Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living the Message of Garabandal here and now.


Conchita s Theology
by Geoff Groesbeck

It isn't the apparitions or prophecies of future events that should concern us. The apparitions are absolutely irrelevant if we do not have -- or ask for --the faith to follow the messages. It is the messages that make all the difference, and which for us to heed and live, require faith.

We assure ourselves by empirical evidence - testing a car's brakes, counting our change, reading the small print - that are we sufficiently secure enough to let faith be our guide. 
As far as our day-to-day world goes, this approach makes a great deal of sense. After all, what if we didn't check the brakes and they 
failed? Or if we neglected to count our change only to discover later we were taken advantage of? Or if we chose not to read the small print and found ourselves liable for something we never imagined would be our responsibility  We do these things to protect ourselves, to limit our losses, and reduce our exposure.

However, where this approach doesn't make sense is where spiritual matters are concerned. Here we are on different ground entirely. Here logic takes a backseat to faith, just as emotions should. When it comes to the eternal, to matters that affect our walk with God, our Christian life, indeed our very salvation, we cannot go on what we think logically makes sense, and more than we can let our feelings guide us. Only faith can do this. We have the words and life of not only Christ Himself, but those of His mother, the apostles, and all the saints as well, forever re
minding us that an entirely different approach is at work in matters of the spirit, one that boils down essentially to those same two words again: trust and self-acceptance.

If putting faith first held true for Thomas in front of the risen Lord, shouldn't it hold true for us as well? And if it holds true where Christ Himself is concerned, shouldn't we apply the same approach to the words of His mother?

This brings us directly to Garabandal, and more specifically, to the crucial difference between wanting to rationally understand the apparitions and prophecies surrounding Garabandal, and having faith in the messages behind Garabandal.


We all want proof that the ap­
paritions are real, and even more so, 
that the prophecies will come to
pass; even better still, in a way and 
within a time frame that makes sense 
to us. This is a natural reaction 
any phenomenon beyond our grasp, 
not just Garabandal. Let's be clear about one thing: no one should feel guilty for wanting to know what really happened forty odd years ago in that tiny Cantabrian hamlet or for wanting to know how things will come to pass.

But time and time again, we seem to lose sight of the most important point of Garabandal: it really isn't the apparitions or prophecies of future events that should concern us. These are interesting but secondary things. Put more bluntly, the apparitions are useless without the messages. In fact, in the larger scheme of things, as hard as it may be to accept this, they do not matter at all.

It is instead the messages that make all the difference, and which for us to heed and live, require faith. The apparitions are absolutely irrelevant if we do not have - or ask for -the faith to follow the messages. Likewise, if we spend our time trying to guess the future, much less conform it to meet our expectations, we are wasting our time and doing exactly the opposite of what the Virgin asks of us.

The Virgin - and the visionaries - have repeatedly stressed, for four decades now, that what is important is that we amend our lives and live good lives in the here and now, not speculate as to what come-next.

And as for these future events, we can no more predict or control 
them than we can what happens tomorrow  Even before the events at Garabandal had (temporally) ended, rumors and speculation were detracting from what all of us should be following with a single-minded determination: the messages. As an example, last year many thought the passing of the late John Paul II portended the ushering in of the prophesied events, although none of the visionaries ever said or implied anything to this effect.

Even if we could somehow successfully see into the future or alter the course of events, would it really make any difference? The Virgin's plea is for us to live good lives, not to wait and see if things will play out according to a certain pattern and then decide what to do. We run a far greater risk in attaching too much importance to the apparitions or guessing the future than we do if we simply follow in faith the words of the Virgin!

A good friend of one of the visionaries, when asked what she felt 
was really at stake where Garabandal is concerned made, the following observation:

"I never really think about the Miracle or any of the prophesied events. That's all going to pass whenever the time comes. I'm much more concerned with living my life today - right now - in accordance with the message, which is what Garabandal is really all about anyway."

As the late Fr. Joseph Pelletier, author of Our Lady Comes to Garabandal. presciently noted only a few years after the apparitions ended:

"The facts of the Garabandal story are absolutely fascinating. In that very fascination lies a danger, namely, that we see only the facts, that all our attention be focused on them. They are not an end to themselves. They are only a means, an instrument, a door to the message which is the purpose, the real reason for the Garabandal event.

Finally, let us consider the significance - and timeliness - of the words of the young visionary Conchita herself, written exactly 41 years ago this very December, and repeated many times since. In a post­script to a letter written to Fr. Jose Maria Alba. S.J.. regarding her final apparition (of 13 November 1965). she felt it important enough to twice underscore the need to focus on the messages above all else:

"There is no point in our believing in the apparitions if we do not heed the Message; in other words, if we do not accomplish what our Holy Mother the Church bids us. As we all know, the Blessed Virgin said here [Garabandal] what she said at Lourdes and at Fatima. She has said nothing new. The Miracle will come so that we may heed the Message. Its purpose also will be to confirm the apparitions of Garabandal. But, if we heed the Message, believing in the apparitions is of no importance."

Let us, while we still can, put aside once and for all, the speculation and guesswork, the fruitless debating and hypothesizing, the unhelpful fascination with things we will never be able to explain or understand on our own, and especially the pointless conjecture and fears regarding the future, and instead focus on what we can do something about, what we already know, and what we are called to do: living the message of Garabandal here and now.

[From GARABANDAL International Magazine January - March 2007]