At Garabandal, there were, in fact, four messages, including the one of 19 June 1962, although attention has been given almost exclusively to the first and fourth.
The current issue of THE VIGIL...The Message of Garabandal, a long-standing newsletter on Garabandal-related matters edited by Maria Carmela Saraco and published by St. Michael's Garabandal Center For Our Lady of Carmel, Inc., carries a brief but very important front-page article. Important for many reasons, but primarily because of the following four words: "Few will see God."
These words — in the original Spanish "pocos verán a Dios" — are neither an afterthought nor a conjecture. They are, in fact, the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself, as told to Mari-Loli and Jacinta on 23 June 1962.
Fortunately, these chilling words are conditional. As always, a way out is provided by God...if we are willing to follow it. What does it require of us? Thankfully, nothing we do not already know: to live the Message, in word and in deed, in things large and small. Of course, a question arises from this, one we must ask ourselves anew each day: Ok, but are we really willing to live it at all costs?
First, let us examine the history of this message. And yes, it is indeed a true message, in the same sense and with the same importance as the other two better-known messages (those of 18 October 1961 and 18 June 1965). There were, in fact, four messages that were to have been delivered to the world, including also the one of 19 June 1962. although attention has been given almost exclusively to the first and fourth.[In addition to Ms. Saraco, two other noted Garabandal promoters have treated these lesser-known messages as separate entities, Fernand Corteville (L 'Impartial, No. 31,1970) and Eusebio Garcia de P. (She Went in Haste to the Mountain, 2000 ed., pp. 353-5).]
Photo: Garabandal's four visionaries: Conchita, Mary Cruz, Jacinta, and Mari-Loli.
It is interesting that its predecessor message, that of 19 June, deals primarily with the castigo - the conditional punishment that awaits if we do not heed the words of the Blessed Virgin. From its horrifying description [See Garcia de P., op. cit., pp. 353-4.] alone, one is tempted to think that all peoples everywhere will embrace the Message. Yet the message that concerns us here, that of 23 June, although also conditional, indicates there may be many who will not.
Now let us first go back to the original text of the message, as it was delivered by the Blessed Virgin more than 39 years ago. This is very important in arriving at a true understanding of this particular message in toto as, in the intervening years, a number of subtly different versions have appeared, including some that omit these four crucial words altogether.
The original Spanish version was written down and signed by both Jacinta and Mari-Loli on the very day it was delivered. A first-generation photocopy of the message as written by the visionaries themselves is in the possession of Mrs. Saraco and reads as follows:
San Sebastian [de Garabandal]
23 de junio de 1962
"La Virgen nos ha dicho que el mundo sigue igual; que no se ha cambiado nada; que pocos verán a Dios; son tan pocos que a La Virgen la da mucha pena que no cambie; La Virgen nos ha hecho que está llegando el castigo; el mundo no cambia; la copa se está llenado; ;Qué triste estaba La Virgen! Aunque a nosotros no nos lo de a ver, porque La Virgen nos quiere y ella lo sufre sola, porque es tan buena. Sean buenos todos para que La Virgen se ponga contenta. Nos ha dicho que pidamos los que somos buenos por los que son malos: pidamos a Dios por el mundo, por los que no le conocen; sean buenos, muy buenos."
Maria Dolores Mazon, 13 años
Jacinta Gonzalez, 13 años
The English translation is rendered as follows.
San Sebastian [de Garabandal]
23 June 1962
"The Virgin has told us that the world continues the same, that it has not changed at all, that few will see God. There are so few that it causes the Virgin much sorrow that it does not change. The Virgin has told us that the chastisement is coming; [as] the world is not changing, the cup is filling up. How sad the Virgin was! Although she did not let us see it, because the Virgin loves us [so much] and she suffers alone, since she is so good. Be good, everyone so that the Virgin will be happy. She has told us that we who are good should pray for those who are bad; we should pray to God for the world, for those who do not know Him. Be good, [be] very good."
Maria Dolores Mazon, 13 years
Jacinta Gonzalez, 13 years
Photo: Mary Loli and Jacinta in ecstasy: In a letter, they said the Virgin told them that "few will see God."
To his credit, Fr. Garcia de P., author of She Went in Haste to the Mountain and perhaps the best-known researcher on Garabandal, faithfully copied the entire message as it came to him. This text, along with that of the message of the 19th, first was sent to Fr. Gustavo Morelos, a Mexican priest and early promoter of Garabandal, in 1967 [Mari-Loli later related this to Ms. Saraco as well in a signed letter.]. Unfortunately, since then, for one reason or another, subsequent mentions of this message often failed to include the crucial sentence. The above text and its translation, however, restore the message to its original form.
The implication of the restored text should leave no one in any doubt whatsoever as to what to expect if things do not change. A grim thought, to be sure. It is just as important, however, to remember that this is a conditional message — that it can be changed - if we are willing to do something about it ahead of time.
"it is incumbent upon us to live the Message in its entirety not just for our own spiritual well being, but for that of others as well."
As with the three other messages, this one, too, was intended for everyone. Not just for you and me, but also for our family, colleagues, loved ones.. .everyone. It is incumbent upon us to live the Message in its entirety not just for our own spiritual well being. but for that of others as well. God in His mercy was willing to spare the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if only a few righteous inhabitants were found [See Genesis 18, 19.], so too, we still have the opportunity to nullify this statement. As is often the case, it comes down to our willingness - or lack thereof - to harness our errant free will and walk along what we know or at the very least what our conscience tells us, is the correct path.
It is easy to see why some would prefer this third message to be abbreviated or "toned down" a bit: On the surface, it does not seem a particularly cheerful or encouraging one. especially considering its source. Yet the option is not ours to make more palatable this or any other words from on high. We must, as the visionaries themselves did, take the perceived "good" along with the perceived "bad". The words were spoken as they appear above, and nothing can or should be added to or taken away from them. As with all gifts from God, they are not forced upon us, but gently given. It is up to us to accept them as a very real possibility, or downplay or even outright ignore them, and suffer the consequences of our decision. One need only review the history of the Israelites' wanderings to judge how effective that approach is!
At this point, one may be tempted to throw up one's hands in despair and say "Well, then. That's that, so what's the use of even trying?" This would be a horrendous mistake. The Blessed Mother's intent in making this conditional pronouncement was not to sow the seeds of fatalism or pessimism. Far from it. Rather, the message was intended as a warning of what could - and would - come to pass if we do not seek to live in accordance with the precepts of God. The message is many things on the surface, and frightening is certainly one of them.
But let us remember that it is only potentially frightening, if we do not change. And we can change, if we want to, with the help of the Blessed Virgin and Her Son. They both have told us so, for more than twenty centuries now. We also have the examples and prayers of the saints and the sacraments of the Church to help us. As with the prophecy of the chastisement, this vision of a future bereft of God is one we can avoid.
On occasion, it may help to remember that not everything about Garabandal is all roses. Nor should it be, as Garabandal deals with humanity as it actually exists, not just as we want to imagine it should. As such, mixed with the joyous and wondrous is also a measure of the sombre and unknown, a reflexion of life as we know and live it. This more than anything else makes it all the more real to us as humans, and offers all the more reason why we should draw strength from its Message.
It may help to recall as well that in spite of its dire warning, this message is fundamentally one of hope, for us and for all mankind. As the Blessed Virgin told Conchita in their last meeting, "they are all my children". She wants us to share in the promises of Her Son so much that She came herself to tell us what we must do to obtain them, and She wants these treasures for each and every one of us.
Our Mother came not to change our lives for us — this would rob us of our essential human ability to freely choose — but to encourage us to do so out of love for Her and Her Son, and to give us a glimpse of what we can have if we do so, as well as what we stand to lose if we do not.
by Geoffrey A. P. Groesbeck
Reprinted with permission from Garabandal International Magazine