the beads passed through their fingers.
When they had finished, the Angel had not come.(12)
We decided to go to the church.
And when we got up, since we were on our knees, we saw a very brilliant light surrounding the four of us.
We saw nothing else except the light.
And we screamed with fear.
The light, though blinding, did not blind them; but it encircled them resplendently, isolated them from everything, and blacked out the road. From this came a sensation of constriction —fear— that left them lost and floating in mystery, adrift in something completely unknown that they could not comprehend.(13)
The second day, Monday the 19th, they were made to pass through the experience of, It is not he who wishes or he who runs. (Romans 9: 16) That is to say, it did not depend mainly on themselves whether or not this series of miraculous contacts with the Infinite Unknown would occur. Everything depended on Him Who is high above all things. At the same time, so that they wouldn't fall into anxious dejection, He gave them a pledge that what they had seen on the previous evening was something very real — with a reason and a meaning — and that it was only the beginning of something more.
From this they were specially prepared for the third day, June 20th, with the phenomenon of the blinding light surrounding them, blacking out the road and isolating them from everything. Their spirit and eyes had to be made ready to pass with a form of natural agility from the dull world of day to day living to a higher world of wonders flooded with brilliance. In this world of light they would have to encounter —alone— elements extremely far above all those things that made up their daily existence.
For this, even the calleja —the path previously seen by the four village girls — would be blocked out by the mystery of the light, revealing a new destiny, at the time well hidden in the secret designs of God. So the children's startled reaction of fear can be understood — and their screams, which seem to be an unconscious pathetic call for help and explanation. It is never painless to be brusquely taken away from one's normal way of living.
11. The lunches taken in the afternoon almost always consisted of bread and something to go with it. The children did not ordinarily stay home to eat. They came home, asked for lunch, got it, and went back to eat with their schoolmates.
12. In Conchita’s diary the Angel is always written in capitals, so as to make it understood that she is discussing a very important and distinguished angel.
13. Prudencio González was one of the residents of the village who did not take the four girls’ story seriously. She laughed at the foolishness that the people were talking so much about. But that evening she was coming down the calleja with a herd of sheep, and suddenly coming out of the shadows, she had before her eyes the group of four young girls completely alone and outside of themselves. The scene impressed her. Her sheep were going toward the village, closing off her path between the rocks that formed the sides of the calleja. As well as she could, she slid carefully between two of the girls. She had to lean on one of the girl’s shoulders and her impression —as she admitted later—was tremendous, as if she were touching a mystery. The shoulder did not seem to be soft warm flesh, but rather something rigid and cold, trembling.