You have given all to me, now I return it. These words, at the conclusion of Saint Ignatius' prayer The Suscipe, sum up beautifully the self-offering of the Mexican martyr, Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro. With ardent love for Christ his King, Miguel renounced everything and entered the Society of Jesus. After his ordination Miguel carried on his priestly ministry in spite of the grave religious persecution of the Church in Mexico in the early 20th century. Often in disguise and continually foiling the best efforts of the Mexican secret police to arrest him, Miguel was eventually captured. On November 23, 1927 after forgiving his executioners, he was shot by a firing squad as he proclaimed, "Hail, Christ the King!" How fitting that this year Miguel's memorial fell on the eve of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
We recall that after Jesus has fed the five thousand, the gospel writer tells us, “When the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone."John 6.15 As we celebrate Christ as King, it wise and wonderful to remember this scene. For “King” may be a title we need- to remind us of the place we want Jesus to have in our lives, in our hearts. But if we are not clear about who Jesus really is, He may elude us and withdraw. King is a dangerous title- all about domination and power. And it is simply not a title Jesus chooses for himself. His life, His passion and death are all about self-offering, self-forgetfulness and loving obedience to the Father. How well Miguel Pro understood this; how beautifully and completely he imitated his King. How will we give Him all that we have, all that we are?
Photograph of the Abbey processional cross by Brother Brian.