We continue our reflection on the last apparition of Our Lady in Garabandal.
Conchita continues in her diary:
“She was dressed as usual and smiling. I told her, 'I have come to bring you the rosaries so that you can kiss them.' She said to me, 'I see that.' I had been chewing gum, but when I saw her, I stopped chewing and stuck the gum to one of my teeth. She must have noticed, because She said, 'Conchita why don't you get rid of the chewing gum and offer it up as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son?' A bit ashamed, I took the gum out and threw it on the ground. She said afterwards, 'Do you remember what I told you on your saint's day: that you would suffer much on earth?... Well I am telling you again. Have confidence in Us.' Then I added, 'How unworthy I am, oh Our Mother, of so many graces received through you, and now you have come to me to help me carry the little cross I have."
We must make many sacrifices
Our Lady told us in her first message that "we must make many sacrifices, do much penance." Now, in this passage taken from Conchita's diary we read "Conchita why don't you get rid of the chewing gum and offer it up as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son?" During the summer of 1916, the Angel of Peace said to the children of Fatima: "In all you do, offer sacrifices to God as acts of reparation." We can say that the need to do sacrifices isn't something new in the Christian life. Saint Peter tells us in his letter: "Offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God." We have to do these spiritual sacrifices that please God 24 hours a day, doing and living everything for Him and in the way that He wants. It's a sacrifice because it means making an effort; it's ignoring our own wants, our own way of seeing things, our own will in order to take on God's will. This is our "reasonable worship." St. Paul tells us that everything we do should be done with our whole heart, as "for the Lord and not for men." And he adds: "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance because it is Christ, the Lord, whom you serve." We could say that the greatest sacrifice is that of taking on the daily crosses with joy, accepting them and uniting them to Christ. He Himself told us: "Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me."
Our Lady pointed out in Garabandal that what most pleased her was being our faithful to the ordinary daily things. Conchita said that "one day, in an apparition of the Virgin Mary, we were wearing a ‘cilicio’ (instrument of penance). We were wearing it very loosely so that she would realize that we were wearing it (we were wearing it round our waist), and we patted it every now again. Finally she said to us ‘Yes, I know that you are wearing it, but it isn't precisely that which I'm asking of you, nor is it what most pleases me. Instead, be faithful in your ordinary lives.’ This does not take away the value that voluntary sacrifices have when we offer them to the Lord in reparation for our sins and for the sins of the world, but it helps us understand the importance of this daily fidelity lived in love and in humility. Each one of us should examine himself to see whether they have something that they can offer up to God and to Our Lady. Our Lady asked Conchita to offer up her chewing gum. Is that something too small to offer? Who can judge what something is worth in the eyes of God and of Mary? The Virgin Mary also asked greater sacrifices of them, like getting up early in the morning to pray the rosary in the "calleja," even when it was cold and raining. Conchita simply states that "The Virgin Mary always wants us to do penance."
You can speak to her about anything
"Have confidence in Us." Conchita writes: "On one occasion, the Virgin jokingly imitated our incorrect expressions. She did it so that we would feel more comfortable in our relationship with her, but we actually already trusted her since the beginning. (…) I love Our Lady as if she were my Mother. I can speak to her about everything.”
John Paul II spoke in one of his Catechesis about Mary, whom Jesus gave to us from the Cross to be Our Mother, expressing this desire: "May each one of us, precisely through the concrete reality of Mary’s universal motherhood, fully acknowledge her as our own Mother, and trustingly commend ourselves to her maternal love.” (General Audience, April 23, 1997).