The Locutions: A Voice That Speaks Without Words

What role do locutions play in Garabandal?

Fr. Jose Luis Saavedra writes in Garabandal: Message of Hope that, “the apparitions, suspended in January 1963, were replaced by interior locutions, from both Jesus and Mary…. The visionaries, having lost the visions, also lose in 1963 for the first time the certainty about the apparitions. Thus begins what has been called the stage of ‘the denials.’ The Virgin Mary, Conchita points out, had announced these denials from the beginning.”

For Conchita, the locutions began in March 1963, a time when she was doubting the apparitions. She wrote: “One day, in my room, doubting if the miracle would come, I heard a voice that said, ‘Conchita, do not doubt that my Son will perform a miracle.’[…] I felt this voice interiorly, but as clear as if it were through my ears, even better than with words; it left me a profound peace and joy, greater than when I saw the Virgin.”

In March of 1965, after two years of locutions without practically any apparition, Conchita affirms, “I really like seeing the Virgin Mary; but I like it more when She speaks to me inwardly, because She seems to be inside me.” This affirmation manifests Conchita’s predilection for the locutions. And this is not surprising because it coincides with what Mystical Theology teaches. In his book, Theology of Christian Perfection, Royo Marín says that locutions are distinguished from visions “insofar as the locutions are formulas which express statements or desires,” without being achieved through images of any kind. He says that locutions can be captured in three ways: by hearing, imagination, or intelligence.

Returning to Fr. José Luis Saavedra’s book, he tells us that:

“In the light of the description of Conchita’s diary, Garabandal’s locutions seem to be of the intellectual kind, since words are not used (the voice is heard, she says, ‘even better than with words’), ruling out the theological categories of auricular or imaginary locutions. They are intellectual locutions, ‘directly perceived by the intelligence, without mediation of the senses or the imagination, similar to how the angels communicate thoughts’ (The Three Ages of Interior Life – Garrigou Lagrange).”

This makes one remember what Saint Teresa says, “It is speech without words, the language of the homeland” (Life, Ch. XXVII). 

Although the locutions in Garabandal did not always happen when the girls were praying, rather taking them by surprise, they did not take away the girls’ peace. On the contrary, as we have read from Conchita’s diary, “it left me a profound peace and joy....”

The passage to the locutions points to a spiritual growth in the visionaries, although only Conchita and Mari Loli had them.

Truly beautiful dialogues are found among the locutions. On July 20, 1963, Conchita (13 years old), in thanksgiving after Mass, asked the Lord for a cross. “And Jesus, when I was asking him, he answered me, ‘Yes, I will give you the cross.’ And with great emotion I asked for more” (Diary of Conchita, 81).

Here we see that the more grace a soul receives, the more willing it is to suffer and give everything to the Lord. May we take that as a lesson. The Lord deserves everything. Everything is a grace and a gift. What is left to us is to respond with our yes to whatever He asks us, be it big or small things.