Monday, January 12, 2009

THE WARNING: GARABANDAL


Garabandal: 1961

Lucy of Fatima has testified that Our Lady appeared to her a "seventh time" at the Cova
da Iria, where the sun had whirled in the sky. Our Lady of the Rosary was fulfilling a promise she had made to her during the apparitions of 1917, when there were the three of them, Lucy, Francisco, and Jacinta. But now the latter two had gone "to heaven," as the Lady had promised they would, and Lucy was leaving Fatima for school and a new life. She visited each of the sacred places where they had met their heavenly visitors, the Angel of Peace and Our Lady. It was night, and that very morning, before the sun rose, she would leave Fatima for good. When she at last reached the "Cova" Our Lady kept her promise. Lucy saw her there a seventh time. It was June 18th, 1921.

Forty years later to the very day, on the evening of June 18th, 1961, the apparitions of Garabandal began. As at Fatima and Paris, an angel prepared the way. In this case he identified himself as Saint Michael the Archangel. Soon Our Lady of Mount Carmel arrived, on July 2nd, the Feast of the Visitation.

It was time to remind us of the message again. After forty years of tumult in history and
in the life of the Church, Fatima was failing to keep the interest of the new generation. Our Lady of Mount Carmel repeats herself with dramatic intensity in a little village in the hill country of Spain. She calls these "the last warnings," and foretells catastrophe if, in this, the final hour, the world still refuses to listen.

The Garabandal apparitions continued for four years in a great profusion of phenomena never seen before in previous visitations she had made. At last the visions became less frequent, until they ceased in 1965. A final message was given in that year to the world, again on that mysterious date, June 18th. Some estimate that during those years there were about 2000 meetings between Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the four young seers: Conchita, Loli, Jacinta, and Mary Cruz. The Lady was very beautiful, according to their reports, and quite motherly, kissing the children on each occasion that she visited them, especially whenever she bid them goodbye. She taught them to pray, guiding them in the recitation of the Rosary, chided them about their conduct, chatted, and played with them
as a mother with her young children, and she even allowed them to play with the Infant Jesus, whom she frequently carried with her. She affirmed in various ways those doctrines and devotions that would shortly come under attack or be abandoned, such as the devotion to herself that had long been traditional, love for the Eucharist and visits to the Blessed Sacrament, the importance of prayer, the validity and power of blessings, particularly of religious articles, which she kissed and gave back to their owners to take home. She also stressed the importance of frequent, even daily reception of Holy Communion, the power and dignity of priests and the Mass, the necessity of obedience to Church authority (emphasized as a key point), and belief in and reliance on the ministry of angels and saints. Above all, she repeated the injunction to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, especially in confession. She recommended we perform much penance, and
make many sacrifices. She said we should sacrifice ourselves more. She warned of
punishment to come, worse than any that had yet been experienced, if we did not amend our lives.

Many all over the world received the faith to believe in the visions and the message of Garabandal, and sincerely reformed their lives. The religious articles carried from town to town after having been "kissed" by the vision wrought healings and conversions.

For those who felt Our Lady's kiss touch them in the power of her love, the reality of the appearances and the importance of the message have never been in doubt.

But Our Lady of Mount Carmel had also revealed that confusion would assail the

Church, and that "in the end, few would believe." This statement of hers seems to have been amply fulfilled at the time we are writing this book (1982). It appears that all the visitations and the messages of Mary have been practically forgotten or are ignored by most Catholics, including the clergy. Until The Warning stuck us, confronting us relentlessly with the truth of her words, we seem to have put them all aside as past and pointless history.

The Warning pulls the veil of Satan's deception away from our eyes. God now demands that we listen. Up to now we have not chosen to do so, especially when Mary has called on us to change our lives. The Warning is God's mercy to us, showing us that we must change, we must repent, we must listen --- or we perish.

The finality of the Garabandal series of apparitions is underlined by her words to the
visionaries, "You are now in the last warnings!" Garabandal recapitulates all the previous Marian apparitions as it focuses in on the "end of the times." Her self-designation there as Our Lady of Mount Carmel digs back into history over 730 years to her meeting with Saint Simon Stock. She gave him the Brown Scapular, since then a traditional symbol associating salvation with her protection. Guadalupe (Mexico: 1531) presents her as the one who crushes the serpent's head. Her intercession releases grace for world conversion. The Miraculous Medal given in 1830 depicts her as "Mary, conceived without sin," and
again recommends seeking graces from her intercession in order to battle the sinful times we were then entering. LaSalette in 1846, Lourdes in 1858, Fatima in 1917 each explicitly identify sin as the source of the "troubles" the Virgin predicted to Saint Catherine Laboure would afflict the "whole world." When she begins to appear again at Garabandal, she reminds us of all the lessons she taught in foregoing ages, and then applies them precisely to current evils soon to infect the Church's life. The high point of these encounters at the tiny mountain village of Garabandal is a mid-night rendezvous in 1962 between Conchita and the Archangel Michael, who gives her Holy Communion in the street, in pitch darkness. It is July 18th, 1962, the very anniversary of Saint Catherine
Laboure's first visit with the Blessed Virgin in 1830. The Eucharist is visible on her
extended tongue and luminous, so that the bystanders, huddled around her in the dark, can see the miraculous host. Again Mary reiterates the teaching that the Eucharist is the light that conquers the darkness engulfing the world, repeating what had been indicated to Saint Catherine Laboure, brought to the altar in the brightly illuminated chapel at midnight.

[To be continued . . .]