Monday, September 24, 2012

A New Era

Garabandal 
and the 
Synagogue

by the late Francois Turner, O.P. 
Author of the Garabandal Book, "O Children Listen to Me"

After the Warning, the Miracle and the supernatural Pernament Sign, there will be a new beginning, a new era in the history of mankind.

(This talk was given in a barn situated between the village of Garabandal and the pine trees above it, on August 8, 1988, the feast of St. Dominic.)

Reprinted from GARABANDAL International MAGAZINE October - December 2002

In order to understand and assess correctly its portent, certain points of history must be kept in mind.

    Historians consider that the first schism in the history of the People of God was that between the Church of the Gentiles and the Church of the Jews. The schism was caused by the refusal of the Synagogue to accept in its midst those Jews who recognised Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of Israel. Their exclusion was not pronounced directly but through the introduction into the Eighteen Benedictions of a Malediction, which the Christians could not countenance and to which they could not give a solemn "Amen." This was done at the Synod of Jamnia on or about 75 AD.

    For several centuries, this first schism, mother of all other schisms, was not fully effective. In the Roman basilica of Santa Sabina in the early 5th century, portentous figures of the Church of the Gentiles and of the synagogue stand side by side as true sisters.

    But they were drifting apart and worse still, they had, in turn, persecuted each other. And it should be said here, that the persecution of the Synagogue and the Jews has been far longer and more cruel from the time of Constantine to that of the French Revolution, which modified profoundly the situation with the rapid development of secularism and the ungodly anti-Semitism — really antijudaism — we all know about. But already in the 13th century, William Auvergne, bishop of Paris, could say that the barbarism of the Church must make everyone who saw it go rigid with horror; "bride is she no more, but a monster of frightful ugliness and ferocity."

1. The Pillar of Smoke at Garabandal

    It is an established fact that, in 1961 or 1962, Conchita was told by the Blessed Virgin that a senal, a sign, would remain at the Pines:

• that it would remain there para siempre, forever; 
• that it will be possible to photograph and televise it, but not feel it; 
• that it will appear as a thing not of this world, but originating from God; 
• that it will be miraculous, a permanent miracle.
    It is comparable to a pillar of smoke, but also to rays of sunlight, insofar as it can be seen but not touched. 

    It will be made up of an unknown substance.

    The phrase para siempre needs some comment. In 1983, that is 20 years later, Conchita came to think that it meant "until the end of time." This is unlikely: the abstract notion of time is absent from the Bible, even from Rev. 10:6. Para siempre could either be a simplification of haste el fin de los tiempos or have the same meaning often found in the Ancient Testament of "age-lasting," and usually translated to mean "forever." Here is an example among a hundred:

    "Judah shall dwell forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation."

2. The Pillar of Smoke in the Bible

    There are three references to the Pillar of Smoke in the Bible. All the Hebrews who followed Moses out of Egypt saw "the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night" saving them from the Egyptians, giving them the Torah at Mount Sinai, remaining present among His People, serving as their guide "wherever they halted on their journey," "marking out their encampments." It was the Lord who "appeared to them in this pillar of cloud that rose above them at the tabernacle door."

    The mysterious cloud invaded the temple of Solomon. Nehemias celebrated the Lord, "leading thy people on their journey, hidden by day in a pillar of cloud, by night in a pillar of fire, to light the path they must tread."

    The Psalms mention it five times, as guide of God's People, as overcoming the idolaters, as protector, as carrying His word: "His voice came to them from the pillar of cloud; so they heard the decrees, the law he gave them."

    The prophets announced that it would come back "a cloud of smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night." "It shall come to pass that I will pour out my spirit upon everyone... and I will show wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood, fire, and pillar of smoke."

    The luminous cloud will become a choice subject of rabbinic thought and of Christian mystical theology (see Jerusalem Bible. Note on Ex. 13:22). All Jews know about it, many know what this pillar meant; a manifestation of God dwelling among His chosen people, tenting, tabernacling amidst them, guiding them, shedding light upon them, speaking to them. And the other nations know this. It is the Shekinah, the most sacred and mysterious sign of the deity. It stands in the middle of heaven, teaches Rabbi Eliezer.

3. Pillar of Smoke Connected with Garabandal

    How is this Pillar of Smoke connected with Garabandal? Not only was this pillar of smoke announced by Conchita as a permanent miracle above the pines, but it was actually seen by a number of people at Garabandal.

    On November 18, 1961, in the evening, the column of smoke by day, or fire by night, was seen and felt, thanks to the heat it radiated, between the nine pines and the last station of the Way of the Cross build there some 20 years later.

    It was a cold evening. A shepherd, about 20 years old, was coming down the mountain with his sheep. As he went by the pine trees, he noticed a column of smoke above a black round spot some 50cm in diameter. Without bothering to figure out its nature, he moved toward it and warmed himself awhile thanks to its heat, while keeping an eye on his sheep. He went down to Cosio, after crossing Garabandal, without telling anyone about the phenomena, so it seems. His name is Ramon Gonzalez.

    It was also seen from the village for two or three months in that autumn of 1962, as a smoke by day and a gleam by night. The written testimony we have is good.

    It was seen again on November 25, 1962, by four excellent French witnesses. The column was seen at night, clear cut and luminous. Their testimony has been collected and will be published when the proper time comes.

4. And When it is Published How will the Rabbis React?

    And, not only the Rabbis, but also all Jews, who, it seems, have a thorough knowledge of their Scriptures. Their religious life is based upon religious schooling more than anything else. In Israel, whatever their beliefs, all citizens have studied the Hebrew Bible as their only textbook of Hebrew classical literature. They treasure it as such. Whether or not they consider these texts as divinely inspired, they know them. They know that it has been prophetically announced that:

    "your sons and daughters will prophesy.. .I will show wonders"

    "in the heavens and on the earth, blood, fire and pillars of smoke."

    And, thanks to the media, they will know at once that Catholic girls had announced that a pillar of smoke would appear in a Catholic village of Catholic Spain and remain there para siempre.They will all be interested, especially the Sephardim (the "Spanish" Jews). Their interest and attention will be extreme and lasting, because of the Aviso and the great miracle, which would, in a way, inaugurate the permanent miraculous pillar of smoke.

5. St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas

    We are in a time when Ecumenism is very active, but then a certain feeling of disappointment tends to prevail, even among some specialists. The talks are numerous, very serious, and conducted in a good brotherly spirit. But they seem to stall, as if they could not, at least for some time, move into practical conclusions important to warrant so much work, so many protracted meetings and dialogues. Jean Toulat was perhaps right when he said that the way to the door to full unity lies in the healing of the first schism, that between the Church and the Synagogue, or should we say between the Synagogue and the Church.

    This is what St. Bernard and St. Thomas were saying in the 11th and 12th centuries. St. Bernard wrote that the time would come when the Church would side-step to let the Synagogue enter into the fullness of her Redemption: the Synagogue has not, in the eyes of God, lost or forsaken her birthright over her sister the Church.

    St. Thomas Aquinas in his commentary on the Song of Songs taught that the future reintegration of Israel would inaugurate the third Era of the Church. His authority is immense and this view of his opens up grandiose vistas.

    Are these views outdated in our century? Not at all. One can easily quote, not only Jean Toulat, but also Tremontant, Frere Epraim,.. John Paul II, to illustrate one or another of the aspects of "the mystery of the Church and the Synagogue" which we are considering here, but briefly and rudimentarily. The good exegetes admit easily that a certain span of time may elapse between the "admission" of the Synagogue and the glorious coming of Jesus.

PHOTO: In the history of apparitions, it is only in Garabandal 

that the Blessed Virgin identified herself as Jewish, saying that 

even in heaven, she belonged to the Jewish people.   

What we are trying to convey is not merely that there will be an "admission" of "that part of Israel, which hardened itself (Rom 11:15-25). This, we all know, but that it will come as a consequence of what will happen, soon at Garabandal. Soon, because we know through Conchita that prophesied events are close at hand.

    We have given here a good piece of basic, fundamental evidence. It could suffice. But there is also some supporting evidence, which I shall now enumerate.

6. Michael

    The first apparitions of Garabandal were of an angel, from June 18 to July 2,1961, that of Michael the Archangel as forerunner of Mary, and Her messenger to Conchita alone.

    A lot has been written on Michael, and on Michael at Garabandal. We wish to add something directly related to our subject.

    Michael is named three times in the Hebrew Bible, each time as guardian of the people of Israel, or as its "Prince." The kingdoms of Persia and Greece also have their unnamed respective "Princes."

    "Michael the great Prince stands for the children of thy people [of Daniel"] (Dan 10:20, 12:1).

    He will "stand up" in a time "of great trouble, and thanks to him "thy people shall be delivered." His power is great as he is "one of the chief Princes." (Dan 10:13).

PhotoAt the Wailing Wall, the holiest shrine of the Jewish world:

All the Jews who have a thorough knowledge of their Scriptures 

will be interested in the appearance of a pillar of smoke at Garabandal.

    The Church may apply this to itself. But, surely, it is not possible to exclude "those who are Israelites" (see Rom 9:4-5). One should even add that they are the very first to have him as their "Prince."

 

7. Mary's Title at Garabandal

    For the first time in the history of Marian apparitions, as announced by Michael, She appeared under the title which refers to a holy place, one of the three holy mountains of the Ancient People of God, Mount Carmel, the others being Mount Sinai or Horeb, and Mount Zion or Jerusalem.

    Mount Carmel is in the Holy Land, in Israel, the mountain made holy by Elijah the prophet with whom it has a tight and direct connection. It is a mountain, which Mary had often seen from where She lived: Nazareth is the only village from which the whole holy mountain can be clearly seen.

    Moreover, of all religious orders, that of Mount Carmel is by far the closest to Judaism. Elias the prophet is considered by Carmelite Friars and Sisters as their Father, model, and even as their founder. He is feasted by them each year on July 20.

8. Mary's Complexion at Garabandal

    We have a description of the Blesssed Virgin in Conchita's diary. It is vivid and quite detailed. Mary's features and complexion at Garabandal were that of a very beautiful Jewish maiden, with dark, wavy hair, a perfect nose, full lips and a rather dark complexion. In other apparitions, She appeared as a beautiful girl with the features of the other beautiful girls of the country where She would appear.

9. What Did Mary Say of Herself

    Mari-Loli asked Her one day: "Eres Judia?" Are You Jewish?

    ... (an answer was given which was heard by the visionaries. It was obviously "si," as they were heard answering back):

    "como somos Bastianas" - as we are Bastianas (villagers of San Sebastian de Garabandal).

    This did not escape the attention of Father Lucio Rodrigo, S.J. It was the first time, ever, in the history of apparitions that the Blessed Virgin identified Herself as such, saying that even in heaven, She belonged to the Jewish people.

10. The Day of the Four Jewesses

    Yes, there was a day of the four Jewesses at Garabandal. There was Muriel who was not baptised. Her mother being a Jewess, she was also a Jewess, according to the laws of the Synagogue. A sign of her future baptism was given miraculously at Garabandal during an apparition. Chon de Luis has related how all the holy water thrown out of a vial fell upon Muriel after being completely and inexplicably deflected from its natural course.

    The three other Jewesses were Mary, and two others, whom we shall now mention.

11. Believe it or Not: Pilar and Mari Cruz

    Thanks to the late Fr. Laffineur, I know that Pilar, Mari Cruz's mother, was a Pasiega, a native of the valley of Pas, rich and fertile, close from the road from Santander to Burgos. It has been colonized since the end of the 15th century by converseos, Jews who had been converted, either willingly through apostolic missions, or by force through the Spanish Inquisition. They found in this valley a refuge from the harassments or downright persecutions from the Catholics of gentile origin who called them marranos, a very deprecatory term. I remember Pilar telling me that Fr. Laffineur was right and that she was Pasiega. She was thus considered and rightfully so, of Jewish stock, as well as her daughter, Mari Cruz.

    Now Mari Cruz played a leading part concerning the doubts and negations of all four visionaries. While the three eldest retracted their early negations, she, from January 1963 on, kept on denying that she had ever seen the Blessed Virgin, saying so in the village, and in front of the Bishop of Santander who received her on June 24, 1965. At first, the three others followed her, on this way of the negations, but later, in August 1966, their negations were neither coherent nor stable.


"... the way to the door to full unity lies in the healing of the first schism, that between the Church and the Synagogue..."

    Was that not a "failure" or "stumble" similar to the "failure" or "stumble" of the Jews contemporary of St. Paul (see Rom 11:11, these Jews who "did not obey to the Good News" (Rom 10:16)? Was not Mari Cruz's "disobedience" an image of her forefathers' "disobedience?" Not that we are judging anyone, of course. This may seem preposterous to some, but it is backed by a telling episode concerning the young visionary who received a special lesson from Our Lady on August 8, 1961. When the four visionaries reached the church in ecstasy, they stopped seeing the Virgin Mary, except for Mari Cruz who remained in ecstasy and followed Our Lady into the church, where She taught her to say the Creed very slowly. Would it not be that she had a special need to say the Creed, and to say it well? Would it not be as a representative of her ancestors? Moreover, don't the Scriptures often teach us in parabolic, symbolic actions?

12. El Fin de los Tiempos - (The End of Our Epoch)

    Conchita announced prophetically that, after John XXIII, there would be only three more popes before el fin de los tiempos, the end of our epoch.

    Let us first recall to mind that scriptural and God-inspired prophecies are not normally well understood before their accomplishment. But in some cases, it can be of some interest to present hypothetical explanations. Here is one:

    If we admit that the great miracle of Garabandal will occur during the present pontificate (and how could it be otherwise if Garabandal is genuine)?

    If we admit that the permanent miraculous presence of a column of smoke by day, of light by night will, to say the least, draw the attention of very many Jews, then there is no way to escape the conclusion that this will usher in a new epoch in the history of the Church: that of the healing of the first schism and the great reconciliation between the Church and the Synagogue, albeit not necessarily at once, not magically, but, nevertheless, a great reconciliation.

    And thus, this surprising phrase el fin de los Tiempos makes sense, especially if we compare it to our quotations of St. Bernard and Saint Thomas.

13. The Eighteen Benedictions 
    The important events of Garabandal, more often than not, are dated on the 18th of the month: 18th June, 18* October, 18th November 1961, 18th June, 18th July 1962, 18th July 1965. Would this be nothing but a fortuitous, multiple coincidence? The answer is negative for two reasons, a reason of commonsense and a reason of theology. The first is that when an event or a peculiar conjunction of events has a minute chance to occur, reason looks for an adequate cause of its occurrence. To conjure up hazard or chance, is unsatisfactory. The second is that God, who is at work at Garabandal, always acts with "measure, number and weight" (Wisd 11:20). This pertains to the theology of the kairoi, on a point, which can well be considered as minor, but nevertheless is worth considering: it is real and precise.

    Another question related to that point is what would then be the divine intention in that choice. An Englishman has explained why Our Lady appeared six times on the 13th at Fatima: it is related to the six mentions of the month of Adar in the Book of Esther, figure of Our Lady. Why then did the Angel or Our Lady, or the Column of Smoke, often appear on the 18th of the month at Garabandal? The daily liturgical prayer of the Synagogue is made up of two parts, the first being the Shema Israel, the other the Shemone-Esre, the Eighteen Benedictions, composed long before the time of Jesus, and of which Jesus and Mary have sung together.

    By choosing the 18th of June, July, October and November to manifest himself through Michael, angel of the Synagogue (4 times). Mary the Jewess (twice), messages (twice), a column of smoke and light (once), a miracle (once), the Lord God has let His chosen and beloved people know that the Eighteen Benedictions sung three times a day for over two thousand years had been heard, received, and that its twelve demands would be fulfilled. The other benedictions are three prayers of praise, which come before and three prayers of thanksgivings, which come afterwards.

Conclusion

    Let us praise the Lord, let us sing hosannah, and now let me quote from Romans 11: 28-36.

    "In the spreading of the Gospel, the Jews are treated as God's enemies for your sake; but God's choice stands, and they are his friends for the sake of the patriarchs. For the gracious gifts of God and his calling are irrevocable. Just as formerly you were disobedient to God, but now have received mercy in the time of disobedience, so now, when you receive mercy, you have proved disobedient, but only in order that you too may receive mercy. For in making all mankind prisoners to disobedience, God's purpose was to show mercy to all mankind.

    "O depth of wealth, wisdom, and knowledge in God! How unsearchable his judgments, how untraceable his ways! Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counsellor?

    "Who has ever made a gift to him, to receive a gift in return? Source, Guide and Goal of all that is - to him be glory forever! Amen."

    This conclusive prayer is all the more topical and proper that it comes as the last part of the conclusion of the Epistle to the Romans, which deals entirely, except chapters 14 and 15, with the mystery of the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles, and of its linkage in God's plans.

    It would seem to me that Garabandal confirms this, and furthermore, it confirms that after the Warning, the Miracle and the supernatural Permanent Sign, there will be a new beginning, a new era in the history of mankind.

Reprinted from GARABANDAL International October - December 2002 
by the late Francois Turner, O.P. 
Author of the Garabandal Book, "O Children Listen to Me"