It can be presumed that the readers are sufficiently informed concerning Garabandal that the prayer, sacrifice and conversion of sinner's messages of this contemporary Spanish happening need be only briefly recalled. In regard to prayer, our Lady requested that the girls recite the rosary each day, saying it very slowly and thinking about what they are saying. She also had them say it once or more during each apparition. She asked that people visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently and she occasionally reproached the girls for not doing this. She led the girls in ecstasy into the church and before the tabernacle, or when that was not possible, She brought them to the closed door of the church or led them to walk around the church, reciting the rosary. She asked for prayers for priests and led the girls to pray for the souls of the deceased.
Concerning sacrifice, Our Lady requested that we make “many sacrifices,” “much penance,” “more sacrifice” and that we “think about the passion of Jesus" (to motivate our generosity in making sacrifice and performing penance).
The Blessed Virgin placed great stress on conversion, pleading that we lead “good lives” that “we amend our lives,” and warning us about “a very great chastisement” if we do not change.
In relation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, there was no visible manifestation of it at Garabandal. However there was a visible symbol of that Heart which was very much in evidence. This was the brown scapular of Mount Carmel, which Mary wore whenever she appeared (about 2,000 times), except when she occasionally carried the Infant Jesus in her arms. And it was an exceptionally large scapular, as though Our Lady was trying to impress us with the importance she – and her Son – attach to this sacramental. Also, Our Lady of Mount Carmel wasthe title by which Mary chose to identify herself at Garabandal. At Lourdes,it had been the Immaculate Conception, and at Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary.
The scapular is the symbol of Mary's mantle of protection that is of her motherly love and concern. As mentioned above, there is a very special grace that comes through the constant wearing of the scapular, the grace of a happy death or assurance that he who die swearing it shall never experience the pains of hell. But the protection of Mary for those who wear the scapular goes far beyond the moment of death. It extends to the entire life of those who place their trust in her in this way. The wearing of the scapular should be considered as a consecration of one's self to Mary. It is like saying: Mary, I take you as my mother and place myself confidently under your loving care and protection. I expect you to watch over me every day and moment of my life, as you did over the wedding couple at Cana. I promise to love and honor you as a faithful and grateful child. When we wear the scapular with these sentiments Mary takes us into her Heart and motherly care in a special way. The scapular then, like Mary's Heart itself, should be considered a symbol of her motherly love.
As was seen, the children of Fatima were granted a vision of Mary's Heart. Not so the girls of Garabandal. However, one of the four girls, Jacinta, did have a silent apparition or vision of the Sacred Heart in the quadro or sunken lane. The exact date of this incident is not known. It is the Garabandal happenings that most impressed her, Jacinta said: “I have great memories about everything,but especially of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.”
Though Our Lady never showed her Heart to the girls of Garabandal, she did speak to Conchita twice during the final apparition of November 13, 1965, of “Our Hearts.” Also, in alocution (a conversation without accompanying apparition) on July 20, 1963, Our Lord spoke to Conchita twice of “Our Hearts” and once of “My Heart.”
More important at Garabandal than the mention of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, is the tenderly loving, motherly, way in which the Blessed Virgin dealt with the four girls. She literally showered them – not to say smothered them with manifestations of motherly love. She visited them some two thousand times, mainly during a periodof a year and a half (July 2, 1961 till January 20, 1963). She even sent them advance notice of her coming through a series of three calls or llamadas.
She delighted in listening to their childish chatter “about their work in the fields, their putting hay in stacks and getting bronzed in the sun.” She encouraged them in this and showed her pleasure by “laughing as they told her of these things.” She was very patient with them as they asked naive questions, for example, about heaven and the life that goes on there. She allowed them to take and hold the Infant Jesus in their arms and to play with Him; to take in their hands the crown of gold stars that she wore. The tenderness of her motherly love reached its peak at the conclusion of the apparition when she kissed them goodbye.
Conchita has said that during some of the longer apparitions, there would be moments of complete silence when Our Lady looked at the spectators surrounding them and said “she was looking at her at her children.” During the final apparition of November 13, 1965, the Blessed Virgin asked Conchita to tell her about the petitions that people confided to her and she added: “Talk to me, Conchita, talk to me about my children. I hold them all beneath my mantle.” It was during the same final apparition that Our Lady made this statement that was like a summary of the entire Garabandal event; “Conchita, I have not come for your sake alone. I have come for all my children, so that I may draw them closer to Our Hearts.”
Other facts could be advanced, but the above suffice to show that Garabandal forms indeed a significant part of the mainstream of modern era manifestations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
By Fr. Joseph A. Pelletier,A.A., Garabandal,1961-1965