Father Chrysostomus Chang plumbed the depths of his human will for a supernatural strength. With only a few minutes remaining of his life in the material world, he lifted his thoughts to the spiritual. Through screams from the mob, he addressed his confreres at his side one last time, to prepare them not for death, but for life, everlasting life.
“We’re going to die for God. Let us lift our hearts one more time, in offering our total beings,” he said.
Helpless, the six Trappist monks stood handcuffed and chained on a makeshift platform, targets of a frenzied hatred that surged toward them. The blood-encrusted, lice-infested men, wearing rags caked in their own filth, had nowhere to run, no one to help them. After six months of mind-bending interrogations and body-rending torture, it was over. It was all over.
The verdict had just been read by a Chinese Communist officer: Death. To be carried out immediately.
Hundreds of crazed peasants, with fists raised, with contorted faces, with spit-covered lips, screamed rehearsed slogans of approval for the approaching slaughter. Executioners – reliable Party henchmen – rushed to ready their rifles to exterminate the Roman Catholic monks, believers in the superstitious cult, lovers of the God on the Cross imported from the Imperialist West.
And so it happened on January 28, 1948, in the dead of winter in Pan Pu, an unmapped village, a frigid heathen hell in the Mongolian mountains, somewhere in the frost-covered north of the Republic of China.
Just over the ridge from the pandemonium staged by the soulless Chinese Communists – believers in the materialistic cult, lovers of the god of death and destruction – lay the charred ruins of Our Lady of Consolation, the once-majestic abbey the monks had called home.
Jostled in the madness, the monks fell to their knees. With their swollen hands tied and chained behind their backs, they couldn’t even cross themselves – In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost – a final time.
The death squad – Communist soldiers at the ready – loaded their rifles with fresh rounds of ammo.
Shots rang out. One, then the next, followed by the next, the monks collapsed upon the blood-splashed, frozen ground. Their lifeless bodies dragged to a nearby sewage ditch and dumped into a heap, one on top of the other. Alerted by the shots, wild dogs, roaming the village’s dirt roads, scavenging for scraps, hurried over to the bodies to investigate. Sniffing, they lapped up the warm blood, steaming in the icy air.
It was all over. Our Lady of Consolation was no more.
VIVA CRISTO REY!