Miracle of the Visible Host - witness of the cameraman

from SHE WENT IN HASTE TO THE MOUNTAIN
by EUSEBIO GARCIA DE PESQUERA, O.F.M., CAP.


Click for details of the Miracle


We have what Alejandro Damians from Barcelona experienced and put down in writing. First of all he tells about the unusual circumstances on starting out on his journey, which only was decided on at the last hour on Monday, July 16th. Concerning these circumstances, Mr. Damians says there was . . .
". . . a detail which was destined to be of the greatest importance. Before leaving Barcelona, my cousin lent me a friend's movie camera, giving me brief instructions on how it should be operated, since my knowledge in these things was absolutely nil.

I passed almost all of July 18th near to Conchita's house with my wife, a friend, several priests, and some other people. Two circumstances joined together to cause doubt as to whether or not the hoped-for prodigy would take place: the atmosphere of fiesta that reigned in the village and the presence of priests. (It was known that normally the Angel did not come to give Communion if there were priests in the village who could do it.)

And so, between doubts, wishful thinking, boredom and hope, the long day went by. The discouragement and the lack of belief were general when we saw that, by the clock, July 18th had ended without anything happening. But toward 1:00 at night, after some had started to leave the village, there spread the news that according to the solar time, the day would not end until 1.25 in the morning.

A little later they asked those of us who were in Conchita's house to leave, and I stayed at the door in company with a friend of the family to prevent the entrance of other people. From my place of watching I held in my view the kitchen and the stairway that led to the upper floor, where Conchita was. There the ecstasy took place; but we didn't learn about it until we saw her coming down the stairway with that classical attitude in which her features are softened and embellished in an extraordinary way.

As she stepped out the door, the waiting crowd opened just enough space to permit her passage, and immediately closed in around her like an overflowing river. I saw people fall on the ground and get stepped on by the others. To my knowledge, no one was injured. But the sight of that fantastic multitude on the run, pushing one another, couldn't have been more terrifying.

I also had intended to follow Conchita; but five or six meters of heads were between the two of us. From time to time I distinguished her by the light from the flashlights, but without good visibility. She had barely gone outside when she turned to the left. Then she swerved to the left again. And right there in the center of the street, which is rather wide, she fell suddenly on her knees.

Her fall was so unexpected that the thrust of the crowd, by the force of inertia, pushed the people several meters beyond her. Thus, unexpectedly, I saw myself suddenly to the right and less than half a meter from her face. I firmly withstood the shoving of those coming from behind, and I succeeded in not being displaced from the privileged place in which I had fallen.

There was a relative calm. I should point out that, slightly before the middle of the night, the clouds previously covering the sky dissipated. And a multitude of stars began to shine around the moon. By their light and the numerous flashlights that lit up the street, I could clearly see Conchita with her mouth open and tongue extended, in the normal position for receiving Communion. She was more beautiful than ever! Her expression, her gestures, far from provoking laughter or being ridiculous, were of impressive and moving mysticism.

Soon, without being able to say how, without Conchita having changed her position or expression in the least, the Sacred Host appeared on her tongue.

It is impossible to describe the sensation that I felt at that moment! And that I still feel today on remembering it. It was something that engorged the heart in the chest, overflowing it with sweetness, and that made the eyes water with an almost uncontainable need to cry.

Later they told me that Conchita had been immobile some two minutes, with the Sacred Host on her tongue, until she swallowed it normally. And then she kissed the crucifix that she carried in her hand.

I was unaware of the time that passed by. I only remember, as if in a dream, the voices that were shouting for me to stoop down. And I also remember feeling a hard whack on my head.

Then I remembered that I was carrying the motion picture camera around my neck. And without paying attention to the complaints, I remained standing, focused the camera, pressed the trigger, and filmed the last moments of Conchita's Communion. I had never before taken a picture; I barely remembered my cousin's instructions. It seemed doubtful that anything would result from this. And furthermore, there was-I noticed this later-the fact that the visibility was totally inadequate, since I had to operate by light from flashlights.

When the roll came back from being developed, I found myself with almost a new miracle: on the film appeared 79 photographs filming the scene. The shoving of the people surrounding me had caused me to be unsuccessful in centering the picture well on many of the frames; but several had taken the picture with complete accuracy.

I don't know what most people think of all these things, nor the decision that the Church will adopt. The only thing of which I can be sure-and I hold this without any kind of doubt-is that on July 18th, 1962, in San Sebastián de Garabandal, two miracles occurred. The first, Conchita's Communion, displayed a supernatural character of enormous proportions; the second, very small, showed proof of the infinite condescension of the Virgin toward me, because only through her condescension was I able to be present so close to the prodigy and have it clearly impressed on my film.

When Conchita got up after having received Communion and continued on her way, I couldn't follow her. I had no strength. I withdrew to a corner and there remained entirely alone, leaning on a wall, holding onto the motion picture camera with the little strength that I had left.

I don't know how long I was there. When a calm relaxation replaced the tenseness in my muscles caused by the excitement, I set out walking through the village, with slow steps, without a fixed aim."

These words describe a lot, but they are not the only ones available to aid us in assessing some of the extraordinary interior experiences that Mr. Damians had on that unforgettable night.

On the same night, in the same place as Alejandro Damians, as close to Conchita as he was, better prepared and more ready than him to film the whole scene, was a man who had come from Paris expressly to do this. He was Doctor Caux, of great professional prestige among French movie makers. What he felt in Garabandal on that night, in contrast to what Mr. Damians felt, we can estimate through a conversation that took place between them a year later, on August 15th, 1963.

Dr. Caux- So you were the one who made the film of Conchita's Communion . . . How glad I am to meet you, to talk about that day! Do you mind if I ask some questions?

Mr. Damians- I'm glad to meet you too. Ask whatever you want.

Dr. Caux- I read your report closely; but I would like more information.

Mr. Damians- You might know that-although the report is complete- there is something that I couldn't put down: what I felt within, I wasn't able to describe.

Dr. Caux- Tell me, were you watching all the time?

Mr. Damians- From the time I saw myself next to the girl, I didn't look at anything else except her. I can swear that I didn't take my eyes off her tongue for a moment. Obviously I could have blinked, but as you know, that is a matter of a slight fraction of a second. And I saw how-with a speed too fast for the human eye-the Host formed on her tongue. To explain it better, I might say without the passing of a split second.

Dr. Caux- Why didn't you film it from the beginning?

Mr. Damians- I was struck speechless; stupified! When I came to myself -I don't know if it actually was this way, since I wasn't able to remember how I filmed it- I took the camera and, in a hurry, was able to take the last seconds of the miracle.

Dr. Caux- Did it occur to you to touch the Host?

Mr. Damians- No.

Dr. Caux- Was the girl's tongue in the normal position?

Mr. Damians- I would say that it was held out more than it would ordinarily be extended for receiving Communion.

Dr. Caux- Now permit me a question that I've wanted to ask for a long time: Did you feel at that moment a joy so tremendous, so beyond this world, that you couldn't compare it with anything else, that you wouldn't exchange it for anything, even for a thousand million pesetas, for example?

Mr. Damians- That's a question that I've been asked more than once, and almost with the same words. I certainly wouldn't exchange the happiness that I felt during those moments for a thousand million pesetas, nor for anything in the world. It was a joy so intense, so profound, that I can't explain it, nor can I compare it with anything. It was something exceptional! Something for which I'd give my life, and which didn't allow me later to follow the girl's ecstasy, or to go with my wife or with anyone; I was only able to take shelter in a corner and sob in silence.

Dr. Caux- I'm delighted to hear this! Actually that is what I suspected. There still remain two things that I'd like very much to know: What was the reason for such a great joy? And were you in the state of grace at the time? Pardon my forwardness; don't answer if you don't want to.

Mr. Damians- I'll answer gladly. I was in grace with God; and my enormous emotion wasn't caused by the miracle itself, or by seeing the girl with the white object on her tongue.

I'm going to tell something great: the thing that I did see, and that had a tremendous effect on me, was finding myself with the Living and True God. I wouldn't exchange anything in the world for this. If God wants me to see the Miracle that is predicted, I'll be delighted; but if it is not that way, what can I say? I see that it would be difficult for anything in the world to make an impression like the one I had in SEEING HIM during that solemn and magnificent moment in my life.

Dr. Caux- You don't know how happy you make me, on the one hand, and how miserable on the other. I felt the same as you, but in reverse!

Listen to this. I came all prepared to film the affair; I had everything completely ready. And everything went bad for me and I wasn't able to film anything. Only at the last moment, in the last fraction of a second, did I manage to see the Host, which was disappearing, being swallowed by the girl. At that moment, I was struck by a terrible pain, a horrible pain that overwhelmed me! The pain of a God that I had come to catch a glimpse of and Who was going away from me . . .

It was only at that moment that I thought-I had not thought about it before-that I was in mortal sin. I wept like you, but from pain! I understood what sin was and what hell was . . . It was useless for my wife to try to console me; nor could I explain anything, nor could she understand me. That pain was something too great to share or be solaced.

Because of this, I believe that only if God permits me to see the miracle -now that I try to always be in His grace- will there depart from me this pain so profound that I think it's going to kill me, and which still continues piercing my heart. On that night in Garabandal, I even had the impression that the people were avoiding me, as if they saw my sins!

Mr. Damians- I understand everything, my friend. I have to tell you that on that day it wasn't only your impression that the people didn't like you; it was the truth. The village thought that you had come with a woman who wasn't your wife; and they even asked me to find a way to throw you out. Now I understand why God didn't permit them to do it. You suffered more pain by staying than you would have by being roughly expelled.

Dr. Caux- You're right. I'd have really preferred that to have happened. But now I know what God is, and what He wants of me, what the hell is of not seeing God and how this pain -I would give more than my whole fortune to avoid it- was relieved in confession, and now again with the hope of seeing the Miracle some day.

Whatever people say, and although many ridicule me, I cannot abandon the service of the Garabandal cause, to which I owe something as profound as it is unknown and terribly magnificent, something that I hope will depart from me, and be eased on the day of the Miracle. The view of hell moves me to try to move the world myself, announcing what has happened and what is going to happen, so that it can be saved. My family were the first to think that I was crazy, although now they don't think that way. But I assure you that nothing that anyone thinks of me matters; the only thing that matters to me is God."

This conversation between the man from Barcelona and the doctor from Paris has extraordinary value for its theological implications and scope.

I want to add what was said in a letter written in April of 1970 by María Teresa Le Pelletier de Glatigny:

One afternoon in Paris, Doctor Caux told us confidentially what he had felt on that night in Garabandal. Among other things, he told me how at the exact moment of the miracle, he had lived and experienced what human words could not convey: what it is to lose God-the true pain of hell. At the same time, he was filled with all the horror of being in mortal sin. "Pray for me, Señora"-he told me at the end-"in order that I may never fall again into sin, now that I have experienced its terrible meaning."



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Tuesday, 12-Dec-2017 16:03:38 GMT