Monday, October 3, 2011

Memoirs of a Spanish Country Priest (Chapter XIV)


CHAPTER XIV

The Signs Requested Are Granted

Many persons, interiorly, mentally, asked God for proof of the authenticity of the apparitions of Our Lady of Garabandal. Answers were given to them by the visionaries during or after the ecstasies.
In August of 1962, I was spending some days at the village. One night, while leaving the church after the Rosary, I learned that Jacinta was already in ecstasy and walking through the village. I would have, I should have joined her. Instead of that, I accompanied her mother María to her home for . . . dinner. We were eating when the door opened.
— “Jacinta is coming to present for the Virgin’s kiss the articles which were put on the little table in her room.”
“Hurry, María,” I said, “Clean off the table so that no one sees that I’m busy eating.” And my plate quickly disappeared into the child’s room.
Just in time, for she entered the kitchen in ecstasy. She fell on her knees in front of me, placed the crucifix on my lips, went into her room, presented for the Virgin’s kiss everything that she had made ready, and still in ecstasy, returned to the village.
Needless to say, I was not especially proud of myself.
After eating, I said goodbye to Maria and her guests so as to go to the house of Maximina, Conchita’s aunt and godmother, where I had to sleep.
There was a seminarian there, I think from Bilbao.
— “Do you know,” I asked him, “If one of the girls will have an apparition during the night?”
— “Yes, Loli predicted that the Virgin would come at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
It would not be hard to imagine my secret chagrin in thinking that the Virgin could have held me accountable for not having followed the apparition after the Rosary, especially Jacinta’s. Then I rebuked myself mentally, saying to myself: “I will go to the one this morning with Loli; that will serve as a sacrifice.” Before going to sleep, I pleaded fervently to Our Lady:
— “Would you give me a sign that you are not angry with me?”
I lay down and slept like a log. 

Without wishing to excuse myself, the stay at Garabandal had exhausted me tremendously. It was necessary to go down to Cosío to say Mass, climb back up to the village each morning. Then I would find out the place where the girls were and I would rejoin them in order to participate in the labors in the fields. This had little similarity to my usual parish work at Barro.
***
In spite of my deep sleep, I heard someone running to the house where I was sleeping. It was Nandín, Loli’s brother. He banged on the door, shouting.
— “Maximina, Maximina! Open up quickly. Loli is coming!`”
I turned on the light. I sat up in my bed and looked at my watch.
— “A quarter to four. What a shame. Loli is in ecstasy about an hour and I … I’m sleeping!”
At that moment, someone knocked on the door of my room. I pulled back the blanket and answered, “Come in.”
With a hard shove, the door opened with a bang, and Loli in ecstasy was there in the doorway.
The floor of my room was lower than that of the hallway by about 15 centimeters (6 inches). From the doorway, Loli fell down on her knees into the room. Even with the hard fall, she did not lose her balance. Still on her knees, I saw her go toward the wall facing my bed, under a large picture of Maximina and her husband, dead for several years. There she knelt. I didn’t understand it, for I was still unaware that the visionaries, on entering a house, did what I was just seeing — they prayed for the departed of the household.
That done, Loli turned around, still on her knees, came up to my bed. With the crucifix that she held in her hand, she made a Sign of the Cross on the pillow and gave it to me to kiss…and she smiled. Making a half turn and still on her knees, she went back to the door. Finally, coming to the doorway, she got up and went out of the room.
***
Coming to myself, I thought:
— “Here the Virgin is visiting the children and I . . . I’m in bed!”
Jumping up, I got out of bed, got dressed and went out in a hurry in the direction of the church — not without stopping at the home of Loli, whom I saw still in ecstasy, this time in her kitchen.
An incredible thing. She was talking to the Virgin about exactly what had happened that evening at Jacinta’s house, what Jacinta had told her between the two ecstasies. Then I heard her say to the Vision, who must have told her about my arrival.
— “He is here. Oh then that’s too much! Don’t leave here before him. I am so ashamed that he heard what I was saying about him.”
For some time, she continued on the same subject, discussing it with the Virgin. Then she made the sign of the cross; the apparition was ended.
Loli then looked at me, very ashamed of herself, her face blushed; she lowered her head.
— “See here Loli, look at me. You don’t have to blush for having told our Lady what happened yesterday during Jacinta’s ecstasy.”
— “You’re not going to scold me?”
— “Of course not.”
— “Thank you.”
***
I did not immediately understand that the prayer I said in Maximina’s room had been generously heard, for the girl was immediately questioned.
— “Why didn’t the Virgin come at the hour set by her; we noticed a 45-minute delay.”
— “Because she wished to show this way her displeasure with remarks of some women who ridiculed the apparitions last night. She was angry because, before the ecstasy, they asked me if she painted her nails, if she wore a necklace, a bracelet, etc…”
On the following day, Ceferino, took me aside:
— “Yesterday morning, Father, as soon as she went into ecstasy, Loli went immediately — running — to Maximina’s house where you were sleeping.”
Finally, I saw the light. My confident prayer and my repentance had been heard; I had received the sign requested with trust.
Before ending this chapter, I want to add that the same thing happened another time at Maximina’s house again at 10 minutes before 4 o’clock in the morning.