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“I will never give in. Viva Cristo Rey!"

Jose Sanchez del Rio
I was sick yesterday, and decided not to spread my germs around at Mass during a horrid flu season here in Michigan, and thus stayed home. I put that bit of extra time to good use by watching "For Greater Glory". While it's not the greatest movie I've ever seen, it did do one thing a good movie should make you do: want to learn more.

I was especially impressed by the performance of Mauricio Kuri, who plays young Jose', the teen who runs off to join the Cristeros. Jose Sanchez del Rio was a real young man, who left home at the age of 13 to do what he could (water horses, cook beans) for the cause of religious freedom. He was martyred for his efforts, but never seemed to waver in his faith in God and in justice.

At 11 p.m., the hour of martyrdom arrived. Believing that torture would change the mind of the boy, the government soldiers flayed the skin from the soles of his feet, thinking that José would weaken and cry out for mercy. But they were wrong. As the sharp pain seared through his body, José thought of Christ on the Cross and offered him everything, all the while shouting ‘Viva Cristo Rey!’

Then the soldiers, hurling insultsat him and giving him blows forced him to walk barefoot with his injured feet through the cobblestone streets toward the cemetery. Along the way, some of the soldiers cut his body with a machete until he was bleeding from several wounds.

At times they stopped him and said, “If you shout, ‘Death to Christ the King’ we will spare your life.” Jose would only shout, “I will never give in. Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!”

When they reached the cemetery, the soldiers stood the boy before a newly dug hole, his grave. The executioners riddled his battered body with bayonet stabs. At each stab, the boy cried out louder, “Viva Cristo Rey!”

Then the commander of the guard addressed the youth, cruelly asking if he wanted to send a message to his father. To this José replied without yielding, “That we will see each other in Heaven. Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva Santa María de Guadalupe!” These were his last words.

You can read more about him at Traditioninaction.org. I pray that Bl. Jose and all the beatified and canonized Cristeros will pray for the USA as we battle now for religious liberty.

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