Monday, May 21, 2012

Victoria Day: Let's remember St. Christopher Magallanes

St. Christopher Magallanes and  Companions
What do we celebrate on this long weekend of Victoria Day? Yes, the birthday of a Queen. The raising of the flag? A parade, fireworks display or just time for a holiday? Here's a suggestion: Let's remember St. Christopher Magallanes. Today the Church's liturgy provides for an optional memorial for this saint and his companions. It was during the period of 1915-1937 that in Mexico many Catholics were persecuted and killed for practicing their faith. The revolutionary regime did their best to destroy the influence of the Church. In fact, in 1934 president Lazaro Cardenas wished to establish a socialist educational system to replace what he referred to as the "fanaticism" of the Church. Does this not have some similarities to what is currently happening in Ontario's educational system?

In 2000, it was Blessed John Paul II who canonized twenty-two priests and two laymen all martyred during the Mexican revolution. Father Magallanes was executed with Fr. Augustin Caloca who wasn't afraid to say, "We have lived for God and in Him we die." As the many gods of secularism creep into our lives more and more everyday in this province and in Canada, it's wise to recall those individuals who stood for the truth and continue to guide us today. What follows is a brief reflection for the day written by Francois Mauriac one of the great Catholic writers of the twentieth century. It's published in the May edition of the Magnificat. Happy Victoria Day! But more so, happy St. Magallanes and his companions day! Here's the quote:

“As soon as they received the Spirit, they manifested God so strikingly that Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, and all the murderers of Christ who were still there must have believed that Christ had returned. When the tomb had been closed over his dead body, there was no doubt in their minds that the affair was finished, not only because he was dead but especially because the ordeal of his Passion had shown him to be impotent, and therefore both a liar and an impostor. But now, once again, his presence was felt throughout the city. His name spread from mouth to mouth… Only a small number believed in the visible Christ; but now that the Apostles spoke his name, all who heard them were 'cut to the heart' as the author of the Acts tells us.

"These thousands of baptised men were purchased by Christ’s blood; they immediately became diligent in hearing the Word, in taking part in breaking of bread and in prayers… There is no doubt, as Saint Paul’s texts prove, that they already believed what we believe today about the Bread of Life and the Chalice of the Lord; but the sense of Christ’s presence was given to them in a special way by the spirit of love: the power over matter and that power over flesh and over hearts which they received from the Lord identified with them.

"An unbelievable revulsion suddenly disconcerted the high priests, those foxes caught in their own trap. The infamy of the cross which crowned the life of Christ now clarifies it, it becomes the key to his destiny, the secret to the riddle which he had thrown in their faces during his mortal life.” (Francois Mauriac, The Son of Man, translated by Bernard Marchland, 1960)

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