A look at the longed-for supernatural event prophesied at Garabandal which, judging by the current state of the world, cannot be far off.
Of the three great prophesied events of Garabandal: the Warning, Miracle and Chastisement, the one that has always aroused the greatest interest and the one that everyone looks forward to the most is the great Miracle. The main reason for this is that the Miracle is of a positive nature while the other two are negative. The Warning and Chastisement deal with punishment and pain, which are contrary to our human nature while the Miracle is joyful, glorious, healing, fructifying, unifying, restorative. We don't know what immediate effect it will have on those who watch it on television, if it even is televised, but for those who see it in person the impact will be so great that, as the Virgin told Conchita, they will need a special grace to keep from dying of joy.
A Manifestation of Christ
When Conchita was asked how non-Christians would interpret the Warning, she said that they will believe it is a warning from God. While this would be expected, can it nevertheless not be said that the Warning will come from Him? Didn't He Himself say: "All power has been given to Me in heaven and in earth" (Mt 28:18)?
But Jesus does not reveal Himself universally to everyone in the Warning. In the Miracle, however, there is no doubt since Conchita has told us in advance that "it will be the greatest Miracle Jesus has ever performed for the world." We cannot help looking forward to this world-changing event and the effect it will have on Christians and non-Christians alike.
Is the Miracle greater than the Warning? When one considers that the Warning will touch the entire population of the world, it doesn't seem that anything could be more all-encompassing. But Conchita has said that the Warning would "correct the conscience of the world and prepare it for the great Miracle." Something that is in preparation for something else is normally subordinate to it. So how is the Miracle greater than the Warning? It is greater in its purpose. While the Warning is meant to illumine and correct all consciences, it is not designed to convert the world. That is reserved for the Miracle. In Conchita's locution with Our Lord dated July 20, 1963, she asked Him: "Why is the Miracle going to take place, to convert many people?" And He answered: "TO CONVERT THE WHOLE WORLD."
While the Miracle will only take place in one geographical location, the graces that will radiate out from there will cover the entire world.
The most important thing about Garabandal is the Message. To deliver the Message was why Our Lady appeared in the first place and the Warning and Miracle are means to augment a true and widespread living of that Message. But those two supernatural events nonetheless, in their role as means to an end, have very great importance, and for the Miracle, that importance can be measured by how early in the events its revelation begins to emerge.
The notes of village pastor, Father Valentin Marichalar, inform us that on the night of September 3-4, 1961, two months after Our Lady's first appearance, Jacinta, Loli and Conchita had a marvelous ecstasy in front of the church door that lasted until three o'clock in the morning. As the girls lay on the ground formed in one of those remarkably beautiful group sculptures, Conchita was heard to say: "How beautiful the Miracle is!" How I would like you to perform it soon! Why haven't you done so already? Do it, even if it would be only for those who believe. For those who don't believe, it doesn't matter."
On October 20, 1961, two days after the Message was read at the Pines and caused so much disappointment, Jacinta was heard to say in ecstasy: "No one believes us anymore, do you know?... So you can perform a very great miracle in order that many will believe again." The Virgin smiled and responded: "They will believe."
On March 16, 1962, Mari Loli was asking Our Lady with insistence for the cure of a woman who was losing her eyesight and finally exclaimed loudly: "Go ahead! Cure this woman, Alicia's mother, who already does not see out of one eye, and will not see the miracle that you will make in the sky." (Father Valentin's notes)
PHOTO: Conchita in ecstasy. She was the only one told about the Miracle.
In early July 1962, when Conchita informed Dr. Celestino Ortiz of Santander about the Miracle of the Visible Host that would take place on July 18, 1962, he told her it was a very great miracle for something to be announced in advance and then realized. She responded: "But to me this seems to be a very little miracle. Later the Virgin's miracle will come, and that will be a Miracle! Then there won't be any doubt."
As the Garabandal events continued to progress and more about the Miracle was gradually revealed, it became increasingly clear that of the visionaries, only Conchita would know anything about it.
Toward the end of an ecstasy in the early morning hours of September 5, 1962, while someone had a microphone near her mouth, Conchita said to her Vision: "You say there's going to be a miracle? And the miracle is going to be that?... And the Virgin will be seen?... And when?... So far off?... With me alone... No, I don't want that... Don't do that! Perform it with the four..."
A few days later on September 9, 1962, Dr. Ortiz, his wife and his wife's cousin were about to sit down for a meal in Conchita's Aunt Maximina's house when Conchita stopped by. Maximina started kidding her: "We already know your secrets - that there is going to be a miracle! You can't deny it, since it's been recorded on tape." Conchita smiled, and after a moment of silence said, "Yes, there's going to be a miracle. The Virgin told me, and it's going to be very great..."
"When will it be?"
"I don't know."
"Then none of us will see it."
"Everyone will see it who is here. And the pope, from wherever he is. And also Padre Pio. Every day I pray that the miracle will be with all [four] of us. But don't say anything to anyone."
While Conchita would be the one fully informed about the Miracle, in a letter dated October 8, 1962, to Father Jose Ramon Garcia de la Riva, Mari Loli made it clear that the other visionaries had at least been told about it: "To Father Jose Ramon: the Virgin told us there is going to be a miracle."
During an early morning ecstasy on November 25, 1962, Placido Ruiloba was present with his recorder and taped what Conchita was saying in ecstasy regarding the Miracle. Later she confirmed what was heard on the tape which was summarized as follows:
- The miracle will be at 8:30 in the evening, same as the first apparition.
- It would last a quarter of an hour.
- It would be seen in the sky, and so clearly, that there would be no doubt that it came from God.
- The sick who come on that day will be cured.
But what about the date when it will occur? Dr. Ortiz, who was present during the above mentioned ecstasy, reported: "After the ecstasy, the girl was radiant with joy. We insisted she tell us the date of the Miracle, but she said the time hadn't come and that we should have patience. She could only reveal the date eight days in advance but said that the Miracle would definitely come, since the Virgin had said it, and she could not lie."
If Conchita did not know the exact date by this time, she knew approximately when it would occur and that eventually she would be told the date.
On December 6, 1962, she had a 90 minute ecstasy around 5:30 in the afternoon after which, she provided two more pieces of information regarding the Miracle: 1) One day, a little before the Miracle, something will happen that will cause many people to stop believing in the apparitions of Garabandal. The doubts and desertions will not be due to an excessive delay of the Miracle. 2) On the day of the Miracle, the note that she signed in Santander (stating that the apparitions were not authentic) will disappear.
The revelations about the Miracle for 1962 ended on December 15 as recorded in Father Valentin's notes: "Conchita told Mercedes Salisachs that a totally paralyzed man would be cured on the day of the Miracle wherever he was."
On January 15, 1963, by which time Mari Cruz, Jacinta and Mari Loli had stopped having visions, Conchita again fell into ecstasy. Later in the day she said to her Aunt Maximina: "Look Aunt, don't tell this to my mother, but today the angel told me the date of the Miracle."
PHOTO: The road leading to San Sebastian de Garabandal.
From this point on, Conchita would have only four more apparitions: one more in 1963, none in 1964 and three in 1965 with the last one being on November 13, 1965. However, beginning in March, 1963, she began having locutions, and significantly enough, her first locution had to do with the Miracle.
When the other three visionaries stopped having visions, they immediately began to doubt their experiences, as Our Lady said they would, and Conchita also seems to have been smitten as she explains in her diary:
I also doubted a bit whether the miracle would take place. And one day when I was in my room doubting if the miracle would occur, I heard a voice that said: "Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle!" I heard it interiorly, as clearly as if through my ears and even better than if it had been through words. It left me with a peace and a joy even greater than that experienced when I saw her.
On August 2, 1964, Conchita wrote a letter to Father Ramón Andreu which included this startling revelation: "On July 18,  the feast day of San Sebastian de Garabandal, I had a locution, and in this locution, I was told that on the day after the Miracle your brother [Father Luis Andreu] will be taken out of his tomb and his body will be found incorrupt."
The revelation of the Miracle at Garabandal was like a golden thread woven throughout the rich tapestry of the events starting not long after the beginning and continuing throughout. Finally, when Conchita had received the full revelation, she was able to tell Francisco Sanchez-Ventura all she was permitted to say which he published in his book LAS APARICIONES No SON UN MITO:
I am the only one to whom the Blessed Virgin spoke of the miracle. She forbade me to say what it will consist of. I can't announce the date either until eight days before it is due to occur. What I can reveal is that it will coincide with an event in the Church and with the feast of a saint, martyr of the Eucharist; that it will take place at eight thirty on a Thursday evening; that it will be visible to all those who are in the village and surrounding mountains; that the sick who are present will be cured and the incredulous will believe, it will be the greatest miracle that Jesus has performed for the world. There won't be the slightest doubt that it comes from God and that it is for the good of mankind. A sign of the miracle which it will be possible to film or televise, will remain forever at the pines.
"Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle!"
In this summary, however, Conchita made one omission that is included in her diary and should come right after she says "the incredulous will believe," and it is that "sinners will be converted."
With so many people pressing Conchita for more information about the Miracle, she consented to state the following: it will occur between the eighth and sixteenth of either March, April or May.
We don't know for certain what the worldwide impact of the Miracle will be, but all indications are that it will be massive. In her locution with Our Lord on July 20, 1963, Conchita asked Him if as a result of the Miracle Russia will be converted. He replied: "Yes, she also will be converted, and thus everybody will love Our hearts." The word "also" has been italicized here because of its significance. In Father Pelletier's otherwise excellent translation of this locution in his book OUR LADY COMES TO GARABANDAL (page 144) the word "also" is left out, but it does appear in Conchita's original handwritten diary. It indicates that other countries besides Russia will be converted.
Will the Miracle initiate the unification of all Christians? We don't know, but that unification has also been foretold by Our Lady at Garabandal.
Seal of the Events
The greatest event in human history was the Incarnation when the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on human flesh. No other event can ever compare with that. But it took another great event, the Resurrection, to confirm that the first one really happened. For if Christ did not rise on the third day as He said He would, then He could not have been the Messiah and therefore there could not have been the Incarnation. All His great teachings and miracles would have been discounted and explained away had there not been an empty tomb on that third day. But He did rise and the rest is salvation history.
They Saw The Miracle
While Father Luis Andreu, S.J., (right) was observing the visionaries in ecstasy at the Pines in Garabandal on August 8, 1961, witnesses heard him suddenly cry out "Miracle!" four times. On that fateful night, he became the only person other than the visionaries to see the Blessed Virgin at Garabandal. What's more, he saw what the seers did not see: a preview of the great Miracle. On the drive home in the early hours of the next morning, he was filled wiith joy and said: "What a favor the Virgin has given me. How fortunate we are to have a mother like that in heaven. This is the happiest day of my life." He then died ingreat peace even though there was nothing wrong with him.
Padre Pio saw the Miracle before he died according to Father Bernardino Cennamo, OF.M., who said that the future saint had told him so himself.
Before the Miracle
There will be many reported "apparitions" throughout the world. (This prophecy made in December, 1962, has already been fulfilled.)
A Bishop of Santander will come along who will not believe at first but will receive a sign and allow priests to go up to Garabandal for the Miracle.
Shortly before the Miracle something will happen that will cause people to stop believing in Garabandal.
A period of 12 months or less will elapse from the time of the Warning to the Miracle.
Conchita will announce it eight days in advance.
Day of the Miracle
It will occur on a Thursday at 8:30 in the evening between the eighth and sixteenth of March, April or May.
It will coincide with a great ecclesiastical event in the Church.
It will be on the feast day of a young martyr.
It will last fifteen minutes.
It will be seen in the sky.
All those either in the village or on the surrounding mountains will see it.
The sick who are present will be cured, sinners converted and the incredulous will believe.
It will be the greatest miracle that Jesus has ever performed for the world.
Padre Pio will see it (see above) and the Pope (John Paul II) from wherever he is at the time.
After the Miracle
A permanent, visible supernatural sign will remain at the Pines until the end of time. It will be possible to televise, film and photograph this wonder but not touch it. It has been likened to a column of smoke or a ray of sunlight but is not either one.
As a result of the Miracle, Russia and other countries will be converted.
On the day after the Miracle, the body of Father Luis Andreu will be removed from his grave and found incorrupt.
With Garabandal, an analogy can be made in the sense that one event will serve to confirm the authenticity of all that preceded it. For Garabandal, everything rides on the Miracle. If there is no miracle then all the marvelous ecstasies and the extraordinary phenomena associated with them, the messages, prophecies - everything - will be discredited.
But to help our belief that the Miracle will happen, abundant proofs of the divine origin of the events themselves have not only been given, but we also have the testimony of those who have already seen the Miracle in the persons of Father Luis Andreu and Saint Padre Pio.
Furthermore, we have been able to see for ourselves the fulfillment of prophecies made at Garabandal. So why should we doubt that the Miracle also will happen? Another point to consider is that, as demonstrated in this article, the promise of a great miracle was imbedded in the events, events that have proven their worthiness. How could the predicted Miracle, as part of those events, fail to have equal integrity? Besides, by the time of the Miracle, we will already have been conditioned for the spectacular since the Warning will by then have taken place.
One final reason why we should not doubt the Miracle is that we need it. In Conchita's diary is this entry:
The Blessed Virgin advised me of a great miracle that God, Our Lord, will perform through her intercession. Just as the chastisement will be very, very great, in keeping with what we deserve, so too, the miracle will be extremely great, in keeping with the needs of the world.
Hope is one of the three theological virtues and in that context, we hope for our eternal salvation. But even for the needs of everyday life we have to have hope, especially today in an increasingly secularized - and dangerous - world. The Miracle gives us hope for better days when it ushers in the period of peace promised by Our Lady.
Reprinted with kind permission from Garabandal Journal, March-April 2004, by Barry Hanratty
Note: All quoted passages in this article are taken from SHE WENT IN HASTE TO THE MOUNTAIN by Eusebio Garcia de Pesquera, O.F.M., Cap., unless otherwise indicated.