Thursday, August 14, 2014

Memoirs of a Spanish Country Priest (Chapter XVIII)


Feigned Ecstasies
It appears to me that what might be called the “faked ecstasies” deserves a special chapter.
Conchita mentions these ‘ecstasies’ in her diary and it is good to cite extensively what she wrote:
At times the three of us wanted to be together. As our parents didn’t allow us to be out of the house at night, sometimes when we went outside after the rosary — having already had two calls — we looked upwards as if we were seeing the Virgin.
And so we went together down the street with our parents and the people. And later, the Virgin came and we were together. We always ended up seeing the Virgin.
We never faked the entire ecstasy.

We are coming to a definite fact that I would like to point out.
We are in 1961 when I think no one would have suspected such actions. One day, I remember it well, I was in a state of consternation. I had the impression that Jacinta and Loli had pretended to be in ecstasy — during a part at least — although during the day the other ecstasies had been real.
Here is how I became aware of this. While the children were running very fast, a youth with a good sense of humor, through his jokes was making everyone laugh, including the visionaries!
I noticed another unusual thing. He and I sometimes were talking in a loud voice. If he said, “They should turn to the right.” And I advised them to turn to the left, the girls would always listen to my advice. My companion was amazed. He could not have been aware of how I was hurt by what I was observing. He even said to me, “How did you guess that?” I wanted to say to him, “If you would pay more attention, you would understand.” But I kept quiet, waiting for the right time to come.
It did not take long.
This “ecstasy” finished, the two visionaries and I were at Mari Cruz’ home.
She was sitting on her bed with a cold. Her mother Pilar was at the foot of the bed. Loli and Jacinta were sitting on the bed; Jacinta on my left, Loli on my right. Taking a place in front of them and looking into their eyes, when they least expected it, I told them point blank:
— “Today you faked the last ecstasy!”
Instantly becoming red as a beet, hiding her face in her hands, her elbows on her knees, Loli exclaimed:
— “Oh! What a thing!”
Jacinta started crying:
— “I’m going to tell my mama that you don’t believe that we are seeing the Virgin.”
“It isn’t that,” I said to them. “Yes, I believe that you are seeing the Virgin; but right now you have pretended to be in ecstasy . . . Because of your age, that doesn’t have too much importance, since you aren’t aware of the harm that you can cause.
“But suppose that some day a theologian or an important doctor would come here to study the events. And if he would see you — as I have just seen you — pretending an ecstasy, and if he could not come to see you later, no one could affirm that there were real ecstasies here, for a person could not be convinced of the opposite of what he would have seen with his eyes!
“I could have been fooled today, but I don’t think so. I know this time you have been faking. And it is not necessary to be a fox to recognize it.”
Mari Cruz’ mother also scolded them for their conduct and quickly left her daughter’s room.
Three months later I was with Loli and I knew that during the interval one could sometimes still recognize one or another simulation.
— “Then, Loli, have you been faking with Jacinta?”
— “Do you know what Jacinta said when you left Mari Cruz’ house?”
— “No.”
— “What a rascal! How he caught us!”
I mentioned at the start of the chapter that Conchita informed us about the faked ecstasies in her diary.
She gave me other reasons or explanations on this subject; here are some of them:
— “During one of the pretended ecstasies, God punished me. While coming down from the Pines, I had a terrible fall. I thought I was going to die of pain. I don’t think I could have suffered more by dying. I hid the pain and no one noticed it. After that fall the Virgin came for real. I was really fallen into ecstasy.”
— “Father, we only pretended an ecstasy before persons we knew and residents of the village.”
— “We only did it if we knew for certain that the Virgin was going to come later.”
— “We only did it a half hour before the apparition. The Virgin would punish us by coming later than the hour set, and she would always reproach us severely for our conduct.”
— “She knew that if we sometimes pretended, it was because of the irresistible desire we had for the joy of seeing her.”