The Blessed Virgin is our Mother
This year, 2015, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady in Garabandal. The date was November 13, 1965. It’s impossible not to feel moved when we bring to mind the apparition that took place on that day. The Blessed Virgin is our Mother, and She shows this once again with Her particular interest for her children. Let’s look at some of the details found in this last apparition and see what they might be saying to us today, 50 years later.
In her diary Conchita wrote: “One day in church Our Lady told me in a locution that I would see her on Saturday, November 13th, at the pines; it would be a special apparition to kiss the religious objects so that I could give them away afterwards. I was anxious for this day to arrive so that I could see Our Lady and Baby Jesus again. They have implanted in my life the seed of God's happiness.
It was raining, but I didn't care. I went up to the Pines, carrying the many rosaries which people had given to me (…) I took them so that she would kiss them. As I was went up, I was talking to myself, full of repentance for my faults, desiring not to fall into them anymore. For I was very concerned about appearing before the Mother of God without ridding myself of them.
When I arrived at the pines, I began to take out the rosaries and I heard a sweet voice, the voice of the Virgin, which you can always recognize from other voices, calling me by my name. I answered: 'What?' At that very moment, I saw Her with the Child Jesus in her arms.”
Just this small passage from Conchita’s diary gives us a lot to think about and to meditate on. There are several words in it that could be underlined and useful for our own reflection. For example, when she says: I went up “full of repentance.” We are all in need of recognizing our weaknesses, our defects, our sins, but of recognizing them before God. If we recognize them in God’s presence there is no room for discouragement. Neither is there room for its opposite: ignorance of our own spiritual poverty.
What is repentance? The first message speaks to us of the need for repentance, because in order to change, we must first see what we have to change and then have the desire to change it. Repentance is the contrition for past deeds that were either badly carried out or improper and wrongful. Along with this recognition arises the desire to not commit them again. This contrition and repentance come when we contemplate the immense love of God for us, which makes us feel sorry for having offended Him and for not having corresponded to that love.
In the Gospel we often read “Repent” and later “because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” This leads us to see that this repentance and conversion of heart are a preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, speaking about conversion, says: “This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart)”. (CCC 1431) Conchita felt repentance for her faults because she was going to meet the Virgin, who loves her a lot. We should learn from this. When we are with Her, when we pray the Rosary, we can ask for forgiveness in our heart for all the times that we have not responded to Her messages and to what She has asked of us. We can also renew our desire to be faithful to Her and love Her more. She brings us to Jesus. Yes, She does! She enkindles within us this repentance and contrition so that we might be holier. This counts also when we find ourselves before God in the Eucharist, at Mass, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation… we need to repent of our defects and our sins and have the firm resolution not to commit them anymore.