Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Viva Cristo Rey!

On Tuesday evening, 22nd November, i picked up my copy of 'Hearts on Fire', a booklet that contains prayers by Jesuits, collected and edited by Michael Harter S.J. Quite randomly i found myself on page 38, and was struck by the line, "Viva Cristo Rey - Long Live Christ the King", attributed to Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez.

I decided to look up his biography, and astonishingly for me, found that the 23rd November is his memorial. He was executed on November 23rd 1927. The same morning i had just heard reports that the Mexican government had issued an advisory to its citizens traveling home for the winter holidays, to drive in convoys and during daylight hours. Quite difficult to imagine, for a country that shares a border with a powerful neighbor-the United States of America. The kind of advisory given by the Mexican government, is very similar to the situation in Northern Kenya-close to the border with Somalia. Mexico has been rocked by deadly violence, pitting security forces against drug gangs.

The execution of Miguel Agustin Pro

 Miguel Pro's execution was dramatic too, as explained in the account given on the 'Jesuit Saints and Blesseds' page of the website of the Society of Jesus:

"Soldiers escorted the unsuspecting Jesuit priest into the prison yard the morning of Nov. 23. When he saw the spectators and the firing squad, he asked for a few moments to pray, and then refused the blindfold when it was offered. Holding his rosary in his hand, he stood in front of the bullet-chipped wall and stretched his arms out in the form of a cross. When the order came to fire, he cried out, "Vivo Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King." 

The shots of the firing squad failed to kill him, and a soldier had to shoot him at point-blank range.
I am certain that the resolve of the Mexican people for a peaceful and a drug-society, will not die.

"Viva Cristo Rey-Long Live Christ the King!"

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