In 1927, the Mexican President, Elias Calles, began persecuting Christians throughout Mexico. This violent Atheist sent soldiers to kill priests and burn Churches. To defend themselves, Christians formed a small army called “The Cristeros,” because whenever they went into battle they shouted: “Viva Cristo Rey!” “Long live Christ the King!”
Many of the Cristeros were captured and murdered and among them was a young boy whose name was Jose Luis Sanchez. When Jose heard of the Cristeros who were fighting for freedom, he joined them. In one battle, Jose was rushing to bring supplies to a fellow soldier; he caught sight of a General whose horse had been shot dead. On foot, without a horse, the General was extremely vulnerable, so Jose gave him his own horse. Moments later, José was captured by Calles soldiers and locked up. Soon, the soldiers decided to kill him.
On the way to execution, they struck him savagely with a sharp machete. With every blow, the young boy cried out, “Viva Cristo Rey!” When he got to the cemetery, he was bleeding heavily. His torturers had also cut off the soles of his feet and forced him to walk on salt. The boy screamed with pain but would not give in. As the road was nothing but rocks and dirt, the stones where he had walked were soaked in his blood.
“If you shout, ‘Death to Christ the King’, we will spare your life,” said one of the soldiers.
But the boy repeated, “Long live Christ the King!”
The commander ordered the soldiers to bayonet the boy and they pierced his body several times. But with every stab he only shouted louder and louder: “Viva Cristo Rey!” The commander was so enraged that he pulled out his pistol and killed Jose on the spot. There was no trial.
Jose is an outstanding example of faith and courage in defense of freedom. His story has been made into a film, “For Greater Glory” starring Andy Garcia. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1566501/