LORD WHERE DWELLEST THOU?
with kind permission from St. Joseph Publications
from the book She Went in Haste to the Mountain (Book 1)
NOTE: All excerpts from Conchita's Diary will be in extra-bold type
In the first chapter of St. John's gospel, there is an interesting episode.
Again the next day John stood with two of his disciples. And seeing Jesus walking, he said: "Behold the Lamb of God." And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turning and seeing then following Him, said to them: "What are you seeking?" They said to Him: "Lord, where dwellest thou?" He said to them: "Come and see". They came and saw where He dwelled; and they stayed with Him. (John 1: 35-39)
As John the Baptist did in his time, Mary also, during her time at Garabandal, was attracting the attention of her disciples to direct it later to ... to Whom?
During the events of Garabandal, a resplendent Marian Epiphany manifested itself. But soon it became clear that this in itself was not the whole reason for Mary's coming; there was a higher purpose to come forth later.
The minds of the pupils tutored in the school of Mary, Jesus' first disciple, naturally were led to an understanding and meeting with her Son. Garabandal can only be comprehended by realizing the significance of the axiom:
From this, the title of Part Two of this work.
Above all, to Jesus as He is present for us here and now in the Blessed Sacrament.
Following this, there was hardly an ecstasy that was not related to the ineffable presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.[A lawyer from Palencia, Luis Navas, went up to Garabandal several times and closely observed everything there. He wrote down in one of his notebooks:
And along the same line, the first public message on the night of October 18th brought this out in a simple but very important statement:
It is necessary to visit the Blessed Sacrament.
But the Eucharist is not only the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It is also the Bread of Life, and its primary reason is to be the nourishment and nutriment of souls.
I am the Living Bread, coming down from heaven. Whoever eats of this Bread, will live forever. And the Bread that I give is My Flesh, laid down for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
From the start Garabandal began turning the attention of the visionaries and spectators toward Holy Communion . . . For it is in this reception of the Eucharist that a great personal encounter with Christ takes place.
From the Angel's Hand
From the beginning of the apparitions, the Angel St. Michael gave us un-consecrated hosts.
Evidently there was careful preparation — even in outward details — for something that deserved to be well done. (This preparation could be repeated today, even among the old faithful, for how deficient has become the way of receiving Communion. How careless! How irreverent!) Conchita's reference to eating refers to the Eucharistic fast, which in the days of the apparitions was still three hours.
One day he told us that we were to come on the next morning to the Pines — without eating anything — and that there should be a young girl with us.
"The Angel appeared to us with a golden chalice."
When we came to the Pines, the
Angel appeared to us with a golden chalice.
And he told us, I am going to give you Communion, but today these are consecrated Sacred Hosts.
Say the "I Confess" . . .
And we prayed it, and afterwards he gave us Communion.
And after receiving Communion, he told us to make our thanksgiving to God ...
And after making our thanksgiving, he told us to pray with him the "Soul of Christ." And we prayed it.
And he said to us: I will give you Communion tomorrow too. And he left.
So Communion was given according to the traditional ritual of the Catholic Church. The first time that the pastor Father Valentin took down in his notes this type of Communion by the girls, he wrote:
"He told us to make our thanksgiving to God."
The rite started with an act of purification of the soul through the humble confession of sins; and ended by receiving the Lord within, with the making of an effort at concentration so as to communicate with Him.
This is what has always been sought with the thanksgiving after Communion; but unfortunately, for many of the new hour of the Church, priests and faithful alike, that is not the way it is today.
The Mass ends; the blessing is received. No reason to stay longer ... It is finished. That's enough ... It can be understood: It is not agreeable to remain before eyes that search out everything, to answer to a Presence that. . . Better not to think of that! Oh! The holy motives for rushing out and the great talk of caring for one's neighbor!
The Angel wanted the girls to learn to pray a brief prayer as an ending for their Communions. This particular short and fervent prayer has been used in devout areas of Catholicism since the days of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It can be found in many prayerbooks (a rare species of printing that is becoming extinct).
"from the tabernacles"
When we told this to the people
(receiving Communion from the Angel's hands) some did not believe
it — especially the priests, since they said that an Angel couldn't consecrate.
And when we saw the Angel again, we told him what the people had said.
And he told us that he had taken Them (the hosts) from the tabernacles, that he had taken Them from the earth, already consecrated.
And afterwards we told this to the people.
And some doubted.
And he gave us Communion for a long time.
"from the beginning"
From the beginning, she tells us; and in the scrambled notes of Father Valentin we find this brief notation, pertaining to the month of July, 1961:
«They said that they received Communion on the11lth, 12th and 13th.»
"Communion from the Angel"
And perhaps this undated paragraph in Fr. Valentin's notes refers to July 11th:
«Conchita and Mari Cruz went at 8 o'clock to receive Communion, and they said that he did it the same as I give Communion (understood, of course, outside of Mass). The other two, Loli and Jacinta, went about noon and received Communion at the Campuca, higher than at other times (Probably meaning higher than the usual place of apparitions). And afterwards the Angel showed them where the Virgin was, and the Virgin beckoned them with her hand.»
Father Valentin does not tell us where the Communions of Conchita and Mari Cruz took place; but if this refers to the first reception from the Angel's hands, consulting Conchita's diary, we would have to conclude that their first Communion took place at the Pines. The reception of the other two girls occurred at the Campuca, a small meadow at the end of the calleja, below the Pines, which today has the little chapel of St. Michael located on its right. As a point of interest here stood what was called the Stone of St. Michael, because he appeared over this stone when giving Communion to the girls.
Here is a more recent and exact confirmation of this. In the previously mentioned conversation of the painter Isabel de Daganzo with Conchita at the college of Burgos during November of 1967, this remarkable description is found:
Isabel: I would like to paint an ecstasy of Mari Cruz, since I like her so much.
Conchita: Yes, I like her very much too. Mari Cruz is very good. Look. Mari Cruz and I received the first Communion from the Angel at the Pines at 5 in the morning. At 6 on that morning, Loli and Jacinta received Communion close to where the chapel of St. Michael is now — where the Angel's stone is.
"And he gave as Communion for a long time."
The circumstances of this first Mystical Communion at Garabandal are enticing, taking place at the beginning of a long and sunlit day in July, in the freshness of morning as things began to take shape in the emerging dawn light, accompanied by the singing of birds, the heralds of the sun.
There high toward the sky,
beyond the troubles and cares of men,
in the marvelous landscape of the Pines,
are three angels and two girls.
St Michael brings the Lord . . .
The girls' guardian angels adore Him . . .
Prostrate on their knees, the girls receive Him.
This is the mystery of our faith!
0 Sacrum Convivium.
When Conchita and Mari Cruz returned from their world of miracles, they could look out over a splendid panorama that would make them feel the truth of the Credo. I beleive in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of what is seen (spread out now before our eyes!) and of what is unseen (how many proofs have we received of its existence!) and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, (in whom the two worlds meet, joining them eternally in glory).
From Fr. Valentin's notes of July, 1961 can be seen the accuracy of Conchita's terse remark in her diary: And he gave us Communion for a long time.
Why then, if this began so early and had such importance, did the girl write it down so late, after having spoken of so many other things?
Perhaps this was due to the young writer trying to explain first of all what appeared most interesting, what she liked the most, and what was most striking for the people: the appearance of the Angel and the Marian Epiphany, with their incredible series of exceptional phenomena.
Regardless, it cannot be doubted that this series of Holy Communions thru the Angel's ministry, although it did not occupy teh earliest position in the narration, is an integral part of the mystery of Garabandal.