Thursday, February 5, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 27)


Many centuries ago a small yet very beautiful episode took place. It was recorded under the influence of the Holy Spirit, beginning: Arising in those days, Mary went in haste to the mountain. (St. Luke 1: 39) In Mary's life as recorded in the Gospel, this was one of her magnificent moments: the Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth who was soon to give birth to John the Baptist. The feastday and liturgical commemoration of this episode — prior to Vatican II — came each year to all the places where a Catholic Church existed on July 2nd. However, what concerns us now is July 2nd, 1961, when a place in the Catholic Church had more than just a feastday or liturgical commemoration. On July 2nd the little mountain village of San Sebastián de Garabandal would experience a marvelous reoccurrence of Mary's Visitation. With the gesture of a mother who could not wait any longer — her children being in danger — once again she went in haste to the mountain.(1) Why? So that she could live with us and assist us! Just as she had lived and assisted in the town and home of Elizabeth on another occasion. In this modern Visitation, the footsteps of the Pilgrim Virgin(2) were more subtle than in the ancient Visitation; and only angels knew where she was going and that she was coming to see us. The splendor of the light from the all beautiful was to shine brilliantly in the darkness at San Sebastián de Garabandal, where the people could barely earn a living, much less comprehend what an angel would be doing there.
Encounter of Love
It was a festive summer evening, at nightfall. It was the hour to pray Vespers(3) in the secluded convents and monasteries. And as usual the prayer ended with many lips bursting forth in the words that the most holy Voyager from the ancient Visitation had radiated from her inner soul during the exchange of greetings with Elizabeth:

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
For He has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid.
From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed,
For He Who is mighty has done great things to me.
And Holy is His Name.
His mercy is from generation to generation.
To those who fear Him,
He has shown might with His arm.
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And raised up the lowly. (Luke 1: 46-52)

No one was reciting Vespers at that hour in Garabandal, and even if someone would have been reciting them, it would have been impossible for him to comprehend the tremendous significance of the actual thing that was going to happen there. For right at that hour, according to the words of old, in the fullness of time (4) she was coming with haste to the Montaña. It was approaching six in the afternoon — the long afternoon of a July that was just beginning — as a murmur of expectation and curiosity rippled through the village. Some strolled through the streets, some made a visit to the church; all sought to be as near as possible to the children when the hour would come for . . . Who knew what to expect? After a rosary said at three o'clock, the girls had gone down the road toward Cossío to see if one of Conchita's brothers, whom they were expecting, would be coming. They met a large crowd on the way.
1. The province of Santander is commonly called The Mountain (Montaña) by its inhabitants. This name comes from the time when Burgos was by law and by actuality the Caput Castellae (Capital of Castille) in the region of Castille that now corresponds to the province of Santander, which was then called the Montaña of Burgos.

2. Under the beautiful title of The Pilgrim Virgin, the Virgin Mary is honored on July 2nd at Sahagún (Province of León). The church of this city as well as the beautiful statue of the Virgin are some of the rare remains of an ancient Franciscan convent. On July 2nd the statue is carried in procession, dressed in a robe from the court of the Queen of León, Donna Urraca (1077-1116).

3. This is part of the Divine Office or liturgical prayer of the church; the proper time for its recitation is in the afternoon or early evening.

4. Expression of St. Paul in his epistle to the Galatians: But when the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman. (4: 4)