Friday, August 8, 2014

Memoirs of a Spanish Country Priest (Chapter XVI)


The Priests and the Visionaries

I have noticed and can testify that the girls had a great respect and actual admiration for the priesthood.
Generally, when they were in ecstasy in the houses, they knelt in front of the priests in order to hold the holy crucifix to their lips.
Sometimes they carried this politeness even further.
It was on July 3, 1962 . . .
After the recitation of the rosary, the four young girls were together in ecstasy. We went up to the Pines and made some walks around them. This was done in total darkness, by flashlight. Now I have poor vision. At the time of coming back down again to the village, I stayed behind the last person in order to walk undisturbed, clinging to the stones and high bushes. I was not concerned that the girls and their numerous following were getting far away from me. Certainly I would not be the first one down, but I knew that I would finish by actually arriving there.
Abruptly, the entire procession stopped, permitting me to rejoin it. Then it started up again, going away from me again. It stopped. I came up to it a second time. Soon the procedure began again and there was a third stop.
As I was rejoining the group, I saw people coming toward me. Thinking that the four visionaries were going up again to the Pines, I stepped aside to let them pass.
Not at all. The visionaries were coming to find me . . .
— “Father,” Ceferino said to me then, “They want you to kiss the crucifix.”
I heard a woman who confirmed this, since she had heard these things well:
— “Oh, the girls are waiting for a priest . . . ”
The girls never failed to show an attitude of respect, reverence, politeness, and preference for the priesthood.
Even more, one or another priest was at times heard by the girls during an ecstasy.
Ordinarily, in similar cases, the girls did not speak with persons around them. The girls did not hear the people speaking to them. They only heard their companions and only spoke with them, even if these were not in ecstasy. The latter were given the task of speaking to the girls in ecstasy if that was necessary or useful to the spectators.
Nevertheless, on several occasions, the girls responded directly to the questions and thoughts of Father Valentín. And this happened once to me.
It was in Conchita’s kitchen, on the day of the episode with Loli’s crucifix. Loli in ecstasy in the kitchen, went to the window to present the cross to be kissed. As she passed in front of me, I said to her,
— “And not to me?”
Lightening struck. Since she could not have appeared more amazed. She turned around swiftly, laughed loudly, And answered my request.
The visionaries obeyed the priests willingly and directly. Better than that, while smiling.
I was at Jacinta’s house. Loli and her sister, Amaliuca, had returned an envelope to me containing 2 postcards that I did not have the time to look at. I knew only that they had been dedicated and I intended to have them kissed by the Virgin . . . to have a relic.
Mari Cruz was at my side in the normal state. I used the opportunity to send her to meet Jacinta, who was in the village in ecstasy;
— “Tell her that she should come home to present my holy cards for the Virgin’s kiss.”
Jacinta did not wait. She came into the kitchen, fell on her knees, made her way toward me, still on her knees. She gave me her crucifix to kiss. She got up, took one of the two cards in her hand, raised it up high, as the visionaries had the custom of doing when they held some object to the Virgin’s lips. I saw her drop her arm. She raised it up again, dropped it down again, and for a third time made the same gesture.
— “She doesn’t kiss this one,” she whispered.
She offered the second and the Virgin kissed it.
Surprised by this, I finally looked at the two cards and understood immediately. The first, (this may have belonged to Loli’s sister Amaliuca) was not religious, while the other one was a picture of St. Pascal Baylon. I gave these two cards to Father Morelos, a Mexican priest, so that he would have the joy of possessing at least a souvenir from the Virgin of Garabandal.