“Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King)
July 24 OCD: Optional Memorial
Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on Dec. 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5,1990), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936, after having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and having offered their lives for the Church. The first fruits of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, they were beatified by John Paul II on March 29, 1987.
From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins
Office of Readings
Second Reading: From the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross
“We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.” This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses Him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands, all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together form a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom. The loving garlands can refer to what we call aureoles; these are also woven by Christ and the Church and are of three kinds:
The first kind is made from the beautiful flowers of all the virgins. Each virgin possesses her own aureole of virginity, and all these aureoles together will be joined into one and placed on the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.
The second aureole contains the resplendent flowers of the holy doctors. All these aureoles will be entwined into one and set upon the head of Christ over that of the virgins.
The third is fashioned from the crimson carnations of the martyrs. Every martyr has an aureole of martyrdom, and these red aureoles woven together will add the final touch to the aureole of Christ the Bridegroom. So beautiful and fair will Christ the Bridegroom be with these three garlands when He is seen in heaven. Therefore, we shall weave these garlands, the soul says, flowering in Your love.
The flower of these works and virtues is the grace and power they possess from the love of God. Without love these works will not only fail to flower, but they will all wither and become valueless in God’s sight, even though they may be perfect from a human standpoint. Yet, because God bestows His grace and love, they are works that have blossomed in His love.
“And bound with one hair of mine.” This hair is her will and the love she has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task of the thread in a garland.
As the thread binds the flowers together, so love fastens and sustains the virtues in the soul. As St. Paul remarks: “Charity is the bond of perfection”. (Col 3:14)
R/. Even if you should have to suffer for justice’ sake, happy will you be.
Do not be afraid and do not stand in awe of them, but adore the Lord Christ
in your hearts * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
V/. It is better, if God so wills it, to suffer and do good deeds than to
do evil, * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
Father, strength of the humble, You sustained in martyrdom the virgins Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angelus. As they willingly shed their blood for Christ the King, may we, through their intercession, be faithful to You and to Your Church until death. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.