When my great-grandmother helped Fr. Miguel Pro escape from prison, I wonder what they said to each other.
She was an orphan of the Mexican revolution, and would bring him a disguise to slip past his captors, so that he could offer the sacraments for the faithful who lived nearby.
Out of necessity in an anti-Catholic country, Father Pro was a master of disguises; you can find photos of these through a quick Internet search. He dressed as a mechanic to minister to cab & bus drivers; or as a farmer to go out to the rural areas. He was a beggar, an office worker… you name it!
His truest identity was as a priest—someone who threw his entire self into God and who wanted to be a living image of Christ in the world.
However, the world didn’t allow him to live freely as a priest. He was hunted by the government day and night.
To live as his truest self, therefore, Father Pro chose to become so many other things; a miner, a mechanic, a wealthy gentleman…
One story recounts his conversation with Communists on a train, in which he jokingly claimed that he, too, was a socialist and a Communist. They all laughed together. Father Pro made such an impression on them that they offered him chocolates upon parting. Given the socio-political climate in Mexico at the time, this was no small accomplishment for a priest.
In each of these diverse circumstances, Father Pro strove to be Christ’s presence in that particular situation.
How To Live As Myself?
In our lives, perhaps there are many parts of our personality that never mix. When the barber inquires about my Sunday plans, do I reveal my devotion to God? Or, conversely, among my Church community, may I discuss the latest TV show I’ve been watching every weekend? Old classmates, sports buddies, neighbors, and family… can we consistently be the same person with them all?
I believe strongly that Miguel Pro would answer an enthusiastic, ¡Sí! to all of the above.
No matter what situation we’re in, each of us is only fully ourselves when we find our identity in Christ. Jesus is quoted in the Gospel according to John 10:10, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”
“Christ, … in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1701)
To put it simply; when we encounter God’s love by getting to know Christ, we discover our ultimate purpose & calling. When we show God’s love by how we live, we are most fully alive. When we find our identity in Christ, we are most fully & authentically ourselves—no matter what!
Ready for Life
Father Pro was all about life. He had so profoundly found himself in Christ, that he was prepared for death… and eternal life. In his final days, he promised:
If I meet any long-faced saints there [in Heaven], I will cheer them up with a Mexican hat dance! – Fr. Miguel Agustín Pro
Even his final words were about life and Christ: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! “Long Live Christ the King!” he shouted, before the reigning powers’ firing squad silenced his mortal voice. (Now, his words echo into eternity… never to be silenced!)
May Christ the King never be silenced in us. May we embrace a daily effort to know Christ in Scripture, in prayer, and in the living witness of the Church. May we fully find ourselves in Christ, and in every situation may we live fully alive!
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life.
Angela Sealana is Media Coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, having served at the apostolate since 2010. She also serves on the PCH Speaker Team.