Much of what she has done still remains a mystery. It is as if the spirit, like the wind, breathes where He wills; you hear His voice, but you know not from where He comes, nor where He goes (John 3: 8) Things of God always proceed like this. There is never a sudden complete unveiling. If there were, men—who are always immature and dull of heart—would probably not be able to endure or comprehend it. The style of God toward His creatures is to act in a gradual way, through stages, according to a rhythm that He alone knows—and which so many times we do not understand—without hurry, but without pause.
The most immediate effects of the presence and actions of the Virgin could be seen above all in the children's way of thinking and acting. There was no denying that their way of thinking and acting had changed.
Father Ramón María Andreu in his much quoted report, as fruit of personal observation and direct experience, wrote:
«From the beginning of the visions, up until August 25th—some two months—there were various counsels and recommendations received by the children. The order in which they are placed here probably does not correspond exactly to the chronology, but it is not possible for me to name the dates precisely, and furthermore, many of the counsels were repeatedly frequently.
1. At first the girls avoided the public that came up to see them. We ran away. The Virgin told them that they should not run away, and that if they were asked a question, they should respond to the things that they knew and could talk about. After that, they did not hide from the people.(14)
2. Another counsel, often repeated, was that they should be modest.(15) They interpreted this in the sense that they should not be vain, that they should dress with simplicity, and that they should show attitudes of modesty and humility.
3. Probably even more often they had repeated to them the counsel to be obedient.(16)
4. And also that they make sacrifices. They did not understand the meaning of this word. At the request of the Virgin, they questioned priests about it.(17) I myself had to give them explanations.
5. The Virgin inspired in them a horror of sin.(18) One time while alone in ecstasy Conchita said, And that, what is that? Oh! The sight of sinners. How ugly! Take me away from it! Yes, I don't want to see it. No! (crying) Another time? The sight of sinners? Ah, yes! Sacrifices! On another occasion, Loli was in an ecstatic position for about twenty-five minutes without saying anything. Finally, she said, Mercy, mercy! while tears ran down her cheeks.
6. With regard to piety, the girls were requested to pray often, especially the rosary and the Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Each day, besides the rosary that they said in the village, they recited others with the vision.(19)
The Virgin also taught them religious songs. And she corrected them when they performed defectively any religious practice, like making the Sign of the Cross, the recitation of the new form of the Act of Contrition, etc . . .
7. Formation of conscience. Frequently the girls were heard asking questions while in a state of trance. Here are some of these questions:
—To sing the song ‘Esperanza,'(20) is that a sin?
—To say "I don't want to eat," is that a sin?
—For women to smoke, is that a sin?
8. Significant actions: One day a woman wanted to have her picture taken with one of the visionaries, but the girl walked away from her saying, The Virgin doesn't want us to take pictures with those who wear low-cut dresses.
9. Attention is called to the simple and confident way that the girls had with the Virgin; certainly they had learned this from her.
14. Since the Virgin was not coming for them alone, they knew they had to reveal these things to others, telling them what was able to be told. Although many people asked questions only out of frivolity or curiosity, there were many who needed aid, and who sought to strengthen their religion and faith.
15. Modosas. This word is in current use in some regions of Spain and is used precisely in the sense that the girls used it with Father Andreu. It is equivalent to have good conduct, to be a person of good manners. Naturally its meaning is not limited to external actions alone. To say that a girl or adolescent is very modosita is a compliment, not only of a person's external comportment, but of all his conduct in those things that are related to discretion, modesty, education, manners, etc . . .
16. Fr. Valentín has this recorded in his notes of July 16th, a Sunday, and the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel:
«When I went up at five in the afternoon, I met Conchita and Loli wearing two or three chains and medals, two or three rosaries, watches, bracelets, etc. I was slightly angry with them, and I took everything away; I left them no more than a rosary and a chain with a scapular medal. And I told them that they should obey the pastor and their parents. Later they told me that they had mentioned this to the Angel, and they could bring the medals, but that they had to obey the priest and their parents, and to live always like children.»
Some parts of the dialogue with the apparition were recorded on the first day that Conchita had an ecstasy at the Pines:
«One day I could not see you, since they would not let me come up . . . Yes, I know that we have to obey; but you first of all . . . good, but we have to obey you too . . . »
It should not be difficult to fill in the pauses with the answers from the Apparition, which the spectators naturally could not hear. At the time of these happenings, no one said that this reminder to obedience was improper or unnecessary.
17. We supposed that they did not go to ask those priests who now say that all this matter of sacrifice, mortification, self renunciation, etc. has nothing to do with our renewed and open Christianity. To this type of priest this matter belongs to the old and stupid asceticism of monastic times, which is now fortunately passé, according to the rhetoric of the new prophets.
18. How could the Virgin come to these mountains with this matter of sin? Don't we want a moral code without sin? Everything that's in man, doesn't it have value? Such ideas cannot exist in an adult Christianity! Aren't we all saved, regardless of what happens?
How many falsehoods and absurdities like these are spoken day after day to a confused people of God!
19. No one can deny that this fact is very significant, taking into account the new attitude of certain clergy and laymen toward these practices of piety.
20. This refers to a song that was very popular at the time; a frivolous song, vulgar and imbecile like so many other songs that have been successful. For example some of its words were:
What can one know about women?
and the refrain is repeated:
Oh what trouble you have caused me!
You don't know a thing except dancing!
Cha. Cha. Cha.
The music carried in the summer air of the villages, and more than once the young girls of our story had heard it. But undoubtedly in their homes they had heard that they should not sing it—the upbringing in those homes of Christians of old like those at Garabandal was strict—and it was for this reason that they asked the Virgin about this.