WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 1961:
THE FIRST "MESSAGE" IS MADE PUBLIC AT LAST; ITS UNIVERSAL DESTINATION AND ITS URGENT CHARACTER. THE FUTURE "MIRACLE" IS REVEALED, AT LAST, TO CONCHITA.
It was on this liturgical and extremely meaningful day (see note at end of this message) that, at 10 P.M. at the Pines, the visionaries read the (first) Message of Garabandal. It was a formal, public and explicit Message which, on the previous June 24, had appeared in large writing at the feet of the Angel. These were all new and original elements carrying bibical overtones. A message of salvation, the principal revelation of Garabandal, was being given to the world. The Blessed Virgin who, as early as on the previous July 2, had asked the girls if they had understood its meaning, was thus straightaway manifesting the primary intention of her "visit."
"WE MUST MAKE MANY SACRIFICES, PERFORM MUCH PENANCE, AND VISIT THE BLESSED SACRAMENT FREQUENTLY. BUT FIRST, WE MUST BE VERY GOOD. IF WE DO NOT, A CHASTISEMENT WILL BEFALL US. THE CUP IS ALREADY FILLING UP, AND IF WE DO NOT CHANGE, A VERY GREAT CHASTISEMENT WILL COME UPON US."
The Message, apparently "childish and infantile," conceals, in fact, a powerful prophetic and evangelical charge of universal scope. It calls upon the unavoidable responsibility of every human moral conscience, that of the Christian as that of the unbeliever. It already makes reflect the interior light of the "Splendor of Truth" (God) on man and the quality of his heart, and finally on the whole world.
On this October 18, 1961, at San Sebastian de Garabandal, the weather itself was to testify in its own way to the twofold aspect of the Message: a torrential rain fell all day on the village; it hailed, it snowed, the thundery rain never stopped rumbling and the thunder itself reverberating. Must we impute that to chance? Or was this not a very special reminder of the theophanies of the Old Covenant, e.g. that of the Exodus and of Mount Sinai? . . . On the other hand, at the moment when the Message was about to be proclaimed and translated into various languages, a strong wind blew in the valley, chased away all the clouds and revealed a bright moon shining in the sky!
An ecstasy followed the reading of this first Message. Our Lady then announced to Conchita, definitively this time, that a great Miracle was certain to come.
Father Ramon Maria Andreu was the first person to whom the visionary spoke of this miracle, on the morning of the next day. Back from the Pines, totally downhearted and bewildered by the simplicity of the "little" Message, Ramon had been called first by Mari-Loli and then by Conchita after the ecstasy of the evening of this 18th of October, 1961. They repeated to him what the Blessed Virgin had revealed to them about him: that is, the details of his extremely painful interior states and the exact sites where he had felt them. The next day, as we saw, Conchita assured him that the Blessed Virgin had sent her to console him in that "there would be a Miracle. However, I still do not know what it will be, or when it will come."
Note: How one could not discern here the profound spiritual meaning of the choice of "October 18" for the first Message to be given at San Sebastian de Garabandal, that is on the very Feastday of the evangelist (and author of the Acts of the Apostles), whose very attractive and accessible personality is already so marvelously adapted to contemporary men and women? The first Message displays some connection with the essential characteristics of the hagiographer's writings: Luke's sincere attachment to the person of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer; his universal call to the radical Message, which is the Gospel; his exhortation to conversion and to change (metanoia), to repentance, to prayer and to the spirit of poverty; his delight in the spirit; his insistence on the authentic divine kindliness and mercy, on the preaching of the Gospel to the entire world within the framework of the mystery and the time of the Church, and his interest for everything that concerns the mystery of the salvation of Israel; his theological
and eschatological hope already existentially existing between an already acquired salvation and one that is not yet fully accomplished; finally his recall of the possibility of a fair condemnation, the mysterious counter-picture of a jealous divine Love for the human being, symbolized in Scripture but also in the two Messages of Garabandal, by the image of the "Cup of the Wrath of God." However, this Wrath will come to bear only after the patient delays of His Mercy.
[Excerpted from 'Garabandal' Book, page 109.]