Monday, May 21, 2012

St. Christopher Magallanes and Companions

In 1917 a new constitution was created in Mexico. A number of its articles were anticlerical and restricted religious freedom. In time peaceful protests against the enforcement of these articles gave way to open rebellion and what has come to be known as the Cristero War or Cristiada. Soon a major motion picture about this war—“For Greater Glory”—is going to be released. Many Catholics were killed during this time, including the saints whom we honor today. At one point a shrine to Christ the King on a hill called Cubilete, the geographical center of Mexico, was destroyed by the government. It was rebuilt in 1944 and last March Pope Benedict visited it where he said the following. As we reflect on his words, let us pray that Christ may reign in the hearts of all families.

Dear brothers and sisters, by coming here I have been able to visit the monument to Christ the King situated on top of the Cubilete. … This monument represents Christ the King. But his crowns, one of a sovereign, the other of thorns, indicate that his royal status does not correspond to how it has been or is understood by many. His kingdom does not stand on the power of his armies subduing others through force or violence. It rests on a higher power that wins over hearts: the love of God that he brought into the world with his sacrifice and the truth to which he bore witness. This is his sovereignty which no one can take from him and which no one should forget. Hence it is right that this shrine should be above all a place of pilgrimage, of fervent prayer, of conversion, of reconciliation, of the search for truth and the acceptance of grace. We ask Christ, to reign in our hearts, making them pure, docile, filled with hope and courageous in humility.

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