Signal Graces - Blessed Father Martin Martinez Pascual - Viva Cristo Rey!

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 19 August 2015 - 00:48:45 | by admin

We've just this hour finished watching the dramatic movie about the Mexican Cristeros War, For Greater Glory - The True Story of Cristiada. To be honest with you, we found the final credits, which show actual photographs of the beatified martyrs from that period, to be the most inspirational part of the whole film. Perhaps Andy Garcia is just a tad 'too cool for school' as General Enrique Gorostieta - but then that's showbusiness! 

After the movie finished, I was telling Angie about an amazing young priest, who had been martyred during the Spanish Civil War. Like the Cristero martyrs, he had used his last breath to proclaim, ''Viva Cristo Rey!'' For the life of me, I couldn't remember his name - it has been some time since I read about him and middle age has its effects - but I'll never forget the images of his final moments: as the pictures here show, one looks at him and sees Our Lord Jesus Christ.

With the help of the search engine, we quickly discovered that we were speaking of Blessed Father Martin Martinez Pascual, a Diocesan Worker Priest of the Sacred Heart.

During the anti-Catholic persecution by the Communists in the era of the Spanish Civil War, Fr. Pascual was hiding out in a cave. He discovered that his dad had been arrested and was being questioned by a committee. The 25-year old priest left his hiding place to try and save his father. However, the committee discovered that he was a priest and immediately took him out to be shot.

Just before Fr. Pascual was executed, a Republican, called Hans Guttman, took a couple of photographs of him. In those closing moments of his life, Fr. Pascual left a timeless witness to the Truth of the Catholic Faith and to the love of Jesus Christ; and an important lesson on how Catholics should face persecution and death. That this is a gift and work of grace can be seen clearly in his smile, stance and eyes: there is such a thing as the grace of martyrdom, granted to those who need and ask it.

As the text in the image below explains, the execution squad asked if Fr. Pascual wanted to face away from their rifles. He said no; all he wanted was to bless those who killed him and pray that God would not hold his death against them. Then he shouted, ''Viva Cristo Rey!''
As we read the account of Blessed Father Pascual's life and last hours, it suddenly hit us that he was martyred on this very day - 18th August - in 1936.

By faith we believe that this is too much to be a mere coincidence. We believe that this is a signal grace. Indeed, it filled us with Christian joy. There is a tradition which holds that Our Blessed Lady promised signal graces to those who prayed the Holy Rosary each day. Regular readers might recall that a similar thing happened to us when we watched a DVD of the 3rd Secret of Fatima on 13th July this year.

Perhaps the Lord is teaching us, and by extension others who read this blog, that whilst persecution is indeed closing in, there is a way yet for faithful Catholics to fight the atheistic Communism - and indeed the darker spiritual and temporal powers which lie behind it - that appears to have taken over even the highest levels of the Church and society in our day.

As a New World Order of atheistic socialism gains control, the way of the Cross, rather than of dark violence and hatred, will be open to the remnant who wish to follow closely in the footprints of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ: for we must understand that this evil is, by now, too grave and powerful to be beaten by human means or weapons.

Grace, Love, Sacraments, Sacrifice and Prayer will be of more benefit than any amount of aggression in the storm ahead of us. Whilst it can be too easy for each of us to give into fear and anger through our concupiscent passions and wounds, let us remember that the Way of the Cross, and the strength to carry it, is primarily a gift; and not something to be gained merely by gritted teeth and clenched fists. Fr. Gary Dickson has written and taught beautifully on similar lines this week (see Catholic Collar and Tie on our Links Page).

We are now into the trying season of the open heart and the bent knee before the Crucifix. Perhaps not all will be called to be martyrs. All will be called to be faithful. We each need to ask that Our Lord Jesus will give us what we each need, at the time when we need it, and leave the rest to Him. May Christ sustain us in the depths of His Love.

Blessed Fr. Martin Martinez Pascual reminds us by his eyes, his smile and his last words, that only the love of Christ can sustain each of us and defeat the Evil One and his cruel minions. One looks to Fr. Pascual and sees Our Lord Jesus Christ. May he intercede for each one of us in the days ahead; and may we each cultivate devotion to him.

Let us thank God for this amazing signal grace of reading about him on his very feast (in the new calendar)!

Viva Cristo Rey!  

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