Thursday, April 30, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 94)

Loli in front of her home —an instrument
chosen by the Virgin to convey messages
both for individuals and for the world.


This will exemplify some of the things that
were happening during the summer days of 1961.
One day in September, Placido Ruiloba, the man from Santander previously mentioned as one of the best witnesses of the Garabandal events, came up to the village with his wife and her father. The father, who already had one of his legs amputated, was concerned that sooner or later the same fate would befall his other leg. «My father-inlaw » — Mr. Ruiloba stated — «went with great faith to the place.»
Like so many other visitors they stopped first at the house of Ceferino, with whom Placido had struck up a warm friendship. They told him all about the condition of the invalid and the desire he had for Mari Loli to petition the Virgin for him in ecstasy, requesting his salvation. That she save at least the one leg that was left!
Ceferino told them that during these days his daughter ordinarily had her ecstasies in the rooms upstairs; and that he, although sorry about it, could not allow many people to go upstairs, because of the danger that the rafters and the ceiling would fall down and cause a disaster; but that specially for this case, he would see to it that they could go upstairs. Minutes later Mari Loli arrived, and the visitors immediately entreated her to remember their request when she would be with the Virgin.

From here they went to Conchita's house, to
make the same request. (They transmitted it to Aniceta.) And when they were about to leave, Mr. Matutano,(4) who was there, told them that it would be worth their trouble to remain, since Conchita already had two calls and it would not be long until the time when the Vision came.
And so it was. It happened in the little kitchen of the house, at the usual hour of nightfall. The small group standing around could follow from time to time the girl's conversation that dealt with many things. One of the things that they heard very clearly was the request for the salvation of the man who was there with his leg cut off. That at least they don't have to cut off the other!
The window was wide open so that many persons, who were not able to enter, could follow the trance from outside.(5) After a while, the visionary who was still taken up in the trance—her head tilted sharply backwards, her glance fixed on high — held up her crucifix(6) for everyone to kiss. And when all those in the kitchen had finished kissing it, she put her hand without difficulty through the bars of the window grate, so that those outside could also come up to kiss the sacred image. They were kissing it one after the other with a great deal of emotion. When it seemed that they had all done this — outside everything was totally dark; all that could be seen were the people on whom the light from the kitchen shown — it was observed with surprise that the girl continued to hold her arm outside, as if she were waiting for someone to come. And those inside heard her say, Oh! They don't want to kiss it? Why?
A short pause followed during which the girl's breathing could be heard very clearly. One of those present could not contain himself and went outside to see what was happening. He found a couple trying to hide in the darkness some distance away. He spoke to them and they admitted that they had withdrawn from the window when the girl began holding the cross to be kissed. He and she both considered themselves unworthy to place their lips on the holy article.
It took a little while for the man to convince them that their attitude was mistaken; that even though they felt themselves very sinful, they had no reason to turn away from the one who had come especially in search of sinners; that it was obvious that she was waiting for them, since there was the girl with her arm held out in the darkness, offering the crucifix . . . to them! And they were the only ones who were missing . . . And the girl was not doing this from her own initiative, since one had to do no more than look to see that she was completely removed from everything that was occurring around her . . . Faced with these thoughts, their resistance waned and from far back they came up trembling to place their lips on the image of the one who had invited them and waited for them in such an extraordinary way.
After those final two kisses, the girl withdrew her hand from the window, and minutes later the ecstasy ended.(7)
Almost at the same time Ceferino came asking for Mr. Ruiloba to come immediately, since his daughter Mari Loli had just gone into a trance. They went as fast as they could and came in time to hear how the girl was faithfully making the request that they had given her. This filled them with consolation. But the consolation was followed by amazement when they heard the girl say Oh, has Conchita already asked you this?
Mr. Ruiloba is absolutely convinced that all this had a supernatural cause, since Mari Loli could not have known by any natural means what had just happened in Conchita's ecstasy.
Someone might ask, What is the meaning of all this?
Well certainly the man with the amputated leg remained, as far as his physical condition, in the same situation in which he had been before, without any substantial improvement (now he rests in peace), although with a certain betterment since he was not the same as before with regard to other more important matters. Since he had come with great faith he was not disappointed, and we know that he left Garabandal very satisfied, with a heart full of joyous thoughts. We know that he was thrilled by what he had seen and heard . . . and sure that he had not lost the way. It could not be doubted that on those mountains something happened that affected him in a salutary way, something that, although it could not be explained, had brought him closer to a more important well-being. He could comprehend as never before those words of Christ, It is better for you to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. (Matt. 18: 8)
And what can be said of the recalcitrant couple? Throughout their life they will never forget those minutes of suspense.
They must have suffered intensely with the shame of knowing their unworthiness: the incompatibility on the same lips of sensual kisses and the kisses of the image of the Absolutely Pure. But then also, as never before, they must have been enlightened as to what lengths God will go to bring back sinners, to pardon them and purify them.
That kiss on a night in Garabandal, so unexpected and so urgent, must have marked the life of that couple with salvation. Before God there is nothing without importance.

What the storm wind cannot do,
Sometimes is done by a breeze;
And there are lives that are ruined,
By merely a smile.

If a smile, as the poet Peman(8) writes, could be
the ruin of a life, how much more a kiss properly given could be the start of salvation.

4. See footnote 5 from Chapter IV.

5. The kitchens in Garabandal were on the street level.

6. Father José Ramón García de la Riva mentions in his

«The girls began carrying the crucifix routinely in their
ecstasies from August of 1961. When they had the first call, they went to find the crucifix and hid it in their clothes; when the time of the ecstasy came, they had it in their fingers. During the ecstasy they gave it to the Virgin to kiss; later they sometimes kissed it themselves; and finally they gave it to be kissed by the persons who surrounded them, although not to everyone; and also they made the Sign of the Cross on themselves and on others with it.»

The pious use of holy images, their purpose, and their value
from salvation should be understood from this. It can be seen that statues, crucifixes and holy pictures are useful. With their expressions and attitudes, they tell of hidden but certain realities. Is not visual teaching in the forefront today? And images bring to mind persons and facts which have great importance for us, making us aware of them by association of ideas and reflections, recalling to mind and maintaining certain
physiological states.
Speaking to her sister Pauline, St. Therese of the Infant Jesus wrote down in her autobiography:
To the beautiful pictures that you have shown me, I owe some of the sweetest joys and strongest impressions which have inspired me to the practice of virtue. I pass my free time looking at them . . . The little flower of the Divine Prisoner, for example, has inspired me with such beautiful thoughts that I have remained all absorbed in them.
7. Fr. Valentín’s journal shows that this episode took place on the night of September 17th.

8. Peman, poet, dramatist and Spanish orator, born in 1898.
His most well-known dramatic works are El divino impaciente about St. Francis Xavier, and Cuando las cortes de Cadiz which tells about the resistance to Napoleon’s French troops at Cadiz.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 93)



Those who believe in Garabandal, accepting the series of events that occurred there as coming from God through the Blessed Mother, will consider Garabandal as a new Mystery of Salvation.
Or rather a new and exceptional manifestation of the great Mystery of Salvation.

That this is new and exceptional seems obvious;
but not everyone fully understands the meaning of The History of Salvation. What does this expression mean?
The long process of divine intervention on behalf of a creature so honored by Him as the human being—to pull him away from the harmful situation in which he has fallen and to place him on the right road toward his final goal—constitutes the History of Salvation.

It is not a history easy to understand. To comprehend it in its true dimension and meaning it is not enough to have high intelligence and a capability for good judgment, since the information that comes forth can be just as confusing as it is clear. And so our way through it is always between the light and the darkness: light that is sometimes marvelously bright, and darkness sometimes the blackest. Likewise in going through the History of Salvation we continually encounter the Mystery of God. And once more we find here the certain and enlightening truth
of Scripture, My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts, as the sky is above the earth, so . . .
The History or Mystery of Salvation has its official chapters that give the theme or the key to understanding the material, and which make up the Bible, the only writing known and approved with complete authority. But there also have come out, and continue to come out, complementary chapters. Without these, the official writings of the Scared Scripture would be very difficult for most people to understand, and consequently the march of history would fail to make place or come alive for them.
We can consider what has been written — in lines not always clear or straight — by the events of Garabandal as one of these complementary chapters of the last times.
Did not official revelation close with the death of the last apostle, John? While this is true, the history of salvation did not conclude with it, and the march of this mystery continues involving all people for the rise or for the fall (Luke 2: 34) even until the consummation comes. (Matt. 13: 39-49; 24: 29-31) Just as God has intervened by actions and words of salvation from the beginning, so He will intervene until the end; through Himself, or through others; through
His prophets, through His own Son,(1) through the Blessed Mother . . . I will be with you all days even until the end of time. (Matt 28: 20)
It is the Blessed Mother whom He has sent to act at Garabandal, especially in the early times that we are now describing. But it appears immediately clear that her action — it could not be otherwise — is immersed in the general dynamics of salvation which comes to us from God. (Luke 1: 77-79) We are facing a new manifestation of the great mystery of salvation that He has shown from the beginning to aid His human creatures.
The Mother of God and all mankind has appeared again among us to repeat one more time in her own name and on behalf of Him Who sent her, Salus populi, ego sum; de quacumque tribulatione clamaverint ad me, ego exaudiam — I am the salvation of the people, in whatever tribulation they call out to me I will hear them. (Introit of the votive mass "Pro quacumque necessitate")

* * *

News of the events soon began to spread out into the
surrounding areas, and many who were undergoing trials went with them to Garabandal . . . I have no evidence that the Virgin performed any obvious miracle at the time to free those coming for aid from physical or material tribulation. But there are innumerable persons who give revealing testimony that they have not come to her in vain, and that she certainly heard.
There were many mysterious answers given by the Virgin to questions arising from those tortured in the most hidden areas of their conscience.(2) And what peace, consolation of soul,(3) and security went out toward the countless participants of those almost daily ecstasies that some considered an excess that could not be justified, or ridiculed as a game that could not be accepted as coming from God. Those who desired to approach God with simplicity of heart (Wisdom 1: 1) found at Garabandal what they sought.
I now wish to insert a very unusual case. It occurred in the early days of September, 1961. Fr. Andreu was in Ceferino's tavern and store when a priest in a foul mood entered brusquely and made his way toward him aggressively.

Tell me, Are you Fr. Andreu?

— At your service.

Well, I am coming to tell you that I don't
like this.

— No one can know better than you what you
don't like . . . Nevertheless, I appreciate the information . . . Have you been here long?

Ten minutes.

— Man. I have been here four weeks, and still
haven't come to see everything clearly . . . And you . . . in ten minutes . . .

This was a priest from Asturías, strong, built like a truck driver. To get out from under this, since he saw right away that he was getting very irritated, Fr. Andreu called Dr. Ortiz of Santander who was passing by and said to him, Listen, Dr. Ortiz, this priest here is very interested in this. And since you are an intellectual, you can explain it to him.

Dr. Ortiz took the priest with him.

Ten minutes later the priest returned. But this time his attitude was completely different. He was pallid, trembling; not the same man.

Fr. Andreu, Fr. Andreu. It's for real! I'm
— Listen, Let's slow down. Ten minutes ago you didn't like it at all. And now you are already convinced? Doesn't it seem that you're going too fast?
See for yourself what has happened to me. I was walking over there with Dr. Ortiz when we came upon one of the girls named Jacinta in ecstasy. She came up to me and made the sign of the cross over me; and there was a short man at my side, and she made the sign of the cross over him too. And then she gave me a cross to kiss, and she also gave it to the short man. Then she made the sign of the cross over me again, and did the same to the little man. During this I thought, "If it is true that it is the Virgin who is appearing, then let the ecstasy end." At that very instant the girl lowered her head and looked at me entirely normal!

This left me breathless, and I said to her:

— Aren't you seeing the Virgin?

— No, señor.

— Why is that?

— Because she has gone away!

Then the girl turned around and walked
away. She couldn't have taken four steps when she fell into ecstasy again, and came toward us another time. She made the sign of the cross over me, and then the sign of the cross over the short man; and she gave me the cross to kiss, and she gave it to the little man to kiss . . .

— Listen, Listen.
Fr. Andreu interrupted him. Let me know who that short man is, for it seems to me that the really important one in this case is the little man and not you.
And so it actually was, as was soon revealed.

That short man was a parish priest from one of the villages.

For some time he had been terribly tormented by great doubts about his priestly ordination: whether or not he had a clear and explicit will to be ordained; and whether as a consequence, his ordination was valid or not; and thus, whether he would be exercising improperly and without effect his priestly functions. Only God could know what the man had been suffering because of these scruples.

When he heard talk of Garabandal and of the marvels that were happening there, he thought that he might be able to find a way out of his dark tunnel.

As soon as he could, he went to the celebrated village. But before arriving there, he disguised himself carefully. (At that time it was very unusual for a priest or religious to take off his cassock or his habit without serious reason.) He had so carefully disguised himself that Fr. Andreu said, There was no way to suspect even remotely the presence of a priest there; his outfit was the strangest that could be imagined.

It was an initial and consoling response to the priest's interior doubts that the girl was so definitely repeating on him everything that she had done previously to the priest who was at his side . . . But that was not enough. What can immediately settle a scrupulous conscience! After the first joy, spiritual confusion returned, and he thought, I cannot leave like this; I need more proof.

He found a place in a stable to pass the night and hoped to see if on the following day he would obtain the absolutely convincing proofs that he needed so much.
The new day came and the poor man did not have to wait for nightfall, as would ordinarily be the case. Already in the morning there was an important ecstasy; many persons were gathering for the celestial visit, and our little man naturally was in the front row.
When the girl in ecstasy began to hold out the crucifix to be kissed, the people rapidly formed a line along her path so that the girl could do it easier. The little man positioned himself like everyone else in the middle of the line, and from there observed with what celestial grace the visionary offered the crucifix, and with what feeling those lined up were coming to kiss it, one after the other . . . But he did not content himself with observing; his mind was working, and he formed this idea: If I am truly a priest, instead of giving me the crucifix to kiss like the others, let the girl come and make the sign of the cross over me with it.

Then the girl came up to the police chief who was
so well disposed to the cause of Garabandal. She stopped in front of him, smiled, and without looking at him — actually she looked at no one, since during the ecstasy she held her face turned sharply upwards — she slowly made the sign of the cross over him. Then she continued her way down the line, presenting the crucifix to be kissed . . . She came in front of the little man, and she made the sign of the cross over him! The answer seemed very clear; but . . .
The man was hard to satisfy. He did not hesitate to think, This isn't enough since she made the sign of the cross over the police chief too, and the police chief isn't a priest. If instead of this she would have given the crucifix to everyone without exception to kiss, and on me — only on me — she would have made the sign of the cross three times, then there definitely would have been no doubt.

He had not finished thinking this when the girl
interrupted her path and made her way back to the beginning of the line, to once more begin holding up the crucifix to be kissed . . . She came again in front of the police chief, and she must have heard something from the Vision, since she was heard to ask, What? Following a brief pause, she smiled, and gave the holy image to him to kiss like the others . . . When she arrived in front of the little man again, we can imagine his emotions. The girl was very carefully making the sign of the cross over him repeatedly — until it was done three times! And something more; she said to him very clearly, Yes.
That was too much; the poor man tried to hide his tears while the girl continued down the line, and he went to the church as soon as he could. There in the sacristy he opened up the sack that he had taken with him; he put on his priest's cassock with more feeling than ever before, and then fell on his knees in front of the Tabernacle, without being able to express to the Lord and His Mother all his feelings of love and gratitude.
When he left the church, he was truly another person, much more interiorly than exteriorly.
How many ineffable mercies of God came through the Virgin to the souls of those who ascended the high places of Garabandal, believing to have found there a throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. (Heb. 6: 16) As for those who came for other favors of lesser value —like an improvement in health, the settling of a difficult situation, the solution of some definite problem— and who to the eyes of others would have appeared to have wasted the trip, they ended feeling deep in their souls that they had not come, nor hoped, nor prayed in vain. In their contacts with the MYSTERY OF SALVATION, if their hearts were well disposed, they had not come away with empty hands.

1. Beginning of the epistle to the Hebrews.

2. One example among a thousand:

The Talavera brothers, who own a hairdressing salon in Astillero (Santander), tell with full knowledge of the matter about what happened to a man from Aguilar de Campoo.
He had gone up to Garabandal during the summer of 1961. While seeing Conchita in ecstasy, he had mentally petitioned the Virgin for an answer to something that was really bothering him . . . The ecstasy ended, and none of the girls came to give him any message. Somewhat hurt, he returned home.
A month passed and he again felt the desire of visiting Garabandal. There he was able to witness an ecstasy of Mari Loli that affected him. After the trance, the man had lost himself among the anonymous spectators (he did not know any of the visionaries personally) when the girl went up to him, and told him on behalf of the Virgin words which were the exact response to what he had requested a month earlier, only mentally, and in front of another girl! This man was ready to swear that he absolutely had not spoken with anyone about his most secret petition.
The Virgin was coming to assist, not to entertain. On the 31st of August, among the many things that the girls were told to ask the Virgin, one was whether it was good for the people to ask questions . . . She answered yes, but that she was not going to answer pointless questions. On more than one occasion, questions of this type were made by people without understanding and without good intentions.

3. Fr. José Ramón García de la Riva, who personally experienced
many of the little wonders of Garabandal, mentions in his Memorias:
«One day I placed a white metal crucifix on the little table where Loli had arranged the articles to present to the Virgin. Since she couldn’t see this, she sought all day to know the owner. She questioned one of my friends about this . . .
During the night I was seated in Conchita’s kitchen when Loli came in ecstasy, accompanied by her father and other people. She knelt down, presented the crucifix she held in her hand to be kissed, and stayed quietly in front of me. She wanted to give me something, but because of my nearsightedness and being more intent on her face than her hands, I didn’t notice it until Ceferino said to me, Look, she’s giving you a crucifix. It was one of the most thrilling moments of my life! It was the metal crucifix that I had left in her house in the morning, without her seeing it, and which had so intrigued her throughout the day.»

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 92)

The First Episcopal

We return now to those days in August.

The pastor from Barro spent the night of August 22nd in Garabandal. He did not sleep well because of the ineffable impression made on him by the phenomena that he had seen, and by the not-so-ineffable impression made on him by the Commission.
«On the following morning, on going outside after Mass, I saw Fr. Valentín next to the narrow bridge that crosses over the little creek. He was talking with Fr. Ramón Andreu. They came toward me and Fr. Valentín told me on the commission's request that I had to leave the village.
I told them that I knew this and even more, and that I really regretted being obliged to leave since my intention was to remain several more days in this village I liked so much.
Then Fr. Valentín spoke with Fr. Andreu for a few seconds and came up to say to me, We have considered something else. You are going to stay here today as the parish priest since I have to go to Santander. He gave me the key to the church and I was very happy since this fulfilled my desire of staying in the village at least another day.
Afterwards I told Fr. Andreu that I felt inclined to write a registered letter to the bishop of Santander telling him about the bad impression that the Commission had made on me. This seemed good to him and so I wrote it.»


After the 23rd of August, 1961, the little
church at San Sebastián no longer was to be the scene of the children's trances and games.
«In the afternoon on that day — unforgettable for me — Fr. Andreu told me that the notification had come from the bishop to shut the church doors to the girls while they were in ecstasy.
I was the one who had to comply for the first time with this order. That day on finishing the rosary, recited as usual at nightfall, the girls went into ecstasy . . . On returning from one of their walks through the village, Loli and Jacinta came back toward the church, and I was struck by the way in which they stopped before the courtyard. At the time I found myself with my back to the closed door. Loli and Jacinta were in front of me at the entrance to the courtyard outside. The girls certainly were not aware that the door was going to be shut, for only those who had given the order and I myself knew this.
I heard Loli say, Why have they closed the church to us? We aren't coming to do anything wrong! If it isn't open for us, we won't enter anymore.
Since it wasn't possible for me to enter into their conversation, I then said, You're right. But it's necessary to obey orders.
A woman there present answered, You're only doing your duty.

* * *

Everyone could verify that after the 23rd of
August, 1961, the visionaries never again entered the church in ecstasy, thus strictly obeying the order from Santander. They satisfied themselves with going around the church with those who accompanied them, reciting the rosary and singing the Salve Regina. And even when the Mystical Communions took place, none of them were given inside the church, but under the roof overhang.»


To better relive the atmosphere of Garabandal
in that period of summer, 1961, I want to assemble here some important information from the last days of August, which I have taken from Fr. Valentín's notes.
«August 29th: Conchita went into ecstasy at 11 o'clock and I heard her ask, Aren't all priests good? She made an expression of amazement. Later I asked her about that expression, and she told me that she couldn't talk about it. But finally she explained that the Virgin had told her that actually, Not all priests are good.
August 30th: Conchita sent out of her house (in ecstasy) at 12:10; she made trips through the village. Near the door of the church, she was heard to say, I thought all Jesuits were good.»


I think that this special mention of Jesuits is
due to her association with the Andreu brothers.
In those days Loli and Jacinta had several ecstasies in which Conchita did not take part in spite of being present. At those times, Fr. Valentín used her to question the other visionaries. And he wrote down:
«If Conchita makes the questions by word, the girls in ecstasy don't understand; she has to make the questions mentally. The same happened on the previous Saturday, (undoubtedly August 19th) when Jacinta came out of ecstasy and Loli remained in it; Conchita asked questions mentally.
This was repeated on the night of August 30th. Conchita, in the normal state, conversed by thought with Jacinta and Loli in ecstasy, and they answered with words.»

· · · · ·

When the registered letter of Fr. José Ramón
arrived at the chancery in Santander, Bishop Fernández must have already prepared the first public statement about the events of Garabandal. The diocesan Boletín Oficial published it in its August, 1961 issue. Dated August 26th, it read like this:

In answer to the constant questions that have been asked us concerning the nature of the events that are occurring in the village of San Sebastián de Garabandal, and with the desire to instruct the faithful in the correct interpretation of these events, we have felt ourselves obligated to study these things closely in order to fulfill our pastoral duty.
With this end, we have named a commission of persons of well-known prudence and knowledge to inform us with complete assurance of objectivity and competency about these events.

In view of the information that they have presented to us, we believe it premature to pronounce any definite decision on the nature of the phenomena in question. Nothing up to the present obliges us to affirm that the events
occurring there are supernatural.
Considering all this, and withholding a final judgment on the things that may happen in the future, we have to say:

1) It is our wish that the diocesan priests, as well as the priests from other dioceses and religious of both sexes who are not under our jurisdiction, abstain from visiting San Sebastián de Garabandal from now on.

2) We would advise the Christian people not to come to this place until the ecclesiastical authority gives a final statement on the case.

By these temporary measures, we are not hindering God's action on souls; on the contrary, by
avoiding the spectacular character of these events, the light of truth is greatly facilitated.

Doroteo, Bishop of Santander

Undoubtedly this first document has a desirable tone of intelligence and prudence that gives honor to the one who composed it. The bishop believes in proceeding in a most cautious manner, based on the trust put in his investigators. But certain of his expressions have to be taken with reserve because of the information that we have previously brought out.
With the information previously given in mind, it is not easy to be convinced that the facts were studied «closely», nor that the Commission informed us «with complete guarantee of objectivity and competence.» And if there is reason to not completely trust the research and official investigators, the statement derived from them that «nothing obliges us to affirm that these events are supernatural» loses much of its strength.
His two recommendations might be very prudent. But if he wishes that the whole judgment of the events be entrusted to the Commission, and the Commission members do not concern themselves much about their obligation, then whose duty is it to investigate, give testimony on, and elucidate these events that are so much beyond the normal routine of Church happenings?
I regret to have to say this; but it seems to me that the actions of the diocesan hierarchy did not proceed in the right direction for the complicated investigation of Garabandal.

Monday, April 27, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 91)

Lucio Rodrigo: a man of books, a man of souls,
and a man of God.

The ecclesiastical University of Comillas, located in the village of the same name on the Santander coast, directed by the Jesuits of the ancient observance, has had an importance in the life of the Church in Spain as no other teaching institution during the first 50 years of this century.
Class after class of priests have gone out from its walls to occupy later the most varied positions in the apostolate and hierarchy. It has had illustrious professors and teachers; but among those of the highest rank—well known to the Spanish clergy— must be included the person of the one who held the Chair of Moral Theology year after year, Fr. Lucio Rodrigo: a man of books, a man of souls, and a man of God.
The first news about Garabandal came to Fr. Lucio Rodrigo toward the end of July, 1961 through a priest from Madrid — Father Gamazo, one of his former pupils. Fr. Gamazo came impressed, very favorably impressed, by what he was able to see and touch in the secluded village. Later on, at the request of Fr. Rodrigo, this priest wrote down a report that Fr. Rodrigo kept, as a treasure, because it is the best that I have seen.
Fr. Rodrigo thought that this news was of major interest and wrote a letter to San Sebastián, to the marquese of Comillas, who was closely connected to the ecclesiastical University. (Her grandfather, the second marque of Comillas, Claudio Lopez Bru, had founded the University in the days of Leo XIII.)
A few days later the marquese arrived with her mother, the widow of the count of Ruisenada. On the 4th or 5th of August they all went up to Garabandal; but they came down without seeing anything, since they could not wait until night. It was no surprise that the countess was afraid: No, no! We can't wait. At night we could get killed on those horrible roads.
Thus the first trip to Garabandal was unsuccessful for Fr. Rodrigo in his purpose of examining attentively the unusual phenomena. But soon a new opportunity presented itself. Alberto Martín Artajo, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, connected to the Jesuits by family ties and education, came to Comillas; with him Fr. Lucio Rodrigo was able to come a second time to Garabandal. It was on the 14th of August, slightly after the death of Fr. Luis María Andreu. And this time Fr. Rodrigo was able to see what so interested him close at hand.
He did not make a judgment right away; he continued to observe, reflect, and entreat God for light. And at the end of many other visits, and no small amount of reflection, he formed his opinion: «That, in its entirety, the weight of evidence and proof was in favor of a supernatural character of divine origin.»
He said «in its entirety». Not all the facts appeared equally clear to Fr. Rodrigo. Furthermore, he felt that the visionaries had acted with stupidity through the influence of priests who were indiscreet, and secular visitors still more indiscreet.
But the affair «in its entirety» was sufficiently clear that the unprejudiced observer could see in it a new intervention from God in favor of mankind.
Soon the rumor came to Santander that Fr. Lucio Rodrigo, although maintaining a conduct of absolute prudence, had visited Garabandal. And the members of the Commission saw in this both a great danger and a great opportunity for them because of the prestige and influence that Fr. Rodrigo had with the many priests whom he had taught. A great danger, if he openly held a position differing from the position that they sought to impose; a great opportunity, if they swayed him to their point of view.
On one of the first mornings of September in that summer of 1961, a telephone rang at the Pontifical University with a call from Santander asking for Fr. Rodrigo. The caller was told that he was in San Vincente de la Barquera at the home of Señor X, and the phone call (35) pursued him there. It was the members of the Commission who wished to see him. An interview was arranged, and a few hours later the Reverend Fathers José María Saez, Juan Antonio del Val and Francisco Odriozola, accompanied by Dr. Piñal, arrived in San Vicente.
The three priests, who had been pupils of Fr. Rodrigo at Comillas, seemed to be coming to seek light to deal with the delicate matter. But the professor soon noticed that his former pupils were not coming for this reason, but rather to win him over to their own point of view. «It was not difficult for me to understand»—he declared to a trustworthy person—«that they were not seeking my opinion as an element to help them form a judgment. They came with a judgment already made, holding a position opposed to any possible supernatural nature of the events.»
Because of this, he let them speak. And later he said to them something like this, that they could take if they wished. In the face of events like those at Garabandal, two definite positions come up right away. The first: that of people who are devout and uncomplicated, who soon get excited and easily believe it to be from God. The second: that of priests and other persons, more or less intellectual, who in the beginning always are suspicious and easily tend to deny and draw back as if this were the most intelligent approach. But there is a third position, which is undeniably the safest and the only one admissible when there is a grave responsibility toward the matter as in this case. And this position is to seriously examine the facts, investigate them with complete impartiality, without hurry and without prejudice, seeking the truth, which is seeking God above everything else.
Fr. Rodrigo confided to the person mentioned that he was already finding in the members of the Commission something that later would become clear: that they «were searching especially for negative information and evidence.»
The group stood up and at one time Fr. José María Saez remained almost alone with Fr. Rodrigo; he leaned toward the father to say, I'm with you, Fr. Rodrigo. Fr. José María Saez was without doubt the best intellectual and theologian among the priests of the Commission. With this reserved statement he did not mean to say that he shared the point of view of Fr. Rodrigo on the determination of the facts of Garabandal, but that he agreed with him as to the attitude to take in the investigation and examination.

35. Father Rodrigo had gone to the well-known maritime village, a few kilometers from Comillas, to hear the confessions of the religious of the convent of Cristo Rey. He stayed in the house of a man who was the director of a bank there.

Friday, April 24, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 90)

“If this comes from God, it will make its own way.”

Let others waste their time stupidly following such bewildering phenomena. They, who were the important ones since they had the authority, did not have to follow the thing closely; they had already measured it from afar and knew what it was about. They had heard from the doctor, the priest, and the photographer . . . Case dismissed!
What was disturbing to them was that there were still those obstinate and ignorant people who were holding onto a different opinion from theirs.

Let us hear again from Fr. José Ramón García de la Riva:
«I remained in the church until 11 o'clock, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I prayed, I reflected. I listened attentively from my place to all that I could hear, which wasn't difficult for everything was said in a loud voice, and nothing seemed to be secret.(33)
For example, I made out perfectly the following sentences, spoken by one of the two priests:
—We'll close the church to this cult.
—We'll give the pastor Father Valentín a month's vacation. Since he seems to be so nervous now, he'll gladly take it.
—We'll order the Jesuit to leave.
—We'll forbid priests to come up to the village.
—And if this comes from God, it will make its own way.»


Brilliant statement, that last one, from the
mouths of theologians and priests. As if it were the style of God to impose His way on His human creatures, overcoming all the obstacles and breaking down all the barriers. Were they unaware that God wants to use man in all His acts of salvation? It is necessary to prepare the way with an attitude of sincerity and a mind open to His will—searching docile, with a right intention, with prudence and devotion. God can open a way in spite of all obstacles from man, but He also abandons certain plans of mercy because of those same obstacles. In any case, unfortunate will those be who take a stance more to create difficulties than to seek in their hearts to understand.
It is no wonder that Fr. de la Riva, after describing what happened, says this:

«This is really some program of investigation
and procedure by a Commission that finds itself before such serious events! Here comes, as at the praetorium of Pilate, a washing of hands . . . »


Meanwhile, the bishop, relying on the good faith
of the doctors and priests, forms on this foundation the «Notas» that we will learn later.
Since what the pastor of Barro has written in his memoirs is very strongly opposed to the Commission, I have sought to corroborate and confirm it with other testimony, and here are some others that I have collected.
«From the impressions that I received from others and from what I myself was able to observe on that day, I have to say that the procedure of the members of the Commission was not at the level of the charge received. They did not apply themselves to observe the affairs personally and from close-up . . . Nor did they get information from the girls or the parish priest. I know that on one of the few times that they came during the ecstasies of the girls, they spent their time in the sacristy, talking, smoking, and joking about the phenomena.»

(A Pastor from León)

«As for the doctors of the Commission, I can say that none of them went up to Garabandal more than five times. Also, they never bothered to stay in order to better observe the children and their surroundings. As for the priests, who are said to be part of the Commission, I met Father Odriozola (now canon) and Father Del Val (now bishop) for the first time in Garabandal on the 22nd of August, 1961. They hardly bothered to personally observe the events. The one among them who saw the most ecstasies only saw half a dozen; and never, it was obvious, when they took place at untimely hours.»

(A Santander doctor, in a letter of May 30th, 1970)

«I know from Ceferino, Loli's father, that the
members of the Commission very seldom came up to the village. Perhaps not all of them even came . . . And Loli told me that while she was in the college at Balmori (Asturias) that they didn't speak with the girls . . . that they satisfied themselves with what the crowd in the village or some of the visitors said.»

(Fr. de la Riva in a letter of June 1st, 1970)

«I was able to observe that during the year of 1961, I only saw the doctors of the Commission at Garabandal on three days.
Once at the time when Mr. Roche of Saltos del Nansa told me that the visionaries didn't come to the Cuadro on that day because Dr. Morales stopped them and hypnotized them in the calleja, with the result already known . . .
Another time—on the 18th of October, during the first message—when they were protected by the police so that no one would bother them, since the people of the village were angry because of their actions.
And a third time, the night that they were in Garabandal while all the people were sleeping to see if they could secretly bring the visionaries to Santander.»

(Juan Alvarez Seco, the local police chief)

Let us add two facts from the testimonies:

1. That the Commission never compiled a process of investigation in the required form.

2. That they never conversed seriously with
the pastor, Father Valentín Marichalar, from whom they still have not sought a formal declaration.

As can be seen, this is a grave matter, and later
further evidence will be brought forth concerning it. I only wish to put down here some of the things about which I am well informed, which have great importance, and which chronologically belong to the hour of Garabandal that we are now describing.

33. Concerning the debate that took place on that night in the little sacristy before the Commission made its decision, we have this short reference from Dr. Ortiz:

«There, in the presence of the pastor Fr. Valentín Marichalar, Fr. Andreu S.J., and those that said they were the Commission, I tried to show them that they were mistaken in many of their opinions . . . And I had to finish by saying that I had not come there to waste my time arguing, that the first thing that had to be
done was to observe the affair very closely.»

It was when they were alone that the Commission members delivered in the way that Fr. de la Riva described to us.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 89)

After the recitation of the rosary, while the people were still leaving the church, the first phenomena were already taking place.
«Inside of the church, Mari Cruz fell forward by the altar of the Immaculate Conception, and the other girls fell on top of Mari Cruz. I noticed with amazement that, though the girls had fallen violently on the ground, nevertheless their clothes remained in proper position, covering their knees. They were as if in a sculptured group, more to be seen and admired than to be described. At this time Father Andreu pointed out that Father Royo Marín, in his book on ascetics and mystics, spoke of human sculptural groups that the mystics sometimes form in their ecstasies.
Having seen this, and after the girls had left the church and were continuing their ecstasy in the village, I returned to the sanctuary and there gave my entire attention to speaking in prayer to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. My whole desire was to petition light from God for the bishop and for those charged with studying all this.
Several times the girls returned to the church and placed themselves next to me on the step of the sanctuary. All I had to do was turn my head slightly to one side, and I could see perfectly the complete display of the phenomena, mystical in appearance. In a low voice they prayed fervently in front of the tabernacle. All their comportment was of amazing beauty: head tilted lightly backwards, their countenances shining— as if lit by an interior luminance that would have been dazzling, if it had not been tempered by an infinite softness.»
But on the night of August 22nd, 1961, the pastor from Barro was able to see first hand not only the unique spectacle of those girls swept out of themselves by the mysterious force; he was also able to take in with his eyes and ears the manner of action undertaken by those there with sacred obligations toward the young girls and their affairs . . .
«My whole desire»—the good priest tells us— «was to petition light from God for the bishop and for those charged with studying all this.»


He did not know that on that day he would meet
there, by an unusual coincidence, those so charged. And with dispositions hardly open to receive the Light of God, as we will see . . .
«The members of the diocesan Commission» (he was not then aware of their existence; he would learn about it later) «appeared soon after the rosary while the girls were walking in ecstasy through the village. And I would have to say that in my judgment the actions of the members of the Commission on that day were not deserving of applause.»


On one of the occasions when the girls had
returned to the church, Dr. Piñal approached and from the entrance asked in a very loud voice which all those around the visionaries could hear:
—«What? Is this comedy still going on?

—If there's a comedian here, it's you! answered
Dr. Ortiz from Santander, who at that time was carefully taking Conchita's pulse. The sanctuary is not the appropriate place to talk this way, especially in public.

The two doctors had not recognized each other; but it was only a matter of a few seconds.
Dr. Ortiz—Oh! So it's you?
Dr. Piñal—I have to say something to you in the sacristy.
Dr. Ortiz—O.K. In the sacristy. You can say what you want.»


Then they went into the sacristy and «there
ended» according to what Father José Ramón says, «the investigation by the doctors of the Commission on that day; an investigation that ended before it began.»
But did the Commission priests act in the same way? Let us hear the witness:
«One of the priests of the Commission went up to the sanctuary and taking a position there, with his back to the Blessed Sacrament and his face toward the people, unhesitatingly made this comment in a loud voice, I don't believe in this . . . whatever may happen.»(32)


It seems that here also ended the theological
investigation made by the Commission on that night.
Now the Commission had brought along its official photographer. He stopped also at the sacristy, and there was next to the priest who would not believe «whatever might happen». Father José Ramón heard him say, «I am not a professional photographer; however . . .»
Since the photographer's camera was automatic, loaded with a roll of color film, and had a flash attachment, Father José Ramón indicated to him that it would be a shame to lose the valuable photographs that he could take of Jacinta and Loli,

who were then kneeling on a step «with a truly extraordinary grace and pose». The answer of the photographer was disdainful and curt: that he had already taken the pictures that he had to take.

Coming to this point, we have to say that on that night the action of the Commission described by this eyewitness cannot be held up as a model for imitation.
They were not on the scene of the events at the hour of prayer. (Perhaps it might be said that this was due to the many things that they had to discuss; perhaps so that the devotion might not disturb their thinking). They only came later, as if to cast a glance and see how to take measures against those obstinate in continuing with this.

They did not consider it worthwhile to follow the visionaries closely in their trances so as to understand the thing from its foundations, not miss any pieces, and have complete background and information upon which to solidly base a judgment. Let others be bothered with those streets and trailways! Let others lose their sleep in long and pointless vigils!

32. The author of this not so prudent declaration was not Fr. Odriozola, who seemed to be almost always the megaphone for the Commission; we will not mention his name out of respect for him.