Before the middle of the afternoon many began to take positions to assure themselves an advantageous place for the probable scene of the event. But there was a difference of opinion as to the location: some said that it would be at the Pines; others, that it would be in the calleja; and finally others, (they appeared to be the best informed) that it would be at the church.
Conchita, in speaking in her diary of the apparition of July 4th — the third apparition of the Virgin Mary — writes:
The Virgin was smiling as usual.
The first thing that she said to us was: Do you know what the writing that the Angel is carrying beneath him means?
And we exclaimed together: No, we don’t know!
And she said, It tells a message that I am going to tell you so that you can tell the people on the 18th of October.
And she told it to us.And it is the following . . .
Later she explained what the message meant and how we had to say it.
She indicated to us that we had to say it at the door of the church . . .
And that on October 18 we should tell it to Fr. Valentín, so that he could say it at the Pines at 10:30 at night.
The Virgin told us to do it this way; but the Commission . . .
We are accustomed to repeat frequently the proverb Man proposes but God disposes. On that key day at Garabandal this was reversed. Heaven proposed and earth disposed . . . And thus the thing came about. When we attempt to revise God’s designs, the results are never brilliant.
We do not know which members of the Commission were there — the weather was too inclement for all of them to come, though it was their duty — but surely one who was not missing was Father Francisco Odriozola, the man who had been acting as the motivating force of the group. Considering that they did not believe, it is not surprising that the Commission members felt a great distaste for these things and a desire to end them as soon as possible.
The night came down and they did not know what might happen to the great multitude, in total darkness, over such roads, and under the worst weather conditions. Why do you fear, men of little faith? the Lord could have said to them, too. Perhaps a prudence too human did not leave room in them for the matter of confidence in God and complete acceptance of what He has planned — something that is always decisive in the works of the spirit. Though they did not comprehend these things, why could they not have adhered exactly to what could some way be coming from above, and accept that mysterious challenge with all its conditions, behind which there could well be the sign that was sought?
as there were many people,
and it was raining much,
and there was nowhere to shelter
it would be better to say the
message at 8:30 or 9:00.
At 8 o'clock, Father Valentín was no longer able to resist further pressure from the Commission, and went in search of the girls so as to perform the matter — not according to the instructions that the girls had received — but according to the directions given by the Commission. What should have occurred at the door of the church was forbidden (such was the way to better emphasize that the official ecclesiastic element had nothing to see in this) and everyone went rapidly to the Pines.(29)
The rumor spread immediately throughout the crowds: To the Pines! To the Pines! And the masses began to move toward them — many were already there — under a terrible downpour.
«We marched» — María Herrero tells us — «stumbling in the dark, swimming in a sort of flood of mud, stones and branches that was streaming down from the Pines. We fell, we rolled down sometimes, we climbed up on all fours, holding with our hands onto the big rocks on the ground or onto the bushes on the banks. Many were on the verge of giving up . . . And in spite of so many falls and stumbles, I know of no one who broke a bone or hurt himself in the least. Doesn't that seem astounding?»
Meanwhile Father Valentín got together with the girls. It seems that at least Conchita offered him some resistance, since she was not conformed to doing things in this manner, but he obliged her to leave her home to go read the message.
Let us hear the witness again:
«I have to admit that I finished the ascent in a rather bad mood. Between the fear that the unruly crowd caused me, the annoyance that they gave me along the way, questioning and questioning without ceasing, and the irritation of not finding a place there that I liked, I was appreciably upset. Finally I got situated behind the Pines, some 70 meters from them on the slope to the right; the crowd prevented me from getting closer. Everything was not badly seen, since there were many flashlights.
Later the fragile silhouettes of the four girls(30) suddenly appeared in the distance with the throng that surrounded them, protected by several pairs of guards on horseback.
While I was up on the hill, the icy rain that had drenched and almost blinded us stopped falling; the black, low-lying clouds began to be swept away by the wind, and the moon appeared. The pale light then illuminated the Pines and the group of guards, girls, priests, etc. that was below my point of observation. I have to admit that this had an immediate effect on me . . .»
29. This brings to mind a passage from Scripture (I Samuel 13:7- 14). The prophet Samuel has given King Saul instructions from God that were very precise as to the right time for himself and his city. Before engaging in combat with the Philistines, well known for their superiority in war, he was to wait in Gilgal for seven days until Samuel himself came to offer a holocaust to appease the Lord. But Saul did not wait till the seven days were up; on seeing that Samuel was not coming, and that his army was being demoralized, and that the Philistines could attack at any moment, he sought what was necessary for the sacrifice and offered up the holocaust himself.
Just as he was completing the offering of the holocaust, Samuel arrived, and Saul went forth to meet him and saluted him. And Samuel said to him: What have you done?
The justifications of Saul were futile; the prophet spoke: You have done foolishly, and have not kept the commandments of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. And if you had done this, the Lord would now have established your kingdom over Israel forever; but now your kingdom will not endure. And because he did not faithfully follow the ordinances of God, the reprobation of Saul began.
30. Thus, as is lost in a sea of humanity, under a dark sky, unsupported before the magnitude of the events, the girls were truly a picture of weakness. What strength could those girls have who in normal circumstances would impress no one?
But the foolish things of the world had God chosen,
that He may confound the wise.
And the weak things of the world has God chosen,
that He may confound the strong.
And the base things of the world,
and the things that are contemptible,
has God chosen, and things that are not,
that He might bring to naught, things that are;
that no flesh should glory in his sight.
(Cor. 1: 27-29)