He Came Unto His
Own, But His Own
Received Him Not.
I would like to use those inspired words to caption Mary's coming among us at Garabandal.(1)
Although in His times Jesus came for all men and all nations, His coming was first of all to the people of His own country Israel. And how did that country, the first called and chosen, react to the coming of Emmanuel?(2) Some heard and accepted Him gladly; but others—the ruling classes in general, the priests and scribes—were obstinate in their hard-headed rejection. The first He filled with good things, As many as received Him, He gave power to be made sons of God. (John 1: 12) The others he abandoned to their emptiness and misery of soul, You
shall die in your sin . . . (John 8: 24) Here is a mystery in that He came unto His own, but His own received Him not.
As described in the last chapter, during the month of July, 1961, the extraordinary became a daily fact of life for the people secluded in those faraway reaches of the savage Cantabrian Mountain Range.
With the daily lavishing of exceptional graces, the Virgin—according to the words of her Magnificat— was filling whomever received her with good things, making them experience beyond others the marvel of being sons of God and her sons. She acted openly as a mother and teacher; but her actions did not extend to everyone in the same way. She instructed the multitude more in an indirect way, through phenomena that the people could not explain, but in the presence of which they felt a holy reverence. Through these phenomena many entered into living communion with a higher world that until then had but slight importance in their lives. However, to the four chosen girls she gave direct lessons almost every day, and frequently several times a day. Why only to them?
Had they merited more than others? Whoever asks this question I invite to question deeper. Why did Jesus choose only twelve apostles from the many who had been demonstrating themselves as fervent disciples? And why only to those twelve whose names we know today? The evangelist answers, And going up unto a mountain, He called unto Himself whomever He would, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them to preach. (Mark 3: 13-14) Whomever He would!
We do not know if they were worth more or if they merited more. It should never be forgotten that No flesh should glory in His sight, (Cor. 1: 29) but that everyone should say to himself, For who distinguished you? What have you that has not been received? And if you have received, why do you glory as if you have not received it? (Cor. 1: 7) But that all might know well then that it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. (Rom. 9: 16)
It would have been very inspiring and enjoyable to have heard first hand the lessons that the Heavenly Mother and Teacher began to give to her four privileged girls and disciples during the summer of 1961. However, as the girls were not capable of explaining these lessons, we will have to limit ourselves to presenting what others were able to capture indirectly and then transmit in testimony. (There are not many accounts concerning the month of July, 1961 that we are now describing.)(3)
As an example of what was happening almost every day in Garabandal, here is what occurred on July 16th. This was the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, elaborately celebrated throughout Spain,(4) which in that year fell on a Sunday.
I personally received the account from Andrés Otero Lorenzo from Santiago; he was both a witness and a participant in what he described.
On that July 16th, in the early hours of the afternoon, Mr. Lorenzo came by car to Garabandal together with Mrs. Zubiría and Carmen Herrero y Garralda, youngest daughter of the Marquese de Aledo.(5) They had left Ribadesella(6) several hours before and were arriving for the first time in Garabandal.
Like so many other strangers they soon came upon the home and café of Ceferino Mazón and began to ask questions. However, no one could say for sure that there would be an apparition that night. Loli, who was doing housework, soon appeared, and they learned from her that there would be an apparition—obviously she had already had a call. However, she was not able to tell at what time it would be.
Then they went out to stroll around and learn about the quaint and unusual town. They stopped at Conchita's house and had a talk with her. She confirmed what Loli had said. Yes, they were waiting for something, but much later. From the church tower the bells then began to ring out the first calls for the rosary in the church.(7)
The three travelers went out into the street again and made their way toward the church, strolling leisurely. They had not yet arrived at the plaza when they saw Conchita passing them swiftly, looking upwards as if transported. Mr. Otero, a strong man in his thirties, ran after her, attempting to stay at her side in order to observe her to his satisfaction.
«I was impressed by her face,»—he told me—«her total appearance. I had never seen anything like it before, nor have I seen anything like it since.(8) The face turned completely upwards with a most beautiful expression; the lips partially open—I don't know whether for praying or for speaking, or for both — the hands joined in front of her chest moving the beads of a rosary between the fingers. And then her walk! It was really unique in its grace and lightness; she appeared to take normal steps, yet one had almost to run in order not to be left behind.»
1. It will be readily understood by an intelligent reader that I am not attempting to put the coming of the Son of God into the world and the coming of the Virgin at Garabandal on the same plane. These two comings cannot be compared either in their physical or their spiritual reality, or in their meaning or in their relationship to the faith. The comparison given is only meant for illustration.
2. A Hebrew word signifying God with us.
3. Furthermore, in her diary, Conchita skips over almost all these dates in July.
4. Apart from devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel per se, among the reasons for this are the large number of women in Spain who are named María del Carmen, and the fact that Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the patroness of sailors.
5. Mr. Otero was at that time chauffeur to the Marquesa. The car that he took that day to Garabandal was a utility vehicle of Mrs. Zubiría that was better suited for the rugged ascent to the village.
6. A beautiful village in Asturias, very popular as a summer resort.
7. It was customary to recite the rosary at nightfall.
8. Meaning away from Garabandal, of course; since this man later made more visits to the village and viewed many of the girls' ecstasies that always left him amazed.