In 1961 Our Lady appeared to four simple, humble girls in San Sebastian de Garabandal, a small village located in Northern Spain. The events that followed over the following four years have etched one of the most inspiring and loving examples of God's love for mankind and The Blessed Mother's maternal touch for Her children.
In the steps of Lourdes and Fatima, Garabandal has become yet another Heavenly directive asking us to serve God, to follow Christ, to listen to Our Heavenly Mother, and to pray and live as God wants us to live. In a world whose only vision is toward self, Garabandal calls on us to look toward God and others in humble, loving service.
It is not a coincidence that The Stations of The Cross line the steep, rocky path up to the front of the Pines where so much has happened and so much is yet to happen in this village. To truly follow Christ is to take our own individual Via Dolorosa, and those Stations remind us of our Savior's own journey to the ultimate, loving sacrifice for our sins. It is hoped that these simple Stations of The Pines will serve as a reminder of the events and points so central to the message of Garabandal, where the world was visited by Our Blessed Mother through Conchita, Jacinta, Mari Loli and Mari Cruz.
THE FIRST STATION:
St. Michael The Archangel Appears to the Seers for the First Time
On a Sunday evening in mid-June, 1961, the girls are playing near a schoolmaster's garden when they hear a noise like thunder and shortly thereafter see a brilliant, shining figure, which they recognize as an "angel". When the angel disappears, the girls return to the area of the church where they had been playing earlier. Eventually many people, including the families of the seers, learn of this event.
The Message: The importance of the Holy Eucharist, the priesthood, and the Church are shown by the fact that this station begins and ends near the church. The seers would later learn that this angel was, in fact, the archangel Michael, long associated with the fight between good and evil and protector of the faith. Just as Michael led the heavenly forces against Lucifer and his rebellious spirits, so too he will be with us as we fight evil and rebellion against God's plan prevalent in our world today. We clearly see today how the Holy Eucharist, the priesthood, and the Church itself are under attack. The Garabandal Message is very much about the need to protect and defend these great elements of our faith against the evils of our world.
THE SECOND STATION
Jacinta sees a vision of the Sacred Heart
Two days after the first apparition of St. Michael but before the first apparition of Our Lady, the girls went up a bit farther in the calleja, or small path, where they had seen the first apparition of St. Michael. They did this because some younger boys had thrown stones at them the day before. In their higher spot, they were more hidden from view. From this new vantage point they saw a large smooth stone even further up upon which they could all kneel. It was to this new spot that they subsequently went on the day of the first vision of the Blessed Virgin. Jacinta said in an interview that while the other three girls fell into ecstasy seeing the angel, she was a little behind and suddenly, like a flash, saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Jacinta states that this vision made a deep impression on her and, although He did not speak to her, His loving gaze penetrated deep into her heart, and He gestured with His Hands, pointing to His Heart with His left hand and beckoning her to come with His right hand.
The Message: Christ comes to us as loving and merciful Lord Who welcomes us into His Sacred Heart. He is The Good Shepherd, seeking His lost sheep. He is The Good Samaritan, picking us up from the beating of sin, reviving us with the water from His Heart, healing our wounds with the oil of His forgiveness and mercy and taking us home with the payment of His Blood. Lastly, He is the Loving Father who welcomes His prodigal children with open arms, inviting them back to the fold.
The Garabandal Message is as much, if not more, about mercy and forgiveness than about justice and consequences. What are the Warning and Miracle, if not great examples of Divine Mercy?
THE THIRD STATION:
Our Lady Appears to the Seers the First Time
Two weeks after the angel's first appearance and after a series of other similar appearances by the angel, the angel speaks for the first time and announces that the following day Our Lady would appear, which she does, as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Accompanied by St. Michael at her right and, it was later revealed, St. Gabriel, at her left, the Holy Virgin speaks about many things with the seers and recites the Rosary with them. There is a large eye to the right of the Virgin, which seems to be the eye of God. At the end of the Rosary the Virgin leaves.
The Message: Our Lady comes on the Feast of The Visitation because, just as she visited her cousin Elizabeth to help her, so too she has come to Garabandal to help us now and in the future. Just as She carried Jesus in her womb during this visit to Elizabeth, so too She would carry Jesus to us, not only in Garabandal, but always. It is ironic that the two parties involved in the Annunciation, Our Blessed Mother and the angel Gabriel, are present here as well, since we are called to cultivate the kind of faith which Mary exemplified at both the Annunciation and the Visitation, where she proclaimed her beautiful "Magnificat" in praise of her God. We are called to the kind of humility, gratitude, and praise which Our Blessed Mother personified. The eye of God seen to Mary's right reminds us that God is always watching us and therefore we must remain faithful to this calling, message, and mission!
Also important is the fact that Our Lady comes to Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, long associated with the Scapular which She held in Her hand. Given the beautiful promises made by The Virgin to St. Simon Stock regarding this powerful sacramental, we are reminded that Garabandal is also a source of future Divine Mercy through its message of The Warning and The Miracle.
THE FOURTH STATION:
Our Lady Appears with the Infant Jesus
The day after her first apparition, Our Lady appears without the angels but, more importantly, with the infant Jesus. After speaking with the seers for half an hour, the Virgin disappears.
The Message: Perhaps one of the most concise of the stations. The Savior of the World, brought within Our Heavenly Mother at the earlier apparition, is now visible. So too, Our Lady brings Our Savior, invisible to us at first, but then clearly visible at Christmas and through His Word and messages today." Blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe" for in believing what they did not see at first, they are blessed with the source and fruit of their belief. Our Blessed Mother carries Her Divine Son to us everyday; it is our job to carry Him to a world which needs Him more than ever!
THE FIFTH STATION:
The Kissing and Blessing of Objects
It begins with a simple game...the girls bring some pebbles to amuse the infant Jesus. Our Lady kisses these pebbles and asks the seers to give them to the people in the crowd. When the people realize that the Virgin had kissed them, they begin to hand over rosaries, medals, rings, and the like to be kissed as well. Soon specific people in the crowd are singled out to receive these objects. Both a sweet odor and a luminosity has been observed from many of these kissed objects, even many years later.
At the final Garabandal apparition of November 13, 1965, Our Lady tells Conchita that Jesus will perform prodigies through the kissed objects and that those who wear such objects with faith and confidence will make their purgatory on earth with suffering corresponding to that which they would have had in purgatory.
The Message: What began as an innocent intuition, with simple pebbles, grew into a phenomenon quite unique to Garabandal. Many criticize the seeming over-emphasis of religious objects as some sort of talisman or superstitious practice, but this criticism misses the point that these objects become symbols of faith and are not venerated themselves. Three observations can be made here. First, out of innocence (simple child's play) comes faith (that special graces can be and are derived from kissed objects). Second, God's love, mercy, and special graces are found in the spontaneous innocent faith of children more than in the practiced, premeditated agendas of cynical adults.
Third, to live the Garabandal message, we must again become as children of faith who believe that God can and will work through people and even objects to demonstrate His endless love, mercy, and power.
THE SIXTH STATION:
The Blessed Virgin Teaches the Seers How to Say the Rosary
In a village where prayer in general and the Rosary in particular are already common practice, the Blessed Mother teaches the girls how to pray correctly and with true devotion. She instructs them on how to say the Rosary slowly, thinking about each word, and meditating on its mysteries. The pace and rhythm of the Rosary comes to be known as the Garabandal Rosary, which becomes a song of praise and honor where quality, not quantity, was the goal.
The Message: Prayer is clearly a central aspect of Garabandal, and it is impossible to overlook this in our stations. The obvious first layer of this fifth station is that we must pray for the world, priests, an increase in our faith, and each other. Second, prayer should not be some dreaded task or chore; it should be a joyous, desired meeting with our God! In a world that either does not pray or prays only when tragedy strikes, the irony is that the lack of regular prayer is a tragedy itself. We are reminded of St. Francis who turned prayer into a joyous song of praise. Our Lady did not miss any aspect of prayer and the Rosary in Her instructions, even teaching the children how to make the sign of the cross with dignity and respect. In Her second message, She added "pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests." The centrality of the Holy Rosary is once again stressed as in Fatima and elsewhere. From all of these points and more, we can conclude that a life without prayer is a life without God
THE SEVENTH STATION:
Our Lady as Catechist and Guide
Our Lady's instruction in prayer is just one of the ways in which She acts as a catechist and guide to the seers and, through them, for us. In teaching the girls about the love of God; loving God and our neighbor; living a life of faith; observing fundamental, social, and personal virtues; the hereafter; piety and the church, Our Lady serves as their instructor, guide, and model. In turn, the villagers learn much from the example shown by the visionaries' behavior and conduct in prayer and life in general.
The Message: Once again, we see Our Lady as a loving and caring Mother who knows that simply telling someone to do something is not enough; if one truly loves another, one will show them how and why to do something correctly. In a world where people only think of themselves at worst, or show minimal concern for others at best, we are called to go that extra mile, to serve as models of Christ-like behavior, to be "carriers" of the word and love of God, and the example of Christ and His Blessed Mother. Let us be good Samaritans and our brothers' keepers all rolled into one in a world that often appears immune to the love of God.
St. Irenaeus wrote a meditation which reads "Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; to the contrary, Mary, by her obedience, undid it. This representation of Our Lady as the "Undoer of Knots" fits beautifully here. Through her instruction, love and care, Our Blessed Mother can help us to undo the conflicts and problems in our lives as well, facilitating our personal path to salvation as well as our opportunity to help saves souls, if we accept that invitation. At Garabandal we see how rosaries were miraculously untangled when returned to their owners. If we trust Our Lord and His Blessed Mother and follow the advice given at this humble Spanish village over four decades ago, They will likewise help us to untangle the problems in our lives.
THE EIGHTH STATION:
Our Lady Visits the Homes
Our Lady visits every home in Garabandal in the course of the apparitions. Homes are visited more than once or twice as the need presents itself. The seers would enter a home in ecstasy, and would remain for various lengths of time.
The Message: Garabandal is certainly a welcoming, friendly village, and so the idea of visiting and welcoming with open arms is not foreign to the villagers. It is in this spirit that we see a multitude of "little visitations" by Our Lady not unlike those she made to her cousin Elizabeth. Just as the Gospels show us Jesus sanctifying homes during His ministry, we see the Virgin sanctifying homes with her visits.
We are given a three-fold mission: First, in a very real sense, we are to visit the sick, the lonely, and the poor as Christ instructed us to do. The life lived according to the Garabandal messages is not a passive exercise where one waits to see how one can serve others. On the contrary, we must be pro-active. We must seek out service by visiting our neighbors in both a physical and spiritual manner (e.g., by thinking of them and praying for them). The second part of our mission is that we must live a life that is open to Christ, so that He will always be present, always be with us in our minds and conduct. Third, we must likewise visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and not forget to visit God's House. Let us follow the example of Elizabeth and, open to Christ, ask "Who am I that my Lord should visit me?"
THE NINTH STATION:
Leading Good Lives
One of the first and most critical elements of The Garabandal Message is also the most simple. Our Lady tells us that the path by which we may save souls, including our own, is to "lead good lives". In late 1965 Conchita tells a priest that "There is no use in believing in the apparitions if we do not comply with the Message."
The Message: In this day and age we are witnesses to the two extremes in dealing with the salvation of souls. At one extreme we find those who are obsessed with dates and clues in an attempt to predict future events and prophecies. At the other extreme we find those infatuated with prayers and profound words. While Christ encourages us to read the signs of the times and pray, He also expects our actions to reflect our love and loyalty to God. Actions speak louder than words and tea leaves, and in order to truly follow Christ we must pick up our cross, put away our selfishness and resentments, and actually live in imitation of Christ to the best of our abilities. Imitation of Christ is found in actions rather than calculations and mere words.
Another aspect of this station is the idea that God does not promise happiness in this world. In fact, the times tell us that leading good lives according to God may often provide us with difficult choices contrary to society's norms or even our family's wishes.
Such choices have become increasingly common in this age when the world is increasingly distant from God and the kind of lives He wishes His children to live.
At the end of the day, living a good life means living a life for and about God in service of others. It may often be living a life quite different from the kind of life this society suggests we should live. Leading a good life leading to salvation implies humility, obedience, loyalty, respect and commitment to serving God through love and service to others. We must atone for our sins through penance, forgive offenses, practice modesty and chastity according to our stations in life, exercise charity and patience and embrace sacrifice as reparation for sin.
The TENTH STATION:
The Importance of Marriage and The Family
Among the sacred objects kissed by The Blessed Virgin are wedding rings, which are then returned to their rightful owners. On a number of occasions, the seers are able to identify the false matrimonial state of various spectators. Our Lady seems to have a predilection to visit homes with children. Also, many believe that the visions of seer Mari Cruz stopped because her parents forbade her to go out and pray with the others, demonstrating Heaven's respect for parental authority and wishes. All of the visionaries eventually marry, and all except Jacinta have had children.
The Message: In this age where the sacredness and nature of both marriage and the family are under such attack from the devil, Garabandal stands as a reminder that both of these institutions are central to a society whose focus rests on God. The present assaults upon traditional marriage and family are evidence of just how much the devil hates and fears the power of these sacred institutions.
THE ELEVENTH STATION:
The Supernatural Made Natural
The heavenly calls, ecstatic walks, unexplainable levitations, incredible physical manifestations, unexplainable medical observations and other supernatural events of Garabandal have become one of the most enduring elements of those apparitions. Photos, film and scientific observations have recorded the nature of these events for posterity.
The Message: The supernatural events of Garabandal, like the Dancing of The Sun at Fatima, are meant to demonstrate The Almighty's Power and Authority over the physical world, as well as to provide proof to unbelieving minds and hearts. Beyond the purely physical and scientific meaning of these events, however, is the simple truth that following God Almighty and serving His Divine Will transcends the mere physical and rational chains of this material world. Simply put, with God, anything is possible and without Him, any evil is possible.
THE TWELFTH STATION:
The Sacredness of Life
Seers Mari Cruz and Jacinta visit the home of Pepe and Clementina Diez in ecstasy every day for 18 months. The Diez family includes several children including a baby and Clementina was an expectant mother at the start of the Garabandal events. The girls frequently visit the sick in ecstasy, and many objects kissed by The Virgin have been reported to have resulted in cures. Finally, at least two of the seers, Conchita and Mari Loli, have worked as nurses.
The Message: We must recall that The Visitation is one of the most beautiful testaments to the sacredness of life from the womb onward. We are told that St. John The Baptist, within the womb of St. Elizabeth, reacted to the Presence of Jesus, within the womb of His Blessed Mother. At Garabandal Our Lady clearly continued this predilection toward maternity, expectancy and children. Likewise, Scripture tells us just how much Our Lord came to cure the sick, more in soul than body, but both nevertheless.
Service to others obviously includes serving and protecting the most vulnerable among us, be they the unborn, the elderly or the sick, because all life is sacred and worthy of respect and protection.
THE THIRTEENTH STATION:
Respect For Tradition and Authority
Garabandal is a very traditional village where the past is held in high regard and respect. Its religious and cultural customs are maintained and passed from parents to children. Likewise, The Blessed Virgin tells the seers to obey their parents, superiors and priests before obeying Her. In August of 1961 the local priest forbids the seers from entering the church in ecstasy and they comply without hesitation under the direction of The Virgin Herself. In the winter of 1962 The Virgin does not appear to Jacinta for a month because she had complained at her father's order that she go to bed instead of waiting for an apparition.
The Virgin tells the seers that Vatican II would have a positive impact on the Church as long as men did not disrespect the traditions and history of The Church by furthering their own subjective biases and taking advantage of room for subjective interpretation.
In summary, there is no evidence in any part of the Garabandal events that the seers were encouraged or even permitted to intentionally disrespect or disobey superiors in any way.
The Message: Open defiance of authority is a dangerous area. While one has a duty to defy immoral or evil orders, we must remember that the devil began his rejection of God in precisely this way. Certainly Heaven wants us to respect our parents, superiors and civil or religious authority whenever possible without endangering our souls. The litmus test for such respect and obedience must always be whether or not practicing it will lead to the greater glory of God and our salvation. Our own subjective desires or wishes should not hold precedence over obedience and respect to parental, societal or religious authority absent a clear threat of immorality dangerous to our souls and salvation.
If Vatican II's actions have had a negative impact upon the present Church, then Garabandal tells us that such harms have not resulted from the Council itself or its original motives but subsequent corruption and manipulation by those not interested in the greater good of the Church or the faithful. The Virgin told the seers that people of other faiths are "all my children" and once told them that one day Protestants would return to the Catholic Church. Taken in this context, Heaven's Ecumenism is one of diplomatic respect for what is good in other faiths while prayerfully and charitably recognizing where differences lie. This is a far cry from man's Ecumenism, which is simply one of appeasement, surrender and betrayal of basic Catholic principles in a crude effort to forge union. Such Ecumenism lacks the courageous conviction, loyalty to the Faith and humble trust in The Almighty's ultimate designs present in Heaven's version.
THE FOURTEENTH STATION:
Fr. Luis Sees The Miracle
Fr. Luis Andreu was a good and saintly priest who was very prominent in the early events of Garabandal. In August 8, 1961, Fr. Luis sees The Miracle while near the girls in ecstasy. The girls, who usually do not see anyone other than The Virgin during these visions, see him as well. He exclaims, "Miracle ! , Miracle !" and is very moved. Later, he dies peacefully after expressing how great and loving a mother Our Lady is and how fortunate we are to have such a mother.
The Message: The importance of the priesthood and religious in The Church has always been one of the cornerstones of the Garabandal Message and events. Here we have a Jesuit priest receiving the privilege of seeing Our Lady and the Miracle as well.
Our Lady once told the seers that if they met a priest and an angel, they should greet the priest first because he was consecrated and the angel was not. The Virgin gave the girls the power to identify priests wearing non-priestly attire, demonstrating that they were specially marked by Heaven.
We should note that Fr. Luis, a priest, is the only person other than the seers to see Our Lady at Garabandal and, along with Padre Pio, another priest, the only one to see The Miracle beforehand. Our Lady asks us to pray constantly for priests, for their mission is great and central to the Church and therefore the assaults and threats they and all religious face from the devil is likewise great. Praying for priests and all religious is a constant element of the Garabandal Message.
At Garabandal Our Lady made it clear that priests have to capacity to inspire holiness and lead their flock toward salvation or, on the contrary, to induce sin and drag their sheep toward perdition. This danger was plainly stated in the Second Garabandal Message of 1965. However, we must note that Our Lady did not speak of "bad" priests, but of priests who were misled, misleading or had lost their way or mission. Conchita even remarked that if many priests fall into sin and lead their flock to perdition, we are at fault for not praying enough for them. It is noteworthy that Fr. Luis was a Jesuit and that particular order has increasingly become involved in much defiance of core Catholic doctrine and teaching, being prone to secularism and modernity.
THE FIFTEENTH STATION:
The Corpus Christi Night of Screams
In June of 1962 the girls are shown a vision of hell and its torments and the coming Chastisement, causing them to scream in fear and anxiety. The people are so affected by these events that most of the people in the town go to confession afterward.
The Message: Just as in Fatima, Our Lady does not spare these innocent children from a vision of hell. During the controversy over the film "The Passion of The Christ", many critics argued that the movie was too violent and traumatic for children. While certainly parents were wise to use discretion and carefully consider if their child could handle the film, many children, including my own pre-teen daughter, saw this film and were very moved by it contrary to the overblown fears and warnings of critics who perhaps just wanted to find more things to criticize about this masterpiece.
We know that Our Lady and Our Lord would never harm innocent children, so it is clear that sometimes instilling fear of evil and its consequences has its place. While the Blessed Mother did not actually use the word "hell" in the Second Message of Garabandal, She did mention "the road to perdition". Also, we should note that She did not speak of "perdition" but the "road" to that perdition, thereby reminding us of the merciful and loving God Who is seeks our return to Him before it is too late.
Certainly, as Conchita has often noted that priests should warn their flock of the existence of purgatory and hell. This society increasingly ignores, avoids or even mocks this existence, thereby serving the purpose and plan of the devil quite well. The evil one knows that one of the best ways to snare souls is to deceive people into believing that there will be no eternal consequences for their actions and sins. The popular modernist notions that we will all be saved no matter what we do or that God is so loving that He would not condemn anyone are merely two additional baits used by the devil to seize souls. Note how reference to hell has been removed from modernist versions of The Act of Contrition, for example.
THE SIXTEENTH STATION:
The Visible Host
Only the early morning of July 19, 1962, with prior notice, Conchita leaves her home and goes around to the corner of her house where she suddenly falls to her knees in a puddle and prepares to receive Communion. Suddenly, as witnessed by numerous people and recorded by photo and film, a Host appears on her tongue which she then swallows. It is made clear that this miracle is performed by God through the intercession of Saint Michael for the purpose of increasing belief and faith among the people. It was given in response to the pleas of the girls for a miracle that would prove the authenticity of the apparitions and was announced 15 days in advance.
The Message: The critical importance of the Eucharist in The Garabandal Message is highlighted by this key event. Our Lady told the seers on June 18, 1965 that "Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist." The girls had received Communion from the angel before this, but only when a priest was not available. By the end of 1962, only Conchita and Mari Loli received Communion from the angel's hand, perhaps because they had more sufferings to endure and thus would have a greater need for Communion.
When a priest asked Mari Loli and Conchita which they would rather choose, a locution or a Communion, both unhesitatingly answered "Communion!" despite the fact that locutions filled them with bliss and Communions did not necessarily have such side effects. We must also remember the great importance of The Real Presence, which happens to be a favorite devotion of Conchita to this day. One of my favorite saints is St. Tarcisius, an acolyte who died clutching and protecting The Blessed Sacrament from an angry pagan mob. Garabandal reminds us that we should all hold Our Lord close to our hearts as St. Tarcisius did, protecting The Blessed Sacrament from a world that increasingly disrespects, mocks and ignores this beautiful gift from God Almighty.
Our present society leaves much to be desired in its treatment of Holy Communion, increasingly degrading Its meaning and sacred character. The Protestant view of The Host as only a symbol and the resulting rejection of The Real Presence have crept into Catholic practice for many. The Eucharist combines Garabandal's key elements of the priesthood, Communion, sacrifice and Christ's Real Presence. Many believe that the Miracle will be of a Eucharistic nature.
THE SEVENTEENTH STATION:
The Cemetery Rosary and Events
In early November of 1962, Conchita and Mari Loli go to the town cemetery together, in ecstasy. They sing the Rosary once inside with great devotion and also place the crucifix on the tombs of various relatives. Later that week, Conchita is seen holding a crucifix through the locked cemetery gate, as if holding it out for as man as 100 invisible people to kiss, which Conchita later confirms the departed souls did.
The Message: In the popular Garabandal book "O Children Listen to Me", author Fr. Robert Francois comments that this event demonstrates "that the world of the living and the dead are not separated and that they are united by one and the same Redeemer."
The Garabandal events are full of such examples of respect and love for the dearly departed in Christ. The seers would often visit the homes of the departed to visit their families in ecstasy and pray over the bed of the deceased family member or at their portraits, blessing these with a crucifix.
We must also note that The Virgin also taught the girls to pray for the Holy Souls of Purgatory as well. Clearly, Garabandal is as much about the afterlife as it is about the present life, for not only must we live this present life for God to have an afterlife with Him, but we must show love, compassion, mercy and charity toward those who have already passed on, for one day we will be in their places.
THE EIGHTEENTH STATION
The Second Message
On June 18, 1965, a full four years after St. Michael first appeared to the seers and with seven months advance notice, Conchita falls to her knees at the cuadro, the precise spot where both Our Lady and St. Michael had appeared the first time. A large crowd has gathered in the town in anticipation of this message, which is made public the next day and reads as follows:
As my message of October 18 (1961) has not been complied with and has not been made known to the world, I am advising you that this is the last one. Before, the cup was filling up. Now it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests are on the road to perdition and are taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist. You should turn the wrath of God away from yourselves by your efforts. If you ask him forgiveness with sincere hearts, he will pardon you. I, your mother, through the intercession of St. Michael the archangel, ask you to amend your lives. You are now receiving the last warnings. I love you very much and do not want your condemnation. Pray to us with sincerity and we will grant your requests. You should make more sacrifices. Think about the passion of Jesus.
The Message: In his book "Our Lady Comes To Garabandal" Father Joseph A. Pelletier observes that the devil's feverish plan of attack against the Church in this era is to first attack those in key Church positions, namely clerical leaders, then priests, nuns and brothers, followed by central points of doctrine, the teaching authority of the Church, the Eucharist, prayer and penance, and Mary. Fr. Pelletier interprets this strategy of the devil as recognition of the fact that "When all (religious) are leading holy lives, everything else in the Church will fall into place."
It should be noted that later versions of this message replaced "Many cardinals, many bishops and many priests" with merely "many priests". Conchita explained that cardinals and bishops are priests as well. Note how many cardinals and bishops merely offer lip service against the evils of abortion, stem cell research and nontraditional marriage and family. In fact, many openly defy the Church themselves, leading many faithful astray or into confusion. Note also how many religious have become involved in leftist and socialist beliefs, practices and causes. Note how many nuns now dabble in the occult, New Age, goddess worship and radical feminism, condoning and even promoting abortion and vulgar and despicable plays. Rather than guide the faithful and defend the faith, many religious corrupt the faithful and betray the faith themselves. Truly, if the destruction of religious is a key crime of the devil in these times, the blood and evidence of this crime is all to prevalent and visible in our world today.
This message mentions the "road to perdition" rather than "perdition" thereby still illustrating the merciful opportunity to change direction in that fateful path. Likewise, the reality that lost religious take many souls with them is significant as one reason why the devil has so concentrated on such people and therefore why we must pray for them, which is a most important part of the Garabandal message.
Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this message is that it reads like a present day newspaper article. We see how the fall from grace of many religious has contributed greatly to today's spiritual crisis and confusion within the Church. Scandals and defiant stances threaten to divide and subvert the Church itself.
Likewise important is the role of the Eucharist in Garabandal, from the fact that the actual pine trees in the pines were planted by Conchita's grandfather to commemorate children's First Communions to the Visible Host to the foretold future Miracle many feel will be of a Eucharistic nature on a Thursday no less which is the day of The Last Supper where The Eucharist was instituted. Rejection or neglect of The Divine Presence and increasing disrespect of Communion through reception by those in sin, disbelief in Its sacred character and questionable standards and procedures for administering It today all demonstrate society's failure in this area.
Finally, the roles of sincere sorrow and contrition for our sins, forgiveness of others, sacrifice and remembrance of Our Lord's Passion all encourage us to keep these directives toward salvation close to our souls, hearts, minds and actions.
THE NINETEENTH STATION
On January 1, 1965 Our Lady tells Conchita of a world-wide supernatural phenomenon that will be experienced by all. This event will be a spiritual wake-up call for each of us and is the first of two transcendental events prophesized at Garabandal.
The Message: The much discussed Warning is central to the Garabandal events and may be described as an individual Damascus experience for each of us in the steps of what happened to Paul. Each of us will see ourselves as God sees us and will understand how we have offended God by what we have done and what we have failed to do. It will be a miraculous, supernatural event clearly coming from God and designed as a correction of our conscience, a divine and merciful purification and a call that we abandon our sinful ways. It will also be a turning point, a fork in our eternal road, for we will then have the choice to either approach a loving, merciful God or fall farther away from Him.
THE TWENTIETH STATION
Our Lady tells Conchita that at eight-thirty on a Thursday evening, coinciding with an event in the Church and with the feast of a saint, martyr of the Eucharist, on or between the eighth and sixteenth of March, April or May and within a year or so of the Warning, a miracle will occur in Garabandal which will be visible to all in the village and surrounding mountains. The sick who are present will be cured, either physically or spiritually, and those who do not believe will believe. Conchita will announce this event eight days in advance.
The Message: Conchita has stated that it will be "the greatest miracle that Jesus has performed for the world" leaving no doubt that God is its origin or that it is for the good of mankind. She has also stated that the Miracle of Garabandal " will be a miracle of the love of God, something that will prove and manifest His love to us in an outstanding way." What further need be said than this?
THE TWENTY-FIRST STATION
The Permanent Sign
Conchita states that a permanent sign of the Miracle, which will be possible to film or televise, will remain forever at the pines.
The Message: Just as Our Lord came to us through Our Blessed Mother, The First Tabernacle, at Christmas in a miraculous way, so too God Almighty will touch us through the Miracle at Garabandal. Just as Our Lord is present in the Eucharist through The Real Presence, so too will He give us a permanent reminder of His presence through this permanent sign at the Pines. It is interesting that pines are associated with Christmas and are permanent as well.
These stations are meant to serve as a reminder of the key events and points of Garabandal. Anyone who has visited this humble village cannot forget its peaceful simplicity and quiet testament to the loving mercy of God and touch of Our Blessed Mother. To climb up the steep rocks toward the Pines is to experience two realities, that of this world and that of Heaven. From an earthly perspective the climb is rocky and treacherous, but from a Heavenly perspective it is swift and safe if one trusts in the loving welcome from Our Lady awaiting at the top. Once surrounded by those beautiful pines, one is enveloped in a feeling of peace and love which is hard to describe. More than conducive to prayer, the Pines are a prayer in and of themselves, a testament to God's loving and merciful power and promise.
Garabandal is famous for its miraculous llamadas, or Heavenly calls through which the girls were summoned to their Heavenly Mother and its ecstatic walks and runs through which these same girls raced up steep rocks to converse with that loving Mother.
In a very real way we are each called to make our own walks toward God through the events and messages of Garabandal.
May all who read these humble stations find them a useful reminder and guide and may they be fortunate enough to one day visit the equally humble village that God has touched and through which God will continue to touch an ungrateful and forgetful world.
by Gabriel Garnica
May 27, 2008
Gabriel Garnica is a college professor and licensed attorney. He is a frequent contributor to many conservative websites and has written nearly 300 articles on religious topics, including many for Garabandal International Magazine. Any comments or inquiries regarding this or any of his work can be directed to gbgmyarticles @ yahoo . com