¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King! It’s a battle cry that was heard on the dusty roads of Mexico in the early days of the 1920’s…a mere one hundred years ago… It is a battle cry we should be living now…a battle cry that we should be carrying in our hearts…and shouting from our mouths… Today we are facing the same lies…the same cunning words of a movement that tries to silence our religious freedoms…tries to silence the Truth that was given to man by God. We are facing this same evil that continuously seeks the destruction of the good in the world…that seeks to destroy the Truth of the Holy Catholic Church….¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Today’s calendar takes us back to the early 1900’s, as we remember a group of martyrs that were killed during the Mexican revolution. Once again, we are taken back to the year 1917…a busy year for the forces of evil… The world seemed to be spinning on it’s head…from Russia and Germany, men were devising news ways to usurp the power that God had over man…While in other parts of the world, wars were brewing … And back in Mexico… a land long familiar with battling evil…(remember the Aztecs? and their human sacrifices?) Well, the Church in Mexico was now facing another round with the devil.
Revolutionaries had seized power, and were in control of the government. These were men with hearts and minds that had been seduced by the ideas and philosophies of Marxism and Masonic superstitions, their goal was to silence the Catholic Church...and remove the authority the Church had over the lives of men…but God had other plans... He instilled in the hearts of His Faithful, the courage needed to stand up to this evil…in both His priests and His lay faithful alike…and they entered this dance with the devil with a cry of their own…¡Viva Cristo Rey!
In 1917 when the revolutionaries had taken control of the government in Mexico, the 1917 Constitution was drafted, and with the implementation of this constitution, the Church was denied legal status and the clergy lost all political and civil rights. With the backing of the Federal law, the Revolutionary Government confiscated all Church property…including hospitals, monasteries, convents and schools. The president did not want the Church to have any part in the moral teaching of the Mexican people… and banished the Church from all of Her endeavors.
For the next several years, the Revolutionary Government carried out widespread persecutions against priests and the Faithful who gathered to celebrate Mass. Priests were forbidden to express opinions on political matters, even in private conversations. It got to be so bad, that to take a religious vow was deemed a criminal act. Priests were forbidden to wear their habits in public…and those who refused to comply were persecuted, with many suffering violence and murder. Many priests were forced to leave Mexico and those who remained were forced into hiding. The government hired local peasants called agraristas, and armed them to carry out their dirty work.
Then on July 31st, 1926, as tensions continued to mount, and after much deliberation, the Mexican bishops suspended all public worship….and for the first time in four hundred years, no priest in Mexico offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. By giving in to the demands of the government, the bishops were hoping to denounce any armed uprisings or resistance, but despite the move of the bishops, many priests in the rural areas remained dedicated to providing the Sacraments for the Faithful, traveling under the cover of darkness, and often in disguise, because if caught, these courageous priests were arrested, fined and jailed…most were tortured and executed. Many of the priests who remained, became involved in the religious freedom movement that sprang up as a result of the persecutions, called the Cristero Rebellion.
On December 12th, 1926, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, orders were given that one of the few remaining priests in Mexico, Father Robles, be arrested. Immediately he went into hiding…taking the Blessed Sacrament with him. Then at the start of the new year, he emerged and rededicated a Cross that had been placed at the top of hill in Tecolotán, celebrating the monument’s one year anniversary. Several lay men who witnessed this, joined the Cristero rebellion. With Father’s blessing, the men took a banner of Our lady of Guadalupe and prepared themselves for whatever the Lord asked of them, in defense of the Faith.
The following week, a priest from a neighboring town, was taken into custody by the agraristas, and hung…the flow of martyrs blood had begun. When Father Robles heard the news, he declared that he would be next. And with God’s grace, he moved from house to house celebrating Mass for the Faithful. Although many people knew where he was…his location remained hidden from the authorities for the next few weeks.
This angered the authorities…Father Robles was becoming somewhat of a hero to the faithful….he had to be stopped…A house to house search was ordered, and on June 25th the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, they found him, just as he was preparing to celebrate Mass. When he heard them at the door, he willing submitted to the arrest, and allowed himself to be marched through the streets…smiling and greeting the people along the way. Once back at the barracks, he was given food, a few writing materials and left alone. During his final moments, he wrote a final prayer of dedication to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a loving letter to his mother, bidding her farewell.
Later that night, they led Father Robles out of the prison and began the long march up the side of the mountain. They reached the top nearly four hours later….leading the priest to the foot of a large oak tree. According to a witness, as they prepared the rope for hanging, Father Robles fell to his knees and prayed quietly for a few moments…blessing his parish and pardoning his captors. He kissed the ground and stood up, as one of his captors approached him, Father recognized him, and took the rope from him, saying, “Compadre, don’t soil your hands,” and placed the rope around his own neck. Once he was hung, they removed his dead body and left it under the tree. Later, the people returned and retrieved his body for a proper burial.
This destruction of the Catholic Church and terrorizing of the faithful went on for many more years in Mexico…The Masonic government of the United States was eager to get it’s hands on much of the land that was being controlled by the largely Catholic population of Mexico, and this was one way to reduce the number of Catholics…But regardless, the root behind all of this evil was the devil...And this is the story of the good Holy men who fought bravely and were willing to stand up for the Truth at all costs…
It is the story of good versus evil. And in this chapter….The Mexican Revolution…there were many, many other priests and laymen who were martyred for their Faith…for the Holy Catholic Church…Father Robles is just one of the many who stood firm and gave his life in defense of the Faith….And as faithful Catholics of today, who are constantly bombarded with the same cunning lies…the same evil ploys, that seek to remove God from every aspect our public lives...We should be arming ourselves for this same battle, by devoting our time to prayer….by devotion to the Blessed Mother and by reading about each of these saints…and becoming familiar with each of the names of these brave men, who stood firm and defended the Truth…God will give us the graces we need. We just need to ask what He desires of us…(and here’s the hard part)…and then we need to unite ourselves to those desires….and prepare ourselves for whatever lies ahead…Remember, we will not know the hour or the time…we must always be ready…because we just don’t know how quickly the time may come for each of us to take up their battle cry…and make it our own…
¡Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King! ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
It is a battle cry for a King… A King worth defending with our life.