There is a liturgical antiphon from the Christmas season that begins with these Latin words and speaks of the marvelous interchange or commerce established between God and mankind through the Word Incarnate. It seems that an extraordinary ramification of this commerce or interchange took place in Garabandal. It was as if through the Virgin (and sometimes through the Archangel St. Michael) direct conversation took part between heaven and earth.
Many examples of this have already been mentioned, but we fill find many more occurring during the days in August that we are still recounting.
Wednesday, August 16th, liturgically the feast of St. Joachim, the father of the Blessed Virgin, and popularly the feast of St. Roche, was a day of direct communication between the departed Father Luis María Andreu and the girls. What Conchita wrote down briefly in her diary about this conversation has already been mentioned; but we have much more information at our disposal from the writings of Father Ramón.
He places the ecstasies of the girls at 11 o'clock in the morning, while Conchita speaks of these ecstasies occurring at eight or nine at night. Are two different ecstasies being described here or could it be that the girl, who wrote down these things many months later, was mistaken as to the time? (10) Father Andreu wrote down:
«I was going to say Mass; I had put on the amice when they called me: Hurry, Father, hurry. The girls are coming in ecstasy.»
Father put off the Mass until later and went to observe the phenomena. The girls made their way through the village for a while, and then they marched toward the church. Father must have been surprised that there were only three — Jacinta, Loli and Conchita — and he took advantage of the routes they were taking to enter into Mari Cruz' house to see what had happened. The girl told him, «I am hurt that the Virgin hasn't called me.» However, she joined Father and they went to the church looking for the three girls in ecstasy. They found them sprawled on the ground in a group of singular beauty.
Father took out his notebook and began to write down what he was able to hear of the mysterious dialogue:
«Oh what a voice! I don't know that voice.»
Up to this time the girls in their ecstasies were only accustomed to the voice of the Virgin, and to a lesser degree that of St. Michael.
«Tell me. Who are you? She repeats this question anxiously, Oh you are Andreu!
Loli: Yes it is your voice; but now it is softer . . . We want to see you. Why aren't we seeing you? Hold out your hand . . . Tell us what you saw at the Pines when you said "Miracle! Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!" On the branch of the center tree? . . . I will go see and pick a pine cone.»(11)
Undoubtedly the mysterious voice must have spoken of what he had seen and of the exact location where he saw it.
«How happy you must be now! (12) We know the last words that you said: that it was the happiest day of your life. (A long silence took place, during which they seemed to listen carefully.) There is already a St. Luis. St. Luis Gonzaga. Oh! That's it. St. Luis Andreu . . . I thought that heaven was flat like the laundry when it is spread out.»(13)
A remark like this could be expected from a child living in a mountain village who would associate daily living with the monotony and the everyday fatigue of her way of life, continually climbing up and down steep hills.
«Do you cut your hair? Then you must have very long hair. Do you eat? Then you must be very thin!(14) Oh, I understand!»
(Questions concerning the mysterious state of the departed; the final exclamation shows that he gave them certain explanations with which they seem to have been satisfied.)
«Your brother is here? . . . But he is saying Mass, since the bell has rung . . . He is with us? . . . Next to whom? . . . We will ask him later to see if that's right.»
During the trances the girls did not see anything that was outside of the apparition. Because of this, they did not see Father Ramón, whom they thought was celebrating Mass at the time. While talking about him, they learned that he was there with them, and right next to one of them. When the ecstasy ended, the Father asked them which one was next to him, and the three answered together very happily, «Loli». They were well informed.
«Loli: I found the rosary where the Virgin told me, and I gave it to your brother . . . Yesterday (Feast of the Assumption) he said a high Mass, and he preached first to the men, then to the women, and then to the children, and he looked at us . . . Your brother said "Dominus Vobiscum" and I thought that it was Dominus Vobispum, as Fr. Valentin says . . . Oh! You! How well you say it! . . . Your brother has taught us a song.»
And Loli began to sing:
and shoes without heels!
What goes on in the cloister . . .
Oh! How does it continue? . . . The part about the heart?»
The mysterious voice must have sung what the girl had forgotten, and she cried out in surprise:
«Oh! You know it too!
Everyone said that on the day you said the Mass here, that you said it very well. Your brother also says it very well.(15)
Conchita: We told a secret to your brother; First of all he said it was for the men, but then he told it to Carmen. I was so embarrassed!(16)
Your brother has told us that if you want to take him away, that you could take him away, as you . . .»
The mysterious voice must have explained to them that it was not like that.
«Ah! So that he can be with us . . . He's going to come three weeks as the pastor. Very good!
Tell us something for your brother . . . Come, repeat it, so that we don't forget . . . Now I'm going to repeat it to you . . . That he should make sacrifices, that he should make sacrifices.(17)
When will you return? . . . Monday? . . . Why not Thursday?(18) . . . Until Monday is going to seem a year to us.»
This long conversation—of which we have only noted some items of special interest—was regarded by Father Royo Marín as a wonder. During it, the visionaries fell and got up three times. And they concluded everything by praying a Station to the Blessed Sacrament; three of the six Hail Marys were prayed by the girls in the normal fashion, andthe other three according to the formula used by the Andreu brothers. (19)
10. I am inclined to think that these were two different ecstasies, since Mari Cruz is missing in the one that Father Andreu talks about. Furthermore, Conchita says this about her ecstasy: The Virgin appeared to us smiling very much and said to the four . . .
11. In this transcription of the conversation, the periods correspond to the pauses that the girls made, which were obviously due to their listening at the time to the person with whom they were speaking.
12. A clear allusion to the state of blessedness in which the souls of the just enter prior to the resurrection of the body.
13. The point of this comparison can be understood, taking into account that the laundry in the villages, especially the sheets, was laid out in the sun on top of the grass so it could dry and whiten better.
14. The girls at Garabandal with their lack of education could not imagine the life of the next world to be any different from this one.
15. It is seen how important it is before God and man that all the functions of the priestly ministry have the greatest devotion and exactness.
16. This refers, according to Father Ramón, to the time he asked the girls what they would want him to give them.
The girls, after much discussion about what they should ask for, indicated to him that they would like a sewing set very much . . . «But no! No! Don't give us one, since they are very expensive. They cost at least 56 pesetas.»
To give the girls their wish, Father Ramón mentioned the matter to Carmen Cavestany.
17. After the ecstasies, the girls questioned Fr. Ramón — to whom they revealed his brother's message — about what it was to «make sacrifices.» He explained it to them, and then they replied candidly, «Why should one do something one doesn't like?»
This question should be asked also, although not so candidly, of today's prophets of non-mortification as a form or style of the new spirituality . . .
Garabandal insists, as something of extreme importance, upon the ascetic and penitential way of life . . . Probably because of this, it has so many enemies. But this is very clear: without the way of penance, it is not possible to live the Gospel.
18. This conversation took place on Wednesday, August 16th. Naturally—so as not to have to wait—the girls wanted to recommence the ecstasies on the next day, which was Thursday.
But apart from this, it becomes increasingly clear that Garabandal has shown a definite predilection for Thursday, certainly because among all the days of the week, this is the day dedicated to the Holy Eucharist.
In October of 1975 Jacinta confirmed for me the conversation between the girls and the departed Fr. Andreu. They certainly spoke with him, although they did not see him; his voice was unmistakable.
«Days before talking with him, the Virgin told us that we would hear a voice; that we should not be afraid, and should follow it. I think that this referred to the dead Fr. Andreu . . . The strange voice that we heard days later, and which frightened us so much, called us by our names . . .»
Jacinta knows nothing about what Conchita has stated about the exhumation of Fr. Luis' remains on the day following the Miracle.
19. See Chapter V.