Hoy en día celebramos la Fiesta del Beato Miguel Agustín Pro, sacerdote y mártir. Nació en 1891 en Zacatecas, México. Desde pequeño fue virtuoso y alegre. Entró en el noviciado jesuita a la edad de 20 años. Fue exilado durante la revolución mexicana. Ordenado en Bélgica en 1925, regresó a México en 1926 sabiendo que la Iglesia era perseguida y corría grave peligro.
Ejerció un intenso ministerio bajo persecución hasta que en el 1927 fue acusado falsamente de estar involucrado en un atentado contra el dictador. Antes de que lo fusilaran, perdonó a los verdugos. Murió, como muchos otros mártires mexicanos, gritando: “Viva Cristo Rey.” Para con muchos norteamericanos, es una gran sorpresa que el gobierno mexicano estuvo gobernado por hombres anticatólicos que quisieron exterminar la fe del país. Los buenos sacerdotes, religiosas, y laicos tuvieron mucho que sufrir. En medio de sus luchas, todos ellos vivieron con la dependencia de Dios; con el olvido propio en medio del dolor físico y del peligro; con el celo por el Señor y por su Pueblo; y con obediencia.
Oremos. “Venerable Padre Miguel, que supiste vivir tu vocación en las más difíciles circunstancias, ayúdanos con tu intercesión a ser católicos valientes y no ceder ante la tentaciones de este mundo. Que nuestra vida, como la tuya, de mucho fruto para gloria de Dios y el bien de las almas. Por Cristo nuestro Señor. Amén.”
We are honored to celebrate today the Feastday of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro. He was born in Mexico in 1891. From an early age, he was intensely spiritual and equally intense in his mischievousness, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and practical jokes. In 1911, at the age of 20, he entered the Jesuit novitiate and studied in Mexico until 1914. It was then that a tidal wave of governmental anti-Catholicism crashed down upon Mexico, forcing the Jesuits to flee to California.
By the time Fr. Miguel was ordained a priest in Belgium in 1925, the political situation in Mexico had deteriorated: all Catholic churches were closed, bishops, priests, and religious were rounded up for deportation or imprisonment, and those caught trying to elude capture were shot. The celebration of the sacraments was punishable by imprisonment or death, and the Church was driven underground.
Fr. Miguel received permission from his superiors to return to Mexico incognito and to carry on his ministry undercover. He slipped into Mexico City and immediately began celebrating Mass and other Sacraments, often under imminent threat of discovery by the police. He became known throughout the city as the undercover priest who would show up in the middle of the night dressed as a beggar or a street sweeper to baptize infants, hear confessions, distribute Communion, or witness marriages. Several times, disguised as a policeman, he slipped unnoticed into the police headquarters itself to bring the Sacraments to Catholic prisoners before their execution! Fr. Miguel and his brothers Humberto and Roberto were eventually arrested, put in jail, and held without trial for ten days.
Following their confinement, the Mexican government ordered Fr. Miguel to be executed. As he walked from his cell to the prison courtyard, he blessed the firing squad and then knelt and prayed silently for a few moments. Refusing a blindfold, he stood, faced the firing squad, and with a Crucifix in one hand and a Rosary in the other, he held his arms outstretched in the form of a cross and in a loud, clear voice cried out, “May God have mercy on you! May God bless you! Lord, you that I am innocent! With all my heart I forgive my enemies!” As the soldiers lifted their rifles, he exclaimed in a loud voice, “Viva Cristo Rey!” – “Long live Christ the King!”
Let us pray. “Lord Jesus, you taught us to pray: ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ That sounds easy to do when it’s being spoken, but putting it into action is so much harder! Yet we know that if you and your holy martyr Blessed Miguel could forgive your enemies as they were executing you, then we should be able to forgive the minor offenses others inflict on us. Help us to know that true peace comes from being able to let go of anger and that forgiveness is as much about our own peace as our offender’s. Allow us to remember the mercy that has been shown to us and to treat others with the same mercy. In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.”