The other day I was on a train when Beethoven began playing behind my back.
If I had heard this sound on a train twenty years ago, I would have assumed that someone was playing a miniature piano. Today, however, such sounds pass almost unnoticed as people "stay in touch" while on their way through their lives. "Stay connected," we are told. "Can you hear me? Good," we are reminded. You cannot sit on a plane without seeing someone tapping away at a laptop or poking at a palm pilot. Now we see this technology overlapping, and even combining, as people can receive emails on their telephones and make calls on their computers. Even the keyboard is in trouble as we see voice technology that allows us to "speak" to the computer without the need of typing into it. Sometimes I feel as if I am walking the streets with hundreds of pilots brushing by me as they rattle into their microphones and listen to their headphones.
None of this seems odd to us anymore, of course, as we list these observations under "technology". Suppose, however, that you walked by someone praying the rosary openly as they walked down the street or that someone began speaking to God on a train. I bet that the person praying would be stared at, and the commuter's trip might even be shortened! It is acceptable to tell the world about buying milk on a cell telephone, but speaking to the Creator is a bit much in our society. It is ironic that this society is frantically trying to stay connected, reach out, and stay in touch while working feverishly, it seems, to disconnect, to stay away from, and to forget about, God almighty. It is also quite ironic that we fumble with this device or that machine trying to communicate with each other, but we are sometimes oblivious to the devices that God has given us to communicate with Him: our senses and our mind. This is a central message of Garabandal.
I will never forget the peaceful, serene quiet of the Pines. I could hear the wind kiss the trees which Our Lady had graced so many times with her presence. The branches rustled as arms raising prayers to heaven. Here you can speak with the Creator free of earthly distractions or "important" messages. Within these pines you can talk with your Holy Mother much as the girls did those many years ago. You do not need headphones, a microphone, laptop, palm pilot, or a cell telephone at the Pines. All you need is your heart, soul, senses, and mind raised to the Almighty. You do not have to pay for the privilege or sign a contract. There are no roaming charges here and you cannot lose your data due to a virus.
It is tragic that people who can delete files also can delete God almighty, that children who know how to save a document cannot save special prayers to pray to their good friends Jesus and Mary, and that individuals who can print wonderful graphics cannot print the word and name of God without someone being deeply offended by their efforts. The more technological we become, the more primitive our spiritual life becomes. Pioneer families 150 years ago had basic tools, horses, and their God.
We have hand-held devices, cars, and our egos. The more we use this technology, the more we come to depend on it. It is easier for a person to go one week without praying or attending Mass than it is for that same person to go without using a telephone, a television, or a computer. We compromise on our faith and morality at the drop of a hat, but please do not ask us to compromise on our use of a cell telephone or computer.
The message of Garabandal tells us that we already have been given all the devices we need to communicate with God almighty, with our holy mother, and with each other. Our eyes can see the beauty of God's creation and the image of Jesus in each other. Our hands can feel a handshake, or reach out to a trembling, confused soul. Our ears can hear others cry for help or the wind sing in praise of God. We can smell the food God has given us, which human hands have made. We can taste that food, and praise our Creator who nourishes us in so many ways every day. We can speak to our Lord and our Holy Mother and listen to their voices in our hearts and souls. Our minds can turn to God during the day, not just when we need Him, but to thank Him for all He has blessed us with.
The message of Garabandal is really a message that we have all that we need to listen to God and to communicate with Him. It is a call for us to follow the example of our Blessed Mother and do our best to work for a world where weekend minutes will not matter. Garabandal tells us that the minutes we can spend talking to God and our Holy Mother are anytime minutes at no charge.
Through these messages and the future events to come, God will ask us, in no uncertain terms, "Can you hear me?...good!"
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal International Magazine, July-September 2003, by Gabriel Garnica