In all honesty, many have become addicts - "message junkies_, so to speak, searching for symbolism rather than the substance of the message. And in our frantic search for the "spiritual brass ring," we can forget to truly live the simple messages Our Lady directs. Consequently, when the cosmetics of the message fade, we are left with the stark reality that it takes total commitment and abandonment of the world to follow Jesus, for He says in Matthew 7: 13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it."
If our faith is not firmly rooted this can be discouraging, for satan thrives on this, easily confusing and eventually dissuading one’s enthusiasm. When this happens the person who was once on fire is but an ember and burns out, turning back to the world for consolation and justification of their behavior.
Fr. Pascual in his book on Garabandal, points out something very profound and an insight that we should all consider first and foremost: "It should not be forgotten that, throughout the Gospels and the history of the Church, one great fact is evident: as a rule, the works of God, however great they may be, require the cooperation of His creatures."
How sad Our Lord and Our Lady must be when any of their children lose their zeal or foist their will on others in derision of God’s Will. This pattern brings to mind all the more reason we need to pray with the heart and truly live the messages as Our Lady is instructing. If we strive to do this without judging then we truly will realize and experience what Jesus promised in Matthew 11: 28-30, "Come to Me, all who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light."
His burden is indeed light if we but follow His directives. Fortunately for us, God is very patient and merciful and understands better than anyone the human foibles. So He’s constantly giving us another chance. The same held true at Garabandal for there were enough believers to offset the naysayers who expected grandiose phenomena on October 18. Being only human, the visionaries were somewhat discouraged as Jacinta was heard to say to the Blessed Virgin: "Nobody believes us any longer, you know - So you must do a great big, big miracle so they’ll believe again..." Our Lady simply smiled and replied: "They’ll believe."
On July 19, 1962 shortly before 2 a.m. God did send a miracle to all the doubting Thomases. To affirm the message to "visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently" Conchita was blessed to supernaturally receive Holy Communion from Saint Michael, a mystical phenomenon which can also be attributed to the children at Fatima, to Theresa Neumann and other past mystics in the Church. In fact, we have heard of a few holy people today who have experienced this same miraculous phenomenon.
While in a state of ecstasy Conchita received the Sacred Host from the Archangel who immediately instructed her to pray the Anima Christi and to keep her tongue protruded until he departed. Still in ecstasy she walked from her room out into the street and knelt by the throngs who had been keeping an all-night vigil outside her home. Kneeling with her tongue still out, all could see there was nothing on her tongue. Within seconds, to everyone’s astonishment, a thick white Host formed on the tip of her extended tongue, remaining there for all to witness for quite some time. A photograph of this miracle appears on this page. The mass of people gathered realized this was truly a miraculous sign and again believed.
How fleeting is the human race and yet how patient, accommodating and loving is the Mother of God. She even often acquiesces to our whims if it is not contradictory to the Divine Will. An example of this was the behavior of the crowds and the children’s request that Our Lady bless, touch and kiss pebbles entrusted to them by pilgrims, as well as rosaries, medals, scapulars, crucifies, wedding rings, etc. which often loaded them down. Detractors of Garabandal often point to this as nonsense that the Blessed Mother would never stoop so low. From a human point of view that might appear to be undignified for a Heavenly person of Our Lady’s stature, but, as Fr. Pascual related, "On the whole, God’s works are so simple and elementary that they have at all periods in history seemed ridiculous from a merely human point of view. In the Gospels, we read that, to cure a blindman, Jesus took dust and saliva; today, this would also seem rather ridiculous and not a little odd. That the Virgin Mary should appear so frequently in the early hours of the morning to talk to a few ignorant little girls about matters that often prove essentially to be commonplace is something that the thinking man certainly considers impossible, if he insists that a Heavenly visit should be surrounded by the strict protocol imposed by most of our authorities on earth. But, the Kingdom of God belongs to the little ones, and to see and believe we must become as humble and simple as children. All the visions that have in the long run been granted Church approval have occurred in the midst of details that mankind has in many cases considered commonplace, and in other cases, frankly ridiculous. Yet, to me, this is further proof of their reality. Indeed, it would be far more alarming if the phenomena had occurred in line with the protocol-laden ideas that modern man has about the proper way to receive a V.I.P."
Many probably wouldn’t understand why Our Lady would give four little children in such a remote, sparsely populated area such a mind-boggling message of the prophecy of the Warning and Miracle that will effect every person in the world. Recall what Fr. Pascual just said and there’s no need to wonder. But everyone is full of wonder and speculation, and even fear about the pending Warning prophesied on this first day of 1965.
This message, known as the "Second Formal Message" was much more urgent and severe, yet she conveyed hope (as all her messages do), in this stern warning:
"As my Message of October 18 has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask His forgiveness with sincere hearts, He will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to Us with sincerity and We will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus."
In the next and subsequent installment we will treat this prophecy as well as the subsequent Miracle in more detail and delve into the accounts that claim Padre Pio was graced to mystically behold the Miracle before he died. We will also show the close correlation between the conjectured Third Secret of Fatima and the Garabandal prophecies as well as the realization of this through the continuing messages of Medjugorje and Betania in addition to other portents that we are on the brink of the Great Tribulation for indeed. "The Cup is overflowing!" This was confirmed in Our Lady’s message to Conchita on January 1, 1965: "Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over."
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Five - Garabandal: For whom the Bells Toll!