Brutally martyred in the wake of the religious persecution of 1927 in Mexico, a boy, at the young age of 14, was put to death for Christ, while courageously shouting Viva Christo Rey. This young martyr was St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, just recently canonized on October 16, 2016. He was one of those called the Christeros, that band of militant Catholic men, who took up arms in defense of their Church and country.
The parents of young Jose instilled in him a love of the Faith and the Blessed Sacrament from an early age. This great love of God and the Church was Jose’s strength to face the severe persecution that Plutarco Calles, the President of Mexico, inflicted upon the Church. This persecution originated from the anti-clerical laws written in the Mexican constitution.
This boy was the epitome of courageous militantism. He eagerly desired death so that he might die for Jesus Christ. With this mindset, St. Jose begged the Christeros to allow him to fight alongside them, for God and Country. Relenting, the General of the Christeros allowed him to be their flag bearer.
Jose’s final courageous act cost him his life. The General’s horse was wounded in the fighting and Jose replaced it with his own. The revolutionaries captured him and locked him in the sacristy of a church. The church they used as a barn for roosters. Seeing this, Jose exclaimed, “This is not a barnyard! This is the House of God!” The climax approaches, as the revolutionaries become enraged, demanding Jose renounce Jesus Christ. They tell him to say “Death to Christ the King!” He refuses and they torture him by stabbing him with a machete. They cut his feet, while forcing him to walk on salt. With every torture, he shouted all the louder, “Long live Christ the King!” Finally, Jose is shot in the head, but before he expires, he draws a cross on the ground and kisses it. What saintly fortitude and love of God! May we have a fraction of St. Jose’s virtues!
The Modernists could learn from St. Jose, for the event leading to his death involves disrespect to the House of God. The churches have turned into a barnyard of sin, immodesty and sacrilege. What would St. Jose say today if he saw the despicable atrocities that happen in the House of God? The small always confound the “great.”
St. Jose, ora pro nobis!
~Damsel of the Faith