Last weekend I was very blessed to have been able to visit on pilgrimage one of the most (perhaps the most) significant sites of Spain’s recent history, the Cerro de los Angeles (Hill of the Angels) where a large towering statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an almost exact replica of the one pictured above that was destroyed by the Reds during the Spanish Civil War, stretches His arms wide to embrace the world to His Most Sacred, Loving Heart. A great Love beyond our wildest imaginings; a Love so often rejected and despised by ungrateful men, yet patient and forgiving towards those who repent and turn from their wicked ways.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of this impressive Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Cerro de los Ángeles de Getafe (Madrid), a ceremony presided over by the then King of Spain Alfonso XIII, and the king’s passionate words in the Consecration of Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The consecration of Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The choice of that place for the monument – the work of the architect Carlos Maura Nadal and the sculptor Aniceto Marinas y García- was not accidental, since the Cerro de los Ángeles (Hill of the Angels) has historically been considered the geographical centre of Spain.
The numerous public dedicated an ovation to the Kings on their arrival at the Hill, giving cries in favour to Their Majesties, to Spain and to the Sacred Heart. In a moment of the celebration, the King “descended from the rostrum, followed by the entire Royal Family, and then climbed only to the pedestal where the altar was placed,” the Abc recounted. There he pronounced the following words:
“Sacred Heart of Jesus, Heart of God Man, Redeemer of the world, King of Kings and Lord of those who reign:
Spain, people of your inheritance and your predilections, prostrates today reverent before this throne of your kindness that stands for you in the centre of the Peninsula. All the races that inhabit it, all the regions that integrate it, have constituted in the succession of the centuries and through common azares and mutual loyalties this great Spanish Homeland, strong and constant in the love of the Catholic Religion and in its adherence to the Monarchy.
Feeling the Catholic tradition of the Spanish royalty and continuing joyfully the history of their faith and devotion to your Divine Person, we confess that you came to earth to establish the kingdom of God in the peace of the souls redeemed by your blood and in the happiness of the peoples who are governed by your holy Law: we recognize that you have as a coat of arms of your divinity to grant participation of your Power to the princes of the earth and that from You receive efficacy and sanction all the just laws in whose fulfillment the empire lies of order and peace. You are the sure path that leads to the possession of eternal life: inexhaustible light that enlightens the understandings so that they know the truth and propelling principle of all life and of all legitimate social progress, establishing themselves in You and in the might and softness of your grace all the virtues and heroisms that elevate and beautify the soul.
Come, then, to us your Most Holy Kingdom, which is a kingdom of justice and love. Reign in the hearts of men, in the bosom of homes, in the intelligence of the wise, in the classrooms of science and letters and in our laws and institutions of our country.
Thank you, Lord, for having mercifully delivered us from the common misfortune of war, which so many people have bled to death: continue with us the work of your loving providence.
From these heights that for you we have chosen as a symbol of the desire that encourages us to preside over all our enterprises, bless the poor, the workers, the proletarians all so that in the peaceful harmony of all social classes they will find justice and charity that makes his life smoother, his work more bearable. Bless the Army and the Navy, armed arms of the Nation, so that in the loyalty of their discipline and in the value of their arms they are always the nation’s safeguard and the defense of the right. Bless all those gathered here in the cordiality of the same holy loves of Religion and of the Fatherland, we wish to consecrate our lives to you as a reward for her to die in the security of your love and in the precious bosom of your adorable Heart. So be it.”
With those words, King Alfonso XIII consecrated Spain to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A few years later, the Nation would undergo one of its cruellest moments in history.
The martyrs of Cerro de los Ángeles and the destruction of the monument
On Saturday, July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. That same day, 30 members of the Workers’ Companies of San José and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus went to Cerro de los Ángeles for a vigil of nocturnal adoration. At the end of the Mass, at dawn, most of the congregants returned to Madrid, except for five:
- Pedro-Justo Dorado Dellmans, 31 years old.
- Fidel Barrios Muñoz, 21 years old.
- Elías Requejo Sorondo, 19 years old.
- Blas Ciarreta Ibarrondo, 40 years old.
- Vicente de Pablo García, 19 years old.
The five stayed in the Cerro to protect the monument. The inhabitants of a nearby farm reported them when they saw them praying the Rosary and blessing the table before eating. On July 23, they were killed by Red militiamen. At the time of their murder, the five looked at the monument, and their last breath was to shout a “Viva Cristo Rey” (Long live Christ the King!), before their bodies collapsed on the floor of Cerro, where they were abandoned for a whole day. Today the remains of those five martyrs rest inside the church located under the new monument.
A vicious civil war was being unleashed in Spain which left a sad trail of blood of thousands of martyrs for the Faith, and the destruction of this monument together with the desecration and total destruction of numerous beautiful Catholic churches and shrines all over the country where the Reds had their stronghold, relics and religious works of art.
Here at the site of the Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the communist/anarchist militia attempted to shoot and deface the large statue, only to find their bullets simply ricocheted off the hard stone. They eventually decided to use a large quantity ofdynamite which broke the tall monument up into pieces. Yet the Sacred Heart stone alone fell but remained undamaged! Many saw this inexplicable event as miraculous. This large stone can be seen at the entrance to the site today, although an identical replica of the figure and heart of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was made and now once again stands, arms outstretched, atop a new tall pillar at the Hill of Angels. Thousands of pilgrims and visitors from Spain and abroad are flocking to the Hill of Angels in this centenary year of Spain’s Consecration to the Sacred Heart to show their love for the immense Love poured out to men by our Lord and Saviour.
Here is a video from 2009 on the 90th anniversary with old footage of the original Consecration: