If Father Luis María Andreu did not die of illness, since no one knew of any in him, then from what did he die?
Let us listen again to Mr. Fontaneda:
«Whenever my wife and I have discussed those scenes that so terribly affected us, we felt a peace and at the same time a deep serenity. And we are only able to come to one answer for the question: From what did Father die? He died of joy!
Even though he passed in a fraction of a second from a completely normal state to the state of a cadaver, a smile remained on his lips . . .
When I returned to Garabandal I heard what the girls said to me about Father and understanding something of the ecstatic conversations in which they had spoken of him and with him all the scenes of that sorrowful early morning of August 9th in Reinosa held for me a special meaning, in which the Providence of God and the Love of Mary played an important part.
This is the happiest day of my life, Father Luis had told me. I wanted to ask him the meaning of that sentence, since I would think that for a priest the happiest day would be that of his ordination to the priesthood or the day of his first Mass; but I did not have the time. Could his words be an announcement of his entrance into eternal happiness?
All this seems clear when we hear Father Royo, Truly the happiest day in one's life is the day of coming into the arms of God.
And for Father Luis María Andreu, that day was August 9, 1961, at 4:20 in the morning, returning from San Sebástian de Garabandal.»
After all this, we can understand better the case of the first death of Garabandal. The body of Father Luis could not sustain the truth and the joy of what he had seen.
Have not the saints, the great favorites of God, confessed many times that when seeing or hearing certain things about Him, they would have died of joy or of pain, if the Lord had not come especially to their aid? It is clear that Father Luis, left to his own strength by the mysterious disposition of God, did not last more than a few hours with the truth and the joy of Garabandal. And thus he was its first death. But he died with the sign of a martyr, as he sealed the truth of his testimony with the laying down of his life.(30)
His last words were very obligating and grave, leaving no solution except to accept them, for they should be received with the respect owed to the testimony of witnesses who give their life as proof of the truth of their words.
He gave his all to a cause and succumbed, but he lost nothing in pouring himself out. As the preface in the ancient liturgy for the Mass of the Dead states, For to your faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away; and when the place of our earthly sojourn turns into dust, an eternal dwelling awaits us in the heavens.
30. Martyr is a word of Green origin, meaning witness. The early church used it to designate someone who gave public testimony to Christ, or confessed his faith in Christ before the tribunal, even at the cost of his life.