WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 97).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 97)

 

 

Muriel Catherine receives her First Communion


«The two girls,» — continued Ascensión de Luis — «were sitting in front of us on some small low benches like those still seen in the kitchens of the village. And on their laps they held the religious articles given to them to offer the Virgin to kiss. As soon as their apprehension had eased, they began to speak about Catherine, since they were heard clearly. She isn’t a Catholic . . . No, she isn’t a Catholic . . . She isn’t baptized . . . Come, help her . . . Oh! because of her parents! They remained for some time on this topic.»
And then they began to offer the vision the objects that they held on their knees. It was something worth seeing. Without lowering their heads, or moving their gaze from the spot on which it was fixed, they took the articles one by one. Raising up an arm with great grace as if to touch the lips of whoever had to be kissing them, they remained like this a few seconds with the arm on high and then lowered it in its place.
When the turn for my rosary came, they were heard to say, Oh! With this rosary she learned to pray . . . With it she said her first Hail Marys . . . Her first Hail Marys . . . It was Loli who presented my rosary, and she continued repeating this. She was putting it down among the other articles when Jacinta took it in her hand and raised it again up towards the vision, repeating in her turn, as if it were something coming from inside of her, Her first Hail Marys . . . Her first Hail Marys . . . Finally she put it down on top of Loli’s knees together with all the other articles.
My excitement was tremendous; and it was even greater when I learned that this certainly was the only article that had received the Virgin’s kiss twice, since they had told me that when the girls presented something that had been once kissed, although it had been done a long time previously, they were accustomed to put it down immediately saying, You say that this has already been kissed. Because of this, from then on I kept the rosary as a real treasure.
When they had finished offering the Virgin all that they had there, they were heard to say, Now? Good! And Loli reached her hand behind the little bench on which they were sitting toward the bottle of holy water that had been set down there. She took it, opened it up, and threw it forcefully upwards in front of her . . .

And then we could notice a little wonder. The
water didn’t fall where it should have fallen naturally — upon me, the one who was the closest and the one in front of Mari Loli — but rather, making a mysterious curve in its path, it fell in the shape of a little shower on top of Catherine, who was facing Jacinta. Fr. Valentín, who was almost leaning against Catherine, behind her, assured me that not a single drop had fallen on him. I, who was holding her arm — we were leaning against each other because of the excitement — can also testify that nothing touched me. On the contrary, Catherine felt fully this mysterious bath. Not only on her head, but also on her dress and even on her feet. “Yes, I was drenched!” And I ought to say that this was a very small bottle, and it was not completely full since part of its contents had been splashed on the kitchen floor slightly before the coming of the apparition. »

__________


The mysterious meaning of the episode is clear.
The young 19 year old girl, through the mercy of the Lord in heaven, had already been brought to the faith, but there was something still lacking in order to enter fully into the City of God, to be counted among His sons:

Go into the whole world.
And preach the gospel to every creature.
He who believes and IS BAPTIZED shall be saved.
But he who does not believe shall be condemned.
(Mark 16: 15-16)


Thus heaven intervened miraculously to inspire
Catherine to make the last step in the process of entering onto the way of salvation. And that unique intervention had a good ending, as we shall see later.
«A little later» — continues Ascensión de Luis — «we saw Loli anxiously searching among the kissed objects, and repeating in a worried manner, Hers, hers . . . Where is hers? It’s very small . . . Finally, as if someone were mysteriously guiding her, she put her hand on the floor near her feet, and picked up a small medal of the Virgin of Lourdes, no more than two or three centimeters in size. It belonged to Catherine and we had given it to the girls when we entered, together with the rosary and some of my medals. And the girls had put them among the many articles that were awaiting the Virgin’s kiss; in the course of the ecstasy it had fallen on the floor. The image was so tiny that I am sure it would not have been possible to find it there in the poorly lit kitchen if the hand of the girl had not been guided by someone.
Loli raised up her arm to offer the medal to be kissed; but in spite of stretching as much as she could, it appeared that she was not able to reach. Then she picked up the things that she had on her lap and on top of her knees and stood up. She set the articles on the little bench, and stretched as much as she could on the tips of her toes . . . But it was seen that she still did not reach. Then Jacinta stood up in turn, picked Loli up by her knees — without the least effort — and raised her up as if she were a feather. I haven’t seen a more beautiful picture: the two girls with their heads tilted backwards, their faces shining with the most ineffable happiness, smiling, making all their movements with an unsurpassable grace . . .

Loli, with her arm on high, tried to reach up with the little medal to the mysterious being that was there. She appeared to have succeeded, and after that Jacinta lowered her down, while addressing her voice upwards, I? . . . I should give it to her? . . . I should put it in her pocket? . . . She approached Catherine, who was breathless with excitement. (Catherine was seated on another one of those low benches, and it couldn’t be observed whether her jacket had pockets or not. Without looking, Loli then said, Here, here is the pocket! And very carefully she put in it the little medal that seemed to have considerably more importance than its size represented.

Following this, the two girls (who were standing
in front) began to lean toward us, while rigid and in a very difficult posture, seemingly one that they could not hold without falling. And a little later, with an astounding naturalness, they returned to their normal position. In speaking of this, it might not seem to be much, but I can tell you that observing it was a real marvel because of the expressions on their faces and the gracefulness of their movements.
Again Loli began inclining her body, this time only toward Catherine, to the point of resting almost on top of her, in a posture impossible to hold and without a single motion of loss of equilibrium or balance. Instinctively we stretched out our hands, since it seemed impossible that she wouldn’t tumble down. But Fr. Valentín said to us, Let her alone. She won’t fall. She was like this a few seconds and returned to her normal position. I had the impression that the girls were drawn where the apparition (or the Virgin) moved, without ever taking their eyes from her, and that she held and supported them in their most difficult and remarkable positions.
Finally the two girls began to talk to the Virgin. Here? We should pray here? . . . And without going out on the street, as on so many other occasions, they began to pray right there — and how they did it! — a Station to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, while we joined with them as well as we could. Later we saw the farewells: they positioned their faces, first the one girl, then the other, in an attitude of receiving a kiss on each cheek, while they spoke out with most intense desire, Don’t go so quickly! . . . Stay a little longer! . . . I don’t know how long this lasted, but certainly more than a half hour.»

__________


Ascensión de Luis kept a definite and unforgettable
remembrance of that 28th of August, 1961 not only because of the number of things that happened there to her French friend, but also because it was her first visit to Garabandal. Many other trips followed as this young woman from Burgos is one of the persons most linked with the famous events. This first trip was a special day for her: the anniversary of the death of her own mother on August 28th. With regard to this, she received marvelous information from heaven at the time when the girls presented a memento of the departed for kissing. Hidden within it was a small leaf from a calendar, but a leaf with a tale . . .
Catherine had to endure the misunderstanding and opposition of her parents. But finally, providentially, she was able to return to Spain in 1963; and still more providentially, she was able to obtain the necessary permit for remaining temporarily to work in Burgos . . . And on the 20th of October, she solemnly received Baptism in the city’s magnificent cathedral. The girls had not petitioned for her in vain. In several apparitions they were heard remembering her case, and repeating later in their requests: At 21 years . . . when she will be an adult . . . Yes, at 21 years, at an adult age, Muriel Catherine entered into the family of the sons of God with a very Christian and Spanish-French name: María del Carmen Catherine.

Could she ever arrive at measuring the depth
and width of the mystery of salvation to which she had been brought by the decisive assistance of Our Lady visiting us at Garabandal?
But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Spirit, Whom He has poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior: that being justified by His grace, we may be heirs according to the hope of everlasting life. (Titus 3: 4-7)

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 96).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 96)

Jacinta by her home where the miraculous
religious experience took place

 

From the Water
of Garabandal
to the Water of Baptism


Toward the end of the summer in 1961 there was
a unique episode that illustrated the work of salvation that the Virgin came to perform at Garabandal.
Through a series of circumstances which many might attribute to chance or fate, but which we who have the faith attribute to Providence, a young woman from Paris arrived in the early summer of 1960 at the home of a young woman in Burgos. The young woman from Paris was 18 years old; her name was Muriel Catherine.(13) The young woman from Burgos was slightly older, and was called Ascensión de Luis. The latter informed us of very interesting details about the way Muriel Catherine providentially chose her home and why she stayed with her.

The young Parisienne came desiring to learn the Spanish customs, and at the same time to have
some new experiences and explore new horizons. Her parents allowed her exceptional freedom, and so she traveled alone without restriction throughout other countries in Europe.
Ascensión de Luis was employed in a state agency and was living almost alone in her family’s apartment, since she had lost her parents at an early age, and her brothers and sisters had gone to live by themselves. Because of this she had agreed to have the unknown French student stay with her temporarily. Ascensión was deeply religious, marked by an extraordinary devotion to the Virgin, whose maternal help — she was the only mother that she still had — she had sought efficaciously in the important times of her life. Living the faith was for her the most natural thing in the world; and so on the first Sunday in which the French girl stayed in her home, she spontaneously said to Muriel, What time shall we go to Mass?

Muriel accepted the invitation readily and arm in arm the two went to church. However, it did not take Ascensión de Luis long to notice that her companion was out of place there; her unfamiliarity was evident, though she tried to do as well as possible what she saw the others do.
The reason for this was soon explained, as between the two had grown an excellent mutual understanding and affection; The French girl was not Catholic. Worse still, she did not have any religion. And it was not really her fault. Her father was a Jew, her mother a Protestant; but neither of them practiced religion.
And as a result their three children,
who had grown up without instruction, did not concern themselves about religion.
This discovery brought Ascensión to a greater interest and an almost maternal solicitude for Catherine. It seemed to her that God and the Virgin had confined the French girl with her so that she could open up to her the horizons of faith and hope, to introduce her to the way of salvation. Ascensión entrusted this matter to Our Lady in heaven, and set to work.
«I was quite moved when she told me that she didn’t have any religion. I told her it wasn’t possible to live like this, that she ought to accept her mother’s religion or her father’s . . . Or, since she knew me, a Catholic, she might even interest herself also in our religion, which is the most demanding, but also the most pure — the true religion! And so, comparing one with the others, she could see which would bring her the closest to God.
We began instructions right away, and we held them constantly during July and August of that year.»

__________

Catherine responded well, since she was a good person; and even had a little sentiment in her first experiences, in her first prayers. Ascensión remembers them kneeling together in front of a picture of Our Lady of Fatima, with some details that are quite remarkable, and her disciple’s first Hail Marys on a silver rosary that Ascensión possessed and used as a precious treasure.
As Catherine liked Spain very much and its customs pleased her, she decided to write her parents to allow her to stay there longer. They answered that she should come to get her winter clothes, and so she went. Arriving in Paris and well versed in religion, she began to tell her parents that she would turn Catholic. She thought that — since they had not given her any religion — it would not matter to them that she embraced the one that seemed the best . . . But that was not the way it was. When she told her parents what she was thinking of doing, their reaction was violent; her father shouted out, Of all things, to become a Catholic! This was considered a real dishonor to the family. Coupled with the little liking that he had for Spanish people, the result of all this was that her father did not let Catherine return.
«But I continued writing to her; and in July of the following year, 1961, many difficulties and the firm opposition of her father having been providentially overcome, Catherine arrived here again. A few days later, for the first time there came to me the news or the rumor that there were apparitions happening in a village of Santander called San Sebastían de Garabandal . . . And then it occurred to me: If the Virgin appeared at Fatima, why couldn’t she appear here?
Then I thought that — if this were true, something from God — here could well be the best means for the conversion of my friend . . .
I obtained information on what was happening in the little village of the Montaña province; and we set out on the way; she had more faith than I myself.
On arriving on August 27th, a Sunday, we met a disagreeable situation: a tour group was giving all this a picnic atmosphere, as if it were more like a bazaar than a serious religious matter. We met a Salesian priest who was also upset. On observing the attitude of the crowd he had become angry, saying among other things that all this had the best indications of being diabolical.
At this point the pastor of the village passed by and approached him to calm him. You can’t judge this by what is happening here, by what is seen in this crowd. Wait and see the ecstasies of the girls, which you haven’t seen yet.
Nevertheless the priest was not calmed down, and I remember him being very concerned about whether they had done exorcisms on the girls . . . And if they hadn’t done this, then whether they shouldn’t be done as soon as possible. This priest lived in America and had planned to stay there in Garabandal two or three days to study all this better; I know that later he departed very enthusiastic.»

__________

The priest’s reaction and words had an effect on the simple people of San Sebastián. Ascensión de Luis tells us:
«On the following day, Monday, August 28th, the girls and their families were affected, and the village also, by what the Father repeated so often, that this could very well be a thing of the devil. Because of this they had prepared a small bottle of holy water to throw at the apparition the first time that it returned. The apparition should not be trusted, said the priest, since the devil is very clever and can deceive, appearing in many ways; and to deceive he begins with good appearances. The girls, very worried, would not let go of their bottle of holy water for anything.
In the evening Catherine and I, although we were rather unknown, succeeded in entering Jacinta’s house. She was in the kitchen with her parents, and Mari Loli was with hers; the girls were unable to hide the worry that they had from what the Salesian priest was saying. What would happen when — on the Vision’s arrival — she would receive an asperges of holy water? About eight or nine people were there, presided over the by the pastor, Fr. Valentín. When I could, I explained very briefly to the girls the situation of my companion, requesting them to petition the Virgin very much for her. And I entrusted my cherished silver rosary to them to give her to kiss.
Not much later Jacinta and Loli went into ecstasy in the stunning way that has been described so many times. And immediately we heard them speak to the Vision in that voice like a whisper, so characteristic of the trances:
A priest has come who says that she is a devil, and that they were going to throw holy water at her so that she would leave.
They said this with striking expressions of regret and fear. But soon their faces lit up with extraordinary joy and broke out in marvelous smiles, as they set down the bottle of water that they had brought to the side and behind them.»

__________

This also brought joy and confidence to those present, since it could be supposed what had been the response of the apparition to the frightened expressions of the two little girls. A similar scene had occurred during the apparitions at Lourdes.

13. For special reasons, Muriel Catherine’s last name will not be mentioned.

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 95).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 95)

“Never have they been surprised in the least lack of purity.”

About this time took place, although the exact date is not known, another of the innumerable minor events that constitute the Hour of Garabandal in the tremendous History of Salvation.

I received this directly from the lips of the stone mason Pepe Diez,(9) to whom it happened; he remembers it as if it were still taking place.

As on almost all evenings in those days, phenomena occurred in the village, together with remarkable processions of prayer and penance that formed behind the girls walking in ecstasy through the streets and trails. But on this day Pepe Diez did not bother to take part in them. Besides this being nothing new for him, he was also tired, and he had no desire of being in the procession.

From his house he was able to hear clearly the sound of footsteps and prayers approaching, then receding, to be lost in the distance . . . When all became quiet, he went outside and made his way down a dark alley to better avoid any meeting that might detain him. As he was walking close to a wall, he smacked his forehead against a stone jutting out from it. The reaction was instantaneous, motus primo primi, as the moralists say: the typical reaction of so many men who have grown up surrounded by bad language and have made it their own. He let out a blasphemy.

Immediately he felt ashamed. But he did not have time to think about it. Something held him captive in that corner of the alley, as the sound of the procession that had faded away was now returning. It did not take long for the procession to come upon him, and he tried without success to hide where the shadows were darkest, so that everyone would pass without noticing his presence.
The girl who was coming in ecstasy at the head of the parade, without lowering her gaze from on high, went toward him, crucifix in hand. Poor Pepe would have preferred the earth to swallow him. He fell trembling on his knees, and felt the girl place the crucifix on his lips with a soft force, as if requiring a kiss of reparation for the blasphemy that could only have been heard by the ears of God.

The stone mason was well admonished, more effectively than if he had heard many sermons on the faithful observance of the second commandment of the divine law. He will never forget the lesson.

And so at Garabandal Our Lady appeared in an ineffable way to repeat to everyone, My little children, these things I address to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ the Just. And He is the propitiation for our sins. (I John 2: 1)

There were other episodes of instruction during the final weeks of that unforgettable summer. We are going to mention one that deals with a subject that is today neglected to the extreme.

We know that the girls had a most proper comportment. The testimonies of this are numerous and explicit. Here is one of great value because of the competency of the witness — a person who shared the life of the girls as few others: «Since my first visit, on August 22nd, 1961, I took advantage of all opportunities to go up to Garabandal where I have passed and still pass my happiest days.

I determined to study the girls closely, not only in their trances, but also in their normal state. I took pictures that show clearly that the girls are not sick or peculiar, and have no abnormal symptoms. I can report with a thorough knowledge of the matter on their manner of comporting themselves in their homes, in the fields, in the stables, in the church, etc. They cannot be distinguished from the other girls of the village. They play, run, jump up and down, pray . . .

Now there is something that can be noticed in their external manners that is not the same as the other girls. For example, in their way of sitting, they always do it with great modesty. And never have they been surprised in the least lack of purity.
Their comportment in this has been in the extreme. Furthermore everyone has been able to observe in the ecstasies how they concern themselves that their dresses are in place.»

(Fr. José Ramón García de la Riva,
Memorias de mis subidas a Garabandal)
__________


Yes, their comportment was most proper; although we should bear in mind the customs and styles in mode in the daily dress then prevalent in their sheltered and secluded environment. The girls from Garabandal dressed like other girls of their time and area; and because of this, they sometimes wore short skirts, as was then the style.

The Virgin called their attention to this with a mother’s delicateness.

In one of their ecstasies(10) the three girls went to each one’s home separately, by the Vision’s request, to change the dresses they were wearing for longer dresses. Conchita was heard to say later during the trance, «We should always wear long dresses like this, above all for coming to see you.» (Sanchez-Ventura)

«On August 31st one of the girls,(11) while sitting, went several meters forwards toward the church and several meters backwards. The people who were watching became so filled with emotion that many cried . . . Not so much for the action itself or going over the ground sitting down like this, but because in all the distance traveled, the girl’s dress, without being disarranged, covered her to her knees. And I observed afterward that, in spite of having slid like this on the dirty ground, the dress had not become soiled. It was on this same day in August that the Virgin advised Loli to lengthen her skirt a little. She said this smiling.»

(Fr Ramón Andreu’s report)

The spiritual giants so numerous today even in the clergy, will put on a knowing smile here, discrediting Garabandal because of infantile ideas which to their way of thinking could only have importance for narrow-minded people still affected by the old fashioned morality of the Middle Ages.

Fortunately God has His own criteria, ordinarily close to the reasoning of simple and virtuous souls, ordinarily distant from those who follow their own ways, the wise and prudent who are not well versed in sacred literature.

Salvation in all its immensity is accomplished through things that are small.

Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets.

I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill . . .

Therefore, whoever does away with one of these least commandments, and so teaches men, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.

But whoever carries them out and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5: 17-19)

Modesty and decency can never be neglected in genuine morality because they are required by our condition as creatures made to the image and likeness of God, and furthermore raised up to be His sons and members of the Mystical Body of Christ.
It is not that we are ashamed of our bodies, but that we are convinced that the most important part of us is not seen. And too much attention should not be given to our physical being while the other, our better part, remains forgotten and obscured. Proper dress is a distinctive trait of the human being who bridles and holds in check the animal nature, since there is in us a higher nature that deserves more attention and care.

Salus populi, ego sum I am the salvation of the people. Each day it was seen more clearly that the Virgin had come to Garabandal to promote the salvation of her people.(12) None of those who came here with true devotion toward her and a well-disposed heart went away disappointed. And there are many who have stated that they have passed the best moments of their life in that little mountain village. I do not yet know what heaven is, said one priest, but in Garabandal, it seems that I have been on the threshold.


9. See Chapter II, footnote 9.

10. This was an ecstasy during the middle of the night, between the 9th and 10th of September.


11. This refers to Conchita, according to Fr. Valentín’s notes. “Never have they been suprised in the least lack of purity.”
12. More about this?
From the ecstasy of September 4th:

«At 1 o’clock they took the hands of all those present, and made
them make the Sign of the Cross . . . Then they sang rosaries through the village—the vision leading, the children singing only a part. They went from house to house, singing an Ave María at each house. Sometimes they went up the stairs if it was necessary.»

From September 5th:


«At 5 in the afternoon, Jacinta and Loli went into ecstasy;
they made the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of all those that were there; later they went out with a little crucifix and went from house to house, holding it up for everyone to kiss.»
From September 6th:

«They went from door to door singing the rosary. They
gave the crucifix to everyone to kiss, and went in where there were sick or old people.»

(The quotes above are from Fr. Valentín’s notes.)


It seems clear to me that in this there is a beautiful way of
recognizing and showing that in every home or Christian household — and in Garabandal all of them were — there is truly a domestic church, with all that this means. And that every place where sons of God live, is also a home of God.

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 94).

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.

 

REVEALING FACTS


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
Memorias:

«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.

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 93).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 93)


CHAPTER TEN

ON THE WAY TO
SALVATION

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
convinced.
— 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.»

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 92).

She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 92)

 

 

The First Episcopal
«Nota»


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.

 

WHAT IS GARABANDAL?: She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Page 91).

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.