Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Apparitions of Our Lady at Garabandal Page 2 of 2

Written by Fr. Joseph A. Pelletier, A.A.   

Kissed Objects and Prodigies
The kissing of objects started early in the apparitions, but it was considered so vital by the Blessed Virgin that she made it the principal object of her very last visit at Garabandal on November 13, 1965, and she told Conchita in advance that she would come for that purpose. "It was to be a special apparition," Conchita writes, "to kiss religious objects that would be distributed afterwards, for they have great importance." Conchita has written a report of this apparition.
The following are the significant parts of the report.

She said to me: "You will recall what I told you on your patronal feast (the Immaculate Conception, December 8), that you would suffer much on earth. Well, have confidence in us and offer your suffering generously to our Hearts for the welfare of your brethren. In this way, you will feel how close we are to you."
And I said to her: "How unworthy I am, dear Mother, of the numerous graces I have received through you. And yet, you come to me today to lighten the little cross that I now carry."
She replied: "Conchita, I have not come for your sake alone. I have come for all my children, so that I may draw them closer to Our Hearts."
Then she said: "Give me everything you have brought so that I may kiss it."
I gave her everything. I had a crucifix with me. She kissed that also and said: "Place it in the hands of the Child Jesus." This I did. The Child did not say anything to me.
After having kissed everything, she said to me: "Through the kiss I have bestowed on these objects, my Son will perform prodigies. Distribute them to others."
"I will be glad to do this," I replied.
She asked me to tell her about the petitions that people had requested I transmit to her.
And I told her about them.
Then she said: "Talk to me, Conchita, talk to me about my children. I hold them all beneath my mantle."
"It is very small, we can't all get under it," I replied.
She smiled: "Do you know, Conchita, why I did not come myself on June 18th, to deliver the message for the world? Because it hurt me to give it to you myself. But I must give it to you for your own good, and if you heed it, for the glory of God. I love you very much and I desire your salvation and your reunion here in heaven with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We can count on you, Conchita, can we not?"
"If I were to see you continually, I would say, yes. But, if not, I don't know, because I am so bad," I answered.
"You do everything that you can, and we will help you."
She stayed only a very short while.
"This will be the last time you see me here—Sera Ia ultima ves que me vea aqui. But I shall always be with you and with all my children," she said.
She also said to me: "Conchita, why do you not go more often to visit my Son in the tabernacle? He waits for you there day and night."
I told the Blessed Virgin: "I am happy when I see both of you. Why don't you take me now to heaven with you?"
"Remember what I told you on your patronal feast day," she replied. "When you present yourself before God, your hands must be filled with good works done for your brothers and for His glory. But at the present time, your hands are empty."
It is all over now. The happy moments when I was with my heavenly mamma and my best friend (an expression frequently used by Conchita) and the Child Jesus, have passed. I have ceased seeing them, but I have not stopped feeling their presence.
Once again, they have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much....
P.S. (This is something that I am affirming on my own—Esto lo digo yo). There is no use believing in the apparitions, if we do not comply with the message, or rather, if we do not comply with what Holy Mother Church asks of us.
The miracle is going to take place so that we will fulfill the message and also to confirm these apparitions. However, if we fulfill the message, it doesn't matter if we don't believe in the apparitions.

Abundance of Favors
The kissing of objects with the resulting favors, both temporal and spiritual, was meant by God to be one of the principal means for developing and maintaining faith in the apparitions during the wait for the great miracle. These favors, temporal and especially spiritual, have been very numerous and this is certainly one of the reasons explaining the phenomenal growth of the Garabandal movement throughout the world, notwithstanding the negative attitude of the various bishops of Santander.

Message of Love
The most significant thing about the November 13, 1965, vision, is that the apparitions of Garabandal closed on a warm note of love: "I have come for all my children, so that I may draw them closer to my heart...Talk to me about my children. I hold them all beneath my mantle.... I shall always be with you and with all my children." It was a love backed by a promise of prodigies that would be continual proofs of that love. But the purpose of Mary's love and concern for us is to draw us to love her Son, who proves His love by staying in our tabernacles, where He waits for us day and night.

Conchita Like Lucia of Fatima
Of the four girls involved in the events at Garabandal, Conchita is by far the most important. Her leading role can be compared to that of Lucia at Fatima. Not only is she, like Lucia, God's main agent among the visionaries, but she, too has given us an historical document that will have to stand as the basic core of any account of the Garabandal happenings. Lucia wrote her Memoirs and Conchita has written her Diary. Both documents are simple and unpretentious. Conchita's Diary was started in 1962 when she was 13 and concluded in the last part of 1963 when she was still only 14. This spiritual journal has a directness and lack of sophistication that give it a real ring of authenticity, not to mention a very special charm.

Various Degrees of Involvement
There are other interesting points of similarity between Fatima and Garabandal in regard to the visionaries. In both cases there were several children involved, which assures the authenticity and accuracy of the message transmitted. Also, in each instance there is a difference in the degree to which each of the visionaries is involved in the event. At Fatima, Lucia did all the speaking to the vision and Francisco never heard the Lady's voice. At Garabandal, Conchita saw Our Lady more frequently than any of the other three girls and she was the one most involved in the locutions, which are something quite peculiar to this contemporary Spanish event as compared to Lourdes and Fatima.
Loli is next in importance and she enjoys considerable more prominence than either Jacinta or Maria Cruz. We really know very little of Jacinta, who is silent and reticent by nature, and even less of Maria Cruz.

Mission of Suffering
In the early days of the apparitions, Our Lady foretold that there would come a time of denials and contradictions on the part of the visionaries and their parents. These predictions have been fulfilled and have brought great moral suffering to all concerned and particularly to Conchita. Our Lady and Our Lord had told Conchita that she would have much to suffer for the world as part of her mission in life.

Views of Doctors and Theologians
In the summer of 1962, a Spanish theologian prepared some notes on Garabandal for Doctor Ricardo Puncernau, a neurologist and Assistant Professor at the Medical School of Barcelona. (The theologian's name is withheld because of the private nature of the document.) Here are some of the more pertinent observations made by this theologian.

A study of the information given by the doctors (Dr. Ortiz of Santander, a children's specialist, spent 22 consecutive days studying the girls) convinces me, that any normal or abnormal psychological explanation is unthinkable.
(Author's note: Doctor Puncernau is himself one of the top medical authorities on Garabandal. He saw the girls in ecstasy some twenty times and examined them very thoroughly both in and out of ecstasy. He concurs that there is no natural, either normal or pathological, explanation for the happenings at Garabandal.)
The rules suggested to us by the great masters of the spiritual life for the discernment of spirits gives us no indication, in the case of San Sebastian de Garabandal, of possible diabolical possession. There is no trace of worldly spirit, vainglory, desire for money, or pride.
Numbers of religious men, wise, prudent and virtuous, who have visited San Sebastian de Garabandal, are inclined towards a supernatural interpretation. Among them are some of the outstanding theologians that we have in Spain today...
I believe that there is a serious and more than sufficient foundation for belief in the reality of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the four little girls at San Sebastian of Garabandal.

Attitude of the Church
There have been several statements from the various bishops of Santander since the start of the apparitions—all have refused to admit the divine origin of the events at Garabandal. Although Rome has steadfastly left the matter of the apparitions in the hands of the local Bishops, it has nevertheless shown a personal interest in them.
Conchita was called to Rome by Cardinal Ottaviani and went there in January of 1966. She visited the Holy Office and spent two and a half hours there in a very cordial interview. A few days after this visit, she was received privately by the Pope, who during his conversation with her said: "I bless you, and with me the whole Church blesses you." This cannot be interpreted as approval of Garabandal, but it is not without significance.
Also, there have been a number of private statements relative to Garabandal that have emanated from high places in the eternal city. Although none of them would warrant saying that Rome has approved the apparitions, they do indicate that Church authorities there are much more open to Garabandal than Santander has been up to now, and that they do not consider the matter closed because of statements that have been issued by Santander.

Apparitions Still Under Investigation
...A formal approval of the Garabandal event, either by Santander or Rome, would not appear likely until we have had the great miracle, which precisely was promised by heaven to authenticate irrefutably this most unusual and fascinating series of happenings that God has provided for his Church in crisis.

The late Fr. Joseph Pelletier studied theology in Rome where he received a Baccalaureate and Licentiate in Sacred Theology. Later he obtained a Master's degree in Sociology from Boston College and was  associated with Assumption College, Worcester, Massachusetts for most of his priestly life. A noted authority on Marian apparitions, he wrote extensively on Fatima and Garabandal. This article was republished with permission from Garabandal Journal, PO Box 1796, St. Cloud, MN 56302-1796, U.S.A.

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