Toward 9:40 they get up and leave the church in an ecstatic march. They stop at those locations in the village where ecstasies had taken place, and they pray there . . .
Never had stations been made with such devotion in Garabandal. The people who silently followed the girls during their marches and devotedly accompanied them in their prayers were as if taken up by supernatural emotion. It seemed like the way of the Lord, the way of mercy for that village until then so lost and forgotten. Here the footsteps of God and the Virgin traced their way to people regarded as nothing by the world.
In contrast to this world in a rush to secularization, what a night at Garabandal! And it was not the only one. It appeared destined to consecrate everything—the streets, the corners, the houses, the lonely trails, the quiet fields, the starry skies. In all the places where it could, heaven made contact with the earth; and in all the places it could, the inept human creature raised himself up to the one who watches in all places, near and far across a subtle veil.
Oh noche que guiaste! In a tremulous silence, under an infinite summer sky, all that could be heard were the prayer at the stations and the rhythmic footsteps of the four girls locking arms while in rapture.
Toward the end of the march they were heard to say, «On what day will we see you again, so that the people may come? . . . The people say that this is a sickness of ours, and the young boys have thrown stones at us . . . Well, if you are happy with us, it doesn't matter.»
And when it seemed that everything was going to end, they undertook an ascent to the Pines that all the witnesses have classified as impressive not only on account of the appearance of the four girls, but also because of the speed and lightness of their march.
On arriving at the top, Loli, who seemed to be trembling a little, said while talking with the Vision, «Yes, here is where the chapel will be built . . . This is a good spot . . . Should we stay here?»(18) And they knelt down.
They sang a hymn to St. Michael. They kissed something in the air . . . And it was at this moment when Father Luis María Andreu . . . Let us listen to the testimony of Raphael Fontaneda:
«At the Pines, Father Luis was watching the girls closely. It appeared that he didn't wish to lose a single detail of what was taking place.
Suddenly we observed a tremendous excitement sweep over him, and four times—obviously overwhelmed— we heard him shout the word Miracle!»(19)
Not only were the spectators able to observe Father Luis' trance; the girls, swept away from the normal world of the senses, saw him also. This was the first and only time that any person besides the visionaries came into their field of vision.
At the end of the rosary, the four of us were in ecstasy. And we began to walk toward the Pines. And when we arrived there Father Luis María said, Miracle! Miracle!
And he was looking upwards.
We saw him ourselves.
And in our ecstasies we have never seen anyone except the Virgin.
And we saw Father Luis.
And the Virgin told us that he was seeing her and the Miracle.(20)
Several days later Father Ramón María, who had not been in Garabandal on August 8th, learned from the girls something more about the vision of his brother: «He was kneeling with us, drops of shining perspiration on his forehead; and the Virgin was looking at him . . . She seemed to be saying to him, Very soon you will be at my side.»
It was about 10:00 at night. Father Luis came back to normal and «the girls began the descent, saying in ecstasy that they were going to the church. They said this as they usually did in their conversation with the Virgin . . . Father Royo Marín advised those present to run to the church since, according to his expression, The girls had wings on their feet.» (Testimony of Raphael Fontaneda)
If the ascent had been rapid, the descent was almost vertiginous. It is not surprising that the girls lost two rosaries from the ones that had been entrusted to them to present to the Virgin to kiss. One of these belonged to a seminarian. Conchita, who was the one to whom he had given it, mentioned it in the church: she was heard to say, «I lost the rosary . . . The one belonging to the student . . . I feel bad about it. Should I go back? . . . Oh . . . Where did I drop it? . . . Up there? . . . Higher than where we saw you? Oh!»
The other belonged to Father Luis. His was not an ordinary rosary but one of those that were beginning to be used at the time, shaped like a ring, with a cross on top and ten small protrusions to count the Hail Marys. It is put on the index finger on which it is revolved with the thumb. On leaving the church, Loli went up to Father, I've lost your rosary, but the Virgin has told me where it is; Let's go find it. Julia, the mother of the girl, heard this and objected. No, not today, since it is already late. Wait until tomorrow and when there is daylight you can find it.
Father Luis immediately approved Julia's sensible decision, and a little while later said to the girl, Loli, I'm going to leave tonight; when you find the rosary, don't tell anyone except my brother Ramón. If I don't come back, he surely will.
Not many hours later, the hidden prophetic meaning of those words would be revealed. The little rosary was found at the exact location that the Virgin had indicated; but its owner would no longer have a need for it.
The miraculous finale of that unforgettable August 8th, Conchita gives us in her diary:
The people said that we prayed a Credo at the Pines.
That day was the first in which the Virgin taught us to pray.(21)
And we went down to the village in the same state.
And when we arrived at the church, the Virgin left our view.
As the Virgin had not appeared to Mari Cruz for several days, she stayed in ecstasy with the Virgin.
And she went into the church.
And before the altar of the Virgin of the Rosary and St. Michael the Archangel, she began to pray the Creed with the Virgin very slowly.
And Mari Cruz said that the Virgin said the prayer ahead of her in order to teach her to pray slowly.
After the Credo, she prayed a Salve.
And then she made the sign of the cross very slowly, very well. And she talked with the Virgin, and said, Oh, how good that the Infant Jesus comes.
How long it has been since He has come.
Why do you wait so long to come to me and come more often to the others?(22)
This was heard by several people who were close to her: among them were Fr. Luis María Andreu, a seminarian, and Fr. Royo Marín.
18. According to information given to me, on the first day that the girls fell into ecstasy at the Pines — a date that I have not been able to identify with certainty — Conchita was heard to say among other things:
«It seems that I was taken up, without knowing where, to this place . . . I know the name of the Angel: St. Michael. The same as my brother; but my brother without the Saint . . . Then, the chapel will be here . . . But it can't be done here! . . . I don't know how it is going to be done here.»
Recently I questioned Jacinta:
—Did the Virgin tell you anything about the things that should be done here in the village, as for example chapels, a way of the cross?
—From what I remember, the only thing that she asked for explicitly was a chapel dedicated to St. Michael.
—Where? In the place where the chapel is now?
—No, at the Pines.
—When should it be built?
—When the Church permits it.
19. Father Ramón was also astounded when they told him about this since he knew that his brother was known for being a calm person, and he himself could never remember having seen his brother in a state of excitement.
20. This does not refer to a miracle, but to THE MIRACLE. The visionaries, especially Conchita, have repeatedly spoken of it. It is something still to be realized, a very important chapter in the history of Garabandal, still sealed in suspense. What she is telling us in this episode about Father Luis María Andreu is that on that night of August 8th, 1961, he was able to view beforehand, by a most singular favor of the Virgin what neither the visionaries nor anyone else has as yet seen, although it has been foretold for everyone.
What we will see then—when the great day arrives—or whom we will see is still a mystery . . . The fact that Fr. Luis was not able to survive after his ecstasy at the Pines might make us recall this passage from Exodus (33: 18-20):
Moses said: Show me Your Glory. I beseech you.
And God answered, I will let My splendor pass in front of you, and I will pronounce My name before you.
I have compassion on whomever I will. And I show pity to whomever I please.
You cannot see My face, for man cannot see Me and live.
How can the fragile and weak human creature contemplate the Supreme Being—Who infinitely surpasses man— without disintegrating?
But the desire remains, and we can only repeat Moses' request and the passionate urge of St. John of the Cross:Reveal Your presence.
And show me the beauty of Your face.
Regard the suffering of love
That can only be healed by Your presence,
And your countenance.
God alone can strengthen us to contemplate his marvels.
21. From the beginning the Virgin taught the girls to do all things well, especially those things more directly concerned with God; and she instructed them above all in their way of acting. It seems that on this day she began a more complete course of instruction on this theme, adding explanations by word and lessons by her example.
If the reader has previously encountered in Chapter 5 many of the things that are now being brought forth, it should be understood that Chapter 5 attempted to present in advance a panoramic view of what the summer of 1961 was like in San Sebastián de Garabandal.
22. Of the four visionaries, Mari Cruz was the one who had the least number of apparitions and the first one from whom they were taken away. Why is this? God alone can answer this question.
And no disfavor to the girl can be concluded from this, since if it is true that there may be human obstacles to the Divine Action, it is also true that God can distribute His gifts to whomever He pleases, without doing wrong to anyone. The inequality can be recalled with which He acted toward the children in the communications at Fatima.
Because of this, could there have formed in the heart of Mari Cruz a form of bitterness or even envy to which the many visitors contributed by their preferences for the other girls? At present we do not have information to answer this.