THE STORY OF THE PEARL
By Marilynn Lomangino
Through the everyday events of our lives, God reveals simple lessons to us. One day, when our family was on vacation at the seashore, we decided to take a walk. We came upon a little open-air stand called “The Oyster Shop.” Inside, a lady stood with a big bucket of oysters. She said that each oyster had a pearl and, for five dollars, the children could choose one. She would open it for them, and whatever was inside would be theirs. Next, she began a slide presentation and explained the story of how a pearl develops.
The woman told us that, at some time in the course of the oyster’s development, a foreign substance such as a grain of sand gets into the little muscle and irritates the oyster. In response, the oyster covers that irritant with a secretion. The longer the irritation is there, the more the oyster coats it. Pearl oysters vary in size and can be quite rough and ugly. Yet what is happening inside is a combination of rainbows, moonlight, and bits of flame. Once the oyster accepts the irritation as part of itself, the pearl begins to develop. The worst storms, gales, even hurricanes will not dislodge it. As time goes by and this oyster is finally pulled up from the bed where it has been for many years, it is opened only to reveal a beautiful pearl.
Later, when I had time to think, I meditated on the story of how a pearl forms. I realized it is just like the story of Garabandal. Something comes into our spiritual life; it comes because the Blessed Mother has chosen us to do something special for her. It is not natural to ourselves because the Message of Garabandal involves penance, prayer, sacrifice, and acts of love—things that are not always easy for our human nature to accomplish. The longer the substance is there, the more it can irritate. Sometimes we are asked to do things that we really don’t want to do. For example, maybe we’ve taken long trips under very, very difficult circumstances. But we offer that sacrifice up so that finally, when we get to the end of our Garabandal life, we will be able to open up our little spiritual oyster and give the Blessed Mother our special pearl. The longer we stay committed and the more we do, the more beautiful will be the pearl that each one of us can give.
So I pass this story of the pearl on to you. You are working on a little pearl for the Blessed Mother. The pearl’s name is GARABANDAL, and you are living and spreading the message. The Blessed Mother has picked you to carry it. And your finished pearl will be a unique gift to the Blessed Mother—one that no one else has.
To develop the theme of the pearl, use the letters—P-E-A-R-L—as a guide:
“P” is for Prayer, particularly for Priests. The Blessed Mother said, “Many cardinals, bishops and priests are on the road to perdition and they’re taking many souls with them.” In the early 1960s, no one could anticipate the tremendous crisis that the Church was facing. But now we see it. So I caution you: don’t criticize priests, pray for them. The devil is attacking them. They are God’s consecrated souls and the only instruments for bringing the Eucharist into this poor world of ours. Give them all the encouragement, love, and prayers that you can.
“E” is for Eucharist. At Garabandal, the Blessed Mother said, “Less and less importance is being given to the Eucharist.” She also said to Conchita, “My Son waits for you in the tabernacle night and day.” Decades ago, men tipped their hats in front of a Catholic church to acknowledge the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. People used to make visits to the church on their way home from work. Mothers would take their children into the church, just as you would take the children to visit someone whom you love dearly. We should continue these traditions today.
Take the children, even just for a minute, into the church. Tell them that Jesus is there in the tabernacle and that Jesus loves them. We need this, especially today when we have fewer and fewer priests and good sisters to teach as they did so marvelously for many years. Remember, Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, for such is the kingdom of heaven.”
“A” is for Acts of Love. How many songs and poems have been written about love? One example is a song called “Perhaps Love,” recorded by Placido Domingo and John Denver. Maybe you have heard it; it goes, “Perhaps love is like a dream; perhaps love is like the ocean; perhaps love is like a memory.” But in the Bible, Saint Paul tells us exactly what love is. He says, “Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it’s not pompous, it’s not rude. Love does not seek it’s own interest, love is not quick tempered, love does not brood over injuries. Love bears all things, love believes all things, love hopes in all things, and love endures all things.”
We know there are three great virtues—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. When the Blessed Mother came to Garabandal, she said, “You must lead good lives.” That means that you must love. Every day, you can fit so many acts of love into the normal things you do for your family, your coworkers, the disabled, and those who perhaps don’t know Jesus and Mary at all. You must seek out these opportunities and practice acts of love because that is what the Blessed Mother expects of you.
“R” is for the Rosary. And I always think of the rosary and the scapular as being inseparable. The rosary is most important in your prayer life—I have a set of rosary beads from almost every significant event in my life–and the scapular is the sign of consecration. Learn about the scapular and its promise. You must wear it. Get your children and loved ones enrolled in the scapular, too. Tell them about the protection that the scapular offers; it is your duty. You don’t have to make them believe it, but you have to tell them. With the protection of the Blessed Mother around them, they belong to her. She will put her special shield around them and keep her promise so that when they die, she will be there to take them to heaven. Our Lady brought the rosary and the scapular to Garabandal to show their importance in our times.
Finally, “L” is to promote Love of Our Lady. Get to know the Blessed Mother; read about her; say your rosary; think about her virtue. She is not an ordinary Lady. She is the Immaculate Conception, special and particular. She is God’s chosen vessel. She has all the virtues, the beauties, and the graces of the Church. Our Lady is the most beautiful Lady. Those who have seen her cannot describe the beauty of her face and voice. At Garabandal, Our Blessed Mother appeared as a young girl with delicate, olive-colored skin. She had soft, light-brown hair and a crown of twelve golden stars encircling her head. She wore a white dress with a very faint flowered print on it, and she was draped in a beautiful blue mantle. That mantle, I tell my sons, enshrouds and protects all of us. Even though we may be separated–I’m at home and they’re in school—we’re all under that same mantle of Our Blessed Mother. She is the beautiful Lady in blue.
You will receive marvelous favors through the Blessed Mother’s intercession. If you work for the Blessed Mother, she is a wonderful, loving employer. But you cannot work for someone whom you don’t love, and you cannot love someone whom you don’t know. So find out about Mary. Read about her at Garabandal; learn about the Padre Pio connection; hear what the Blessed Mother has to say. Every little thought has a message for you. Before you begin reading, say a prayer to Mary, who is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Ask her, “What would you have me know today? What would you have me do today so that I can bring Jesus with me through the world, wherever I go, whomever I am with, today.” And she will answer you.
God Bless You.