By the Rev. Francois Turner OP
From the manuscript The Blessed Virgin Teaches At Garabandal published in 1978.
Spaniards speak of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary as the Sacred Hearts.
Although our Protestant brethren find the devotion to the Sacred Heart particularly difficult, Father Congar, a theologian, notes that there is no doctrinal novelty in this devotion and its biblical foundation is solid. In the Old and New Testaments, God’s love for us is widely expressed and sung.
The study of man reveals a biological basis in the veneration of a loving heart, and when that loving heart is God’s Son’s, this veneration becomes a worship. Through His Heart we are able to reach the loving and lovable person of Jesus Himself.
The veneration of Mary’s heart differs from the veneration of Jesus’ Heart as she is but a human being. Nevertheless, veneration to her heart is comparable, as Mary has a motherly heart for all her children. Her first child, whom she bore in her womb was Jesus Who was God. All others, as a consequence of their membership in His mystical body-the Church, are also her children.
Jesus is meek and humble of heart. He says so (Mt. 11:29). He loves those who are His own and calls Himself the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep (Luke 15:1-6). He particularly loved a young rich man, (Mark 10:21), Lazarus and his sisters, (John 11:5) and John the Apostle, described in the scriptures as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20). Shortly before His crucifixion He said: “Whoever loves Me … I shall love him” (John 14:21). It is certain that the blood which flowed from His side, pierced by a spear, came from His Heart and was symbolic of His complete love for all mankind.
St. Paul and St. John both understood and spiritually experienced this love. They testified to it. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35) “He loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The epistles of St. John are imbued throughout with this love, for God, for Jesus, for all men,
If the Second Vatican Council assures us that “the Virgin Mary… associated herself with a motherly heart to her only Son’s “sacrifice” (Lumen Gentium, No. 58) fulfilling Simeon’s prophecy “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul” (Luke 2:35), all the more piercing is that sword which still burns with love for her Son, Jesus, and for her other children-we, who have been the cause of His passion.
The Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary were present at Garabandal.
One night in January, 1962, at two o’clock in the morning, Mari Loli arrived in ecstacy at the house of Clementina, Conchita’s aunt. Her purpose in going there was to present on of Clementina’s sons with an image of the Heart of Mary to be kissed by him. This boy was a godson of Mari Loli. 1
On July 20, 1963, Conchita had a long and impressive locution with Our Lord in the village church. I quote from two passages:
“Will Russia be converted?” asked Conchita. “Yes, it will be converted and thus everybody will love Our Hearts,” answered the Lord.
“Shall I go to heaven?”
“If you love much and pray to Our Hearts …”
Jesus also told her that now there are more people who love His Heart. 2
In what might be called a report on the apparition of the Blessed Virgin at the pine trees on November 13, 1965, Conchita tells us that “(the Blessed Virgin) said to me: ‘You will recall what I told you on the feast day of your patron saint (December 8), that you would suffer much on earth? Well, have confidence in Us and offer your suffering generously to Our Hearts for the welfare of your brethren. In this way you will feel how close We are to you… Conchita, I have not come for your sake along. I have come for all My children, so that I may draw them closer to Our Hearts.” 3
After a careful reading of these five sentences in which Jesus and Mary speak of Their Hearts, we are led to the conclusion they are pronounced in a climate of love, that Jesus and Mary both love us and that They manifested Themselves at Garbandal for love’s sake in order that They might be loved in return.
They love each other so much that except once, Jesus and Mary say “Our Hearts.” The two hearts are perfectly united by mutual love, the love of God and the love of men. A Father of the Church once said, “Paul’s heart is Christ’s heart.” If this is true of the apostle, isn’t it truer still of the Immaculate Mother of Jesus?
The medal that Mary asked St. Catherine Laboure to have coined in 1830 bore on its reverse side the two united Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
We know from Father Rodrigo, Senora Gallardo, a nun who wishes to remain anonymous, and from Jacinta’s mother (speaking to Jaime Garcia Llorente in the presence of her daughter) that Jacinta was favored with an apparition of the Sacred Heart at the “cuadro” in Garabandal. On this matter, Jacinta said, “May the Blessed Virgin forgive me but what I shall never forget is having seen the Sacred Heart.” An unforgettable experience for the visionary, and yet “no me hablo.” (He did not speak to me).
This silent vision took place shortly before July 2, 1961, before the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin. Jesus pointed to His Heart with His left hand, and beckoned Jacinta to come to Him with His right hand. She said of Him, “He was the handsomest of all men. He had a penetrating look that made me feel as though it would tear my soul right out of my body.” (Private letters of January and February 1977.)
The fact that this apparition occurred is interesting. It corroborates that the events of Garabandal are meant to show men how they are loved by Heaven. This was clearly stated by the Blessed Virgin in the Second Message on June 18, 1965, “I love you very much and I do not want your condemnation.”
Jesus’ and Mary’s words concerning Their Hearts left a deep impression on Conchita. After her final vision of Our Lady on November 13, 1965, the visionary writes, “I have ceased seeing (my heavenly mama and my best friend and the infant Jesus)… They have left my soul filled with peace and joy and a great desire to overcome my faults and to love with all my strength the Hearts of Jesus and Mary that love us so much.” 4 She wrote this on December 10, 1965.
On August 24, 1970, nearly four years later, she invited some young French people to repentance, sacrifice and prayer “to satisfy the Sacred Heart of Our Mother.” 5 Conchita’s devotion to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary bore fruit for herself and brought her to bear witness to young people of her own age.
Conchita clearly showed this permanent impression made on her soul by the Hearts of Jesus and Mary when, in 1975, in her letter to the people of Ireland, (NEEDLES, Autumn 1975) she wrote, “… Let us always be disposed to defend and honor the name of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary… I shall always be united with you in the Sacred Hearts.”
1 Le Village Parle, p. 169, Ramon Perez. Published in France.
2 Our Lady Comes To Garabandal, Pelletier, pp. 144-145.
3 ibid, page 186.
4 ibid, page 188.
5 Ibid, page 180.