PRAYER — In the events of Garabandal, prayer has always been the most important thing. Very seldom would there be a vision in which the girls did not recite the rosary or pray a Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The recitation of the rosary is frequently accompanied by song, at least during one decade. The girls are not seen counting the Hail Marys; nevertheless they never made a mistake in counting out the right number. they say that the Virgin advises them when it is time for the Gloria. The Virgin prays with them, it appears, the part that corresponds to the Gloria.(22) If sometimes they make mistakes or do not do it well, the Virgin nods her head a little to call their attention, though she remains smiling.
They ordinarily use the form that they learned from my brother and me: God salute you, Mary! You are full of grace. The Lord is with you. You are blessed among all women.(23) When they recite it singing, they employ another formula, the popular: The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among all women—which is what corresponds to the music. They recite the Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament many times with the ejaculation, Long live Jesus in the Blessed
Sacrament! Also they cross themselves many times; and always do so on their arrival at the church. At times they do this in a hurry, badly, and the Vision corrects them . . . On one occasion it was learned that she corrected them as to the way of placing their fingers in the form of a cross to kiss them on ending the sign of the cross.
The Virgin's style of prayer shows much similarity with Lourdes and Fatima; but in this case, besides the devotion to the rosary, it appears that she wants to bring out the attention that we owe the Blessed Sacrament.»
As he continued, Father Ramón brought out another very remarkable matter that occurred in the early ecstasies at Garabandal:
«I myself have witnessed things that have given me reason to say that the girls spoke foreign languages while in their state of trance. Actually it isn't exactly that, at least not at the time I am writing these lines;(25) the fact is that the girls have spoken words in other languages. I have heard the following . . . (He gives some words in French, in Latin, in German, and the beginning of the Hail Mary in Greek.) The most interesting thing is not that they spoke these words in ecstasy, but that they corrected themselves when they spoke them badly, so as to come to correct diction and pronunciation. They gave the impression that they were hearing the words from someone, one after the other, and that they were simply repeating them.
OUTWARD APPEARANCE of the CONVERSATION —
From the second day of July, the date of the first apparition of the Virgin, the girls held their dialogues in ecstasy in the following ways or positions: on their knees, weaving back and forth, walking, and lying out on the ground. They have held these conversations singly (individual ecstasies), two together, in a group of three, or all four together.(26) When there are several together in ecstasy, everything about them is simultaneous and well synchronized; they speak and ask question at the same time, make the same exclamations of joy, and of fear . . . (27) and this, without there being—this is clearly seen—the slightest dependence of one upon the other. It appears unquestionable that they are corresponding to something that they are seeing and hearing at the same time.(28)
The sound of their voices varies. Sometimes it is almost inaudible, and other times it is heard normally. Ordinarily their speech is very low, something unusual, like a whisper. Their way of expression is the same as they use in ordinary conversations except for rare exceptions. In cases when they hear words whose meaning they do not understand—a frequent occurrence—they ask the vision for an explanation. And the vision either gives them the explanation requested, or—as occurred in the case of the word sacrifices—tells them to question the priests later on.
Toward the end of the trance the girls are frequently heard saying, Don't go away! Oh, don't go away! Thus they express their desire to remain in that state . . .
The words of St. Theresa in this regard are applicable: “The soul dares not move or stir, for it thinks that if it does so, this blessing may slip from its grasp: at times it would like to be unable even to breathe. The poor creature doesn't realize that, having been unable to do anything on its own to acquire that blessing, it will be still less able to keep it longer than the time that the Lord is pleased for it to possess it." (Autobiography of St. Theresa of Avila Ch. 15, Par. 1)
It is interesting also to read article 421 in the Theology of Christian Perfection by Father Royo Marín, who expounds upon the statement that No one can go into contemplation(29) on his own volition. This has been observed many times—in fact always—in the girls of Garabandal, who had to remain waiting, without the ability to hurry up the trance in spite of their desires. (I can name two single exceptions, in which they received a formal order to enter into ecstasy: one from the parish priest, and the other from me.)
Once they had received the third call, the girls were seen to enter, leave, and return to ecstasy without premonition or previous preparation, remaining in the trance with whatever they had in their hands—a flashlight, a glass, a dress, the hand of another girl—and there was no way to make them drop those articles . . . On the contrary at other times they had been prepared, ready, isolated from everyone, waiting for the Vision; and the wait had been in vain.
It was seen that it didn't depend upon them to have the ecstasy that they desired so much and that so drew their interest. From this their answer — full of humble sincerity — to the many questions from the people: Perhaps . . . When she wishes . . . When she says . . . On one occasion this question was put to them: Are you always going to see the Virgin? They answered, Oh! We don't know.»
What was happening in Garabandal did not belong to them. They did not have a right to it, nor did they merit it, nor could they use it at their pleasure . . . They were there simply as instruments, nothing more: instruments in the hands of an exceptional divine action which would show God's fullness of love, beauty, and mercy; but which still would hide its full purpose and end; instruments each day for the extraordinary plan of God. He would know the reason!
In the face of all this that occurred, and in the hope of that which still can come, we conclude with the confident and laudatory thought of the apostle:
Of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How incomprehensible are His judgments,
And how unsearchable His ways! . . .
For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things:
TO HIM BE GLORY FOREVER!
22. According to what we have already learned from Conchita's diary, in the early times when the Virgin prayed the whole rosary with the girls, including the Hail Marys, it was to instruct them to recite the rosary more perfectly. Later she only recited the Gloria.
23. The form of the Hail Mary that the girls learned from Fr. Ramón is what is heard on the tape recordings during the girls' prayers in ecstasy.
24. The reality of this abandonment of prayer and the lack of devotion to the Holy Eucharist is so obvious that it is not necessary to give proofs. The amazing activities at Garabandal could well be an answer from heaven to this unfortunate attitude of many chosen.
25. September of 1961.
26. In the writings of Father Valentín, there is a note corresponding to Sunday, July 23rd, that reads this way: «Since yesterday the Virgin has appeared in distinct and separate places. Today she was at the Pines with Loli and Jacinta; Conchita and Mari Cruz saw her at the village fountain.»
27. In Cangas de Onís (Asturias), during the Holy Week of 1969, I heard from the venerable priest Father Alejo Martino, retired pastor from Corao:
«Sometimes I went up to Garabandal, too. I was present at an ecstasy of two of the girls: two angels in human flesh could not have had finer expressions . . . You would have to see it! And later, how the two made the sign of the cross at the same time in absolute concordance of movements!»
28. As a further illustration, Mr. Miguel González Gay, a lawyer from Santander, gave us this episode:
«Don Tomás, an indiano from Cossío, who owns a popular bar in Santander, recounted that one day, while walking through the Pines in Garabandal, he came upon Mari Cruz by chance — alone — kneeling in ecstasy. He knelt down at her side, trying to hear what she was saying, Dear Virgin, why have you called me so late, since the others have already started the second mystery of the rosary?
"I didn't stay to hear more; with all my might I ran down to the village, and I asked where the other girls were. They told me that the girls were next to the church. In a few steps I was there and I could verify with tremendous amazement that at that exact moment they were finishing the second mystery. How can such a coincidence be explained, if there were not someone who at the same time was in the company of the girl alone at the Pines and the two girls in the village?"»
29. This refers to supernatural contemplation, a higher form of prayer that is studied in courses on mystical theology.