FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 1961:
UNPARALLELED RICHNESS, SIMPLICITY AND DEPTH OF PRAYER AT SAN SEBASTIAN DE GARABANDAL
"Prayer holds an important place in Garabandal. Magnificent, varied, profound, it runs through the "events" on the whole as never in any other great Marian Apparition . . . .
The girls devoted a great deal of their time to prayer. What is especially striking is the quality of their ecstatic prayer: a meditation filled with presence, moved to the extreme; a slow, poised
recitation inspiring the full meaning of words as simple as "Mary," "blessed," "grace," "Jesus." " (Robert Francois Turner, 'I, Your Mother,' ch. 18).
The children spontaneously recited first the Rosary, then the Litanies, theCreed, the Our Father, the Salve Regina, in short what they knew. The Blessed Virgin had taught the visionaries all these prayers and, then, had gradually helped the girls to pronounce them
clearly. So, on this August 18, the first thing Our Lady undertook was to recite the rosary with them: "I'll start the prayer and you will answer, very slowly," She suggested to the children.
The visionaries postures induced the crowds to be quiet and recollected. "They would fall on their knees in the tiniest fraction of a second, sometimes adopting an overwhelming attitude of petition, their faces turned to heaven" (ibid.).
"To sing is to pray twice over" . . . The children improvised various hymns. From their songs there emanated a strange meekness and always a beautiful harmony.
The Blessed Virgin taught the girls to make correctly the various signs of the cross used in Spain. They made them with unmatched dignity. Many films testify to this.
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 93.]
Our Lady is teaching us, through these apparitions, how important it is to pray constantly and the right way of praying! See how we must think about the "words" that we are uttering, lifting up to God. Have you every been at a prayer service where the words are rattled off at ninety miles an hour? There is no time to think or meditate on their meaning. Some of the last words Our Blessed Mother said at Garabandal was "Think about the Passion of Jesus." Along with that and many Saints recommendations, I try to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary each day, thinking about how much the Lord suffered for my sins . . .
Mother Mary has also taught me to pray like she taught the visionaries. When I first went back to church, around the year 1970, I didn't know how to pray at all! Little by little, Our Lady sent to me people who taught and inspired me to pray many different ways. But the Rosary became my favorite private prayer and I promised Our Lady that I would say it everyday of my life.
Did you ever sing the Rosary? When I drove a truck, years ago, I used to sing the Mysteries as I drove here and there. Being alone in the cab of the truck, allows a person to express themselves and be truly open to God's grace. I can't sing too well, but only God knows about it!
Making the Sign of the Cross is important too! I've seen some sloppy ones made, sometimes so quick as if the person was embarrassed about the cross. Then there are those who refuse to cross themselves at all! I've seen this at Mass too! Even priests who did not make the Sign of the Cross at the start of the Mass! What a scandal! The cross is the sign of our redemption, so I think we should bless ourselves more often. One of the privileges of being a deacon, is to bless people and objects with the sign of the cross. What an honor!
By the way, did you know that the people of the Orthodox Faith make the Sign of the Cross right shoulder to left, instead of left shoulder to right as we do it. I always wondered why. Does anyone know?