Today we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the First Message of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal.
News of the apparitions, which had begun on June 18, 1961 with the appearance of Saint Michael the Archangel, had spread sufficiently to draw a great crowd which gathered for the announcement. Anticipation ran high despite the heavy rain which fell throughout the day.
That evening, before the nine pine trees overlooking the village, the visionaries read the Message entrusted to them by the Holy Virgin on July 4:
We must make many sacrifices, perform much penance, and visit the Blessed Sacrament frequently. But first, we must lead good lives. 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.
Like the echo of Fatima, this Message calls to every heart for conversion. Sacrifices and penances performed in a true spirit of contrition, increased devotion to the Eucharist and renewed efforts to sanctify our lives are required to avert a coming chastisement.
The heavenly counsel of Massabeille, “Penance, Penance, Penance” reaffirmed in the Cova de Ira in 1917 as the remedy for the spreading contagion of Communism and the unnecessary tragedy of the Second World War is brought forward to the seventh decade of the twentieth century to a world in crisis.
At Garabandal, on that tempestuous night, many went away dissatisfied. The intensity and frequency of the ecstasies had lead them to believe they were about to receive a major new revelation. The First Message was too simple, too childlike. It did not contain the vivid illustration of the future sought out by the merely curious.
The reading of the First Message marks the culmination of the first cycle of apparitions and the events of 1961, but this would not be the last word from Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal.
How can we best comply with Our Lady’s requests of the First Message?
We must begin with the Church’s traditional three part teaching on penance: prayer (especially the daily recitation of the rosary), fasting, and almsgiving. Once we have fully mastered these practices, welcoming them within the limits of our state in life, we will be very close to leading the good lives required by the First Message.
Second, as taught by Sister Lucia of Fatima, we must train ourselves in distress and adversity to unite with Christ in prayer, offering our discomfort as a sacrifice in reparation for our sins and the sins of others. We encourage you to adopt the Morning Offering of Reparation, by which we offer the prayers, works, joys and suffering of each day for the sins of the world.
In Union of Prayer,
The Workers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel de Garabandal
Lindenhurst, NY USA