We see then, that there are formal statements from the closest witnesses in favor of the authenticity of the miracle of July 18th. These declarations are not only uncategorical affirmations of the actuality of the miracle, but they also furnish us with some interior experiences that are of great value in judging its origin.
We have seen what Pepe Díez said and continues to say.
And also what Benjamín Gómez confesses without human respect, «For myself, there was the place that I truly believed in God!»
Alejandro Damians continues his report:
«When Conchita got up after having received Communion and continued on her way, I couldn't follow her. I had no strength. I withdrew to a corner and there remained entirely alone, leaning on a wall, holding onto the motion picture camera with the little strength that I had left.
I don't know how long I was there. When a calm relaxation replaced the tenseness in my muscles caused by the excitement, I set out walking through the village, with slow steps, without a fixed aim.»
These words describe a lot, but they are not the only ones available to aid us in assessing some of the extraordinary interior experiences that Mr. Damians had on that unforgettable night.
On that same night, in the same place as Alejandro Damians, as close to Conchita as he was, better prepared and more ready than he to film the whole scene, was a man who had come from Paris expressly to do this. He was Doctor Caux,(57) of great professional prestige among French movie makers. What he felt in Garabandal on that night, in contrast to what Mr. Damians felt, we can estimate through a conversation that took place between them a year later, on August 15th, 1963.
DR. CAUX — «So you were the one who made the film of Conchita's Communion . . . How glad I am to meet you, to talk about that day! Do you mind if I ask some questions?
MR. DAMIANS — I'm glad to meet you too. Ask whatever you want.
DR. CAUX — I read your report closely; but I would like more information.
MR. DAMIANS — You might know that — although the report is complete — there is something that I couldn't put down: what I felt within, I wasn't able to describe.
DR. CAUX— Tell me, were you watching all the time?
MR. DAMIANS — From the time I saw myself next to the girl, I didn't look at anything else except her. I can swear that I didn't take my eyes off her tongue for a moment. Obviously I could have blinked, but as you know, that is a matter of a slight fraction of a second. And I saw how — with a speed too fast for the human eye — the Host formed on her tongue. To explain it better, I might say without the passing of a split second.
DR. CAUX — Why didn't you film it from the beginning?
MR. DAMIANS — I was struck speechless; stupefied! When I came to myself — I don't know if it actually was this way, since I wasn't able to remember how I filmed it — I took the camera and, in a hurry, was able to take the last seconds of the miracle.
DR. CAUX— Did it occur to you to touch the Host?
MR. DAMIANS — No.
DR. CAUX — Was the girl's tongue in the normal position?
MR. DAMIANS — I would say that it was held out more than it would ordinarily be extended for receiving Communion.
DR. CAUX — Now permit me a question that I've wanted to ask for a long time: Did you feel at that moment, a joy so tremendous, so beyond this world, that you couldn't compare it with anything else, that you wouldn't exchange it for anything, even for a thousand million pesetas, for example?
MR. DAMIANS — That's a question that I've been asked more than once, and almost with the same words. I certainly wouldn't exchange the happiness that I felt during those moments for a thousand million pesetas, nor for anything in the world. It was a joy so intense, so profound, that I can't explain it, nor can I compare it with anything. It was something exceptional! Something for which I'd give my life, and which didn't allow me later to follow the girl's ecstasy, or to go with my wife, or with anyone; I was only able to take shelter in a corner and sob in silence.
DR. CAUX — I'm delighted to hear this! Actually that is what I suspected. There still remain two things that I'd like very much to know: What was the reason for such a great joy? And were you in the state of grace at the time? Pardon my forwardness; don't answer if you don't want to.
MR. DAMIANS — I'll answer gladly. I was in grace with God; and my enormous emotion wasn't caused by the miracle itself, or by seeing the girl with the white object on her tongue. (Some said that the Host had a cross in the center; others, that the cross was double; I didn't see any of this.)
I'm going to tell something great: the thing that I did see, and that had a tremendous effect on me, was finding myself with the Living and True God. I wouldn't exchange anything in the world for this. If God wants me to see the Miracle that is predicted, I'll be delighted; but if it is not that way, what can I say? I see that it would be difficult for anything in the world to make an impression like the one I had in SEEING HIM during that solemn and magnificent moment in my life.
DR. CAUX — You don't know how happy you make me, on the one hand, and how miserable on the other. I felt the same as you, but in reverse!
Listen to this. I came all prepared to film the affair; I had everything completely ready. And everything went bad for me and I wasn't able to film anything. Only at the last moment, in the last fraction of a second, did I manage to see the Host, which was disappearing, being swallowed by the girl. At that moment, I was struck by a terrible pain, a horrible pain that overwhelmed me! The pain of a God that I had come to catch a glimpse of and Who was going away from me . . .
It was only at that moment that I thought — I had not thought about it before — that I was in mortal sin. I wept like you, but from pain! I understood what sin was and what hell was . . . It was useless for my wife to try to console me; nor could I explain anything, nor could she understand me. That pain was something too great to share or be solaced.(58)
Because of this, I believe that only if God permits me to see the Miracle — now that I try to be always in His grace — will there depart from me this pain so profound that I think it's going to kill me, and which still continues piercing my heart. On that night in Garabandal, I even had the impression that the people were avoiding me, as if they saw my sins!
MR. DAMIANS — I understand everything, my friend. I have to tell you that on that day it wasn't only your impression that the people didn't like you; it was the truth. The village thought that you had come with a woman who wasn't your wife; and they even asked me to find a way to throw you out. Now I understand why God didn't permit them to do it. You suffered more pain by staying than you would have by being roughly expelled.
DR. CAUX — You're right. I'd have really preferred that to have happened. But now I know what God is, and what He wants of me, what the hell is of not seeing God and how this pain — I would give more than my whole fortune to avoid it — was relieved in confession, and now again with the hope of seeing the Miracle some day.
Whatever people say, and although many ridicule me, I cannot abandon the service of the Garabandal cause, to which I owe something as profound as it is unknown and terribly magnificent, something that I hope will depart from me, and be eased on the day of the Miracle. The view of hell moves me to try to move the world myself, announcing what has happened and what is going to happen, so that it can be saved. My family was the first to think that I was crazy, although now they don't think that way. But I assure you that nothing that anyone thinks of me matters; the only thing that matters to me is God.»
This conversation between the man from Barcelona and the doctor from Paris has extraordinary value for its theological implications and scope. Unfortunately, we will have to omit commenting on it here, so as not to lengthen the chapter unduly. However, I want to add what was said in a letter written in April of 1970 by María Teresa le Pelletier de Glatigny:
«One afternoon in Paris, Doctor Caux told us confidentially what he had felt on that night in Garabandal. Among other things, he told me how at the exact moment of the miracle, he had lived and experienced what human words could not convey: what it is to lose God — the true pain of hell. At the same time, he was filled with all the horror of being in mortal sin. Pray for me, Señora — he told me at the end — in order that I may never fall again into sin, now that I have experienced its terrible meaning.»
This page from the story of Garabandal is of superlative worth to anyone who looks at it. Nevertheless, by an assembly of circumstances that cannot be explained, a thick cloud of doubt and suspicion has hovered permanently over the event.
57. I have the address and telephone number of this man.
58. To understand something both about the joy of Mr. Damians and the suffering of Dr. Caux, the teaching of Catholic theology has to be taken into account:
— That heaven consists above all in the joy of the perfect vision of God.
— That hell is above all the horrible existence in having lost God forever.