To kill the body, one must cut off the head, explains Revolutionary, Socialist Mexico's executions of many priests, including Father Jose Maria Robles Hurtado -- brutally hanged, at the summit of Sierra de Quilaon, June 26, 1927, for celebrating Catholic Sacraments in a land that outlawed Catholicism.
Understanding that his moment of martyrdom neared, Robles fell to his knees, prayed for a few minutes, raised his hand to bless his parish, and raised his hand to bless his executioners, forgiving them for what they were about to do. He then kissed the ground and stood.
A man with a rope approached the priest. The two knew one another. He was Robles’ compadre, Enrique Vazquez.
“My friend, do not stain your hands,” Robles said.
Taking the noose, he blessed the rope and kissed it as if it were a priest’s stole, acknowledging the yoke of Christ, and pulled it over his head until it encircled his neck and draped over his shoulders.
“May my blood fall on my people as a sign of blessing and forgiveness,” he said.
Seconds before his hanging, he exclaimed, “Yours, always yours, Eucharistic Heart of Jesus! Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit!”