We owe this one to the previously mentioned María Herrero de Gallardo; it forms part of her letter to the Holy Office, dated February 2nd, 1968. She describes what she experienced a few days after the events that Fr. Julio Porro Cardenoso reported to us. She was there on September 12th, a Marian day also, because on it is celebrated the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.
«On that day the ecstasies started about five in the afternoon, and lasted well into the night, with slight intermissions, such as the one in which Conchita said to her mother, Mama, let me have dinner now, for the Virgin is going to return, or like another one with Jacinta: The Virgin told me to rest a little, since she would not be long in coming back. Her ecstasy preceding this had lasted a long time and the position of her head, bent backward so acutely, must have affected her.
But very soon after having said this, Jacinta went into ecstasy again; her rest didn't last more than three or four minutes.(23)
I believe it was on this day that I saw the girls obviously play hide and seek with the Vision, although in the beginning I didn't understand well what they were doing. I saw them on the tips of their toes — attempting not to make noise and leaning their backs against the walls — glide furtively up to the corner of the street. There they stuck out their heads a little at a time, appearing to want to surprise someone who was hiding from them . . . Suddenly, as if they had found what they were searching for at the end of the corner, they let out shouts of joy and began to run in pursuit . . . It was really pleasurable watching the girls' game. Obviously they had a Mother who enjoyed playing with her little children.»
It is no surprise that many people are shocked by these games which do not seem to properly fit in with phenomena that are supposed to be supernatural. What can be the meaning of this? Can there be anything in this relative to the History of Salvation that we have been discussing in this chapter?
I admit being perplexed myself, but I am convinced that one cannot expect God to make all His ways of acting toward us completely understandable in every detail right from the beginning.
However, I have run into something that appears rather basic and that in some way may unveil the divine pedagogy that may be hidden in the unusual games at Garabandal.
In September, 1969, a group of French Garabandalistas gathered for a spiritual reunion at Cande. Among other interesting conferences, there was one by María Teresa Le Pelletier de Glatigny on The Catechetics of Mary at Garabandal, from which these statements are reproduced.
Among the important lessons of catechism by the Virgin at Garabandal, I wish finally to speak of a thing that appears to me to reach the depth of our spiritual life under a childish appearance. I wish to speak of that game of hide and seek in which the Virgin and her children took part during a long night.
The more that I think about this matter, the more I feel I understand it.
You understand that many mothers, teaching their little children to walk, use the nice deception of hiding behind a tree or a door to entice the baby to go after them. Stirred by the desire of finding its mother again, it makes its first steps without even being aware of it.
Previously I compared this attitude of a mother with the Virgin's game. For in the spiritual life, after giving us the joys of His presence, Jesus withdraws so that we might seek after Him more and without sensible consolation . . .
Mary, who knows the ineffable secrets of the divine life, to teach those profound things to her simple little girls, has played at hiding herself in order that the desire of seeing her again, the suffering that they then felt on losing sight of her, the wish that they would have to find her again, would bring them to one day overcome the vicissitudes of the spiritual life, something that isn't easy.
Between the 15th of July and the 8th of August, 1970, Mrs. Le Pelletier de Glatigny was in Garabandal. One day, speaking with Conchita, she asked her if she knew anything about her conference at Cande. Receiving a negative answer, she then explained to the young girl how they could understand those games, now so long past.
—Certainly the Virgin wanted to teach you to seek to adapt to a life of pure and simple faith when the apparitions ended. And now that you find yourself in the middle of spiritual darkness, you can understand better than I what this means . . .
—Yes, Conchita replied, that is what the Virgin wanted to teach us. I will read your conference.
23. As an interesting fact, I am inserting this from Fr. Valentín’s notes for the afternoon of September 12th:
«Towards six, Loli, who went out of her house in ecstasy, came very specially near to "the man who had come many times; the people said he was Balduino."
(The King of Belgium)
Jacinta went from house to house, and made the Sign of the Cross on the beds of the sick . . . She turned toward me to meet me on the street, and made the Sign of the Cross on me . . . At 6:30 she passed by praying the rosary and made a Sign of the Cross on the cars that had come up to the village.»
Manuel Lantero, an industrial lumberer from Gijón, who can relate many things from his frequent visits to Garabandal, reports:
«One day I was in a car in front of Conchita’s house in the enclosed garden whose entrance was sealed by a fence made of crossbeams. We saw the girls in ecstasy come twice up against the fence rails . . . Finally they jumped over them with extraordinary grace, went to the car, made the Sign of the Cross on top of the hood and the windshield. No mark remained.»