Our Lord of the Poison
There once lived a man named Don Fermin Azueta who was much admired and respected throughout Mexico City for his piety, kindly nature and gentle spirit. He was a wealthy man who used his money for helping the poor of the city and his philanthropy became legendary. Every morning without fail he would walk through the streets to a large statue of Christ on the Cross and place a gold coin in the offering plate there before kissing the statue’s feet.
There also lived another man at this time, Don Ismael Trevino. Don Ismael was also a man of great wealth but lacked the goodness of heart and piety that Don Fermin displayed. Don Ismael grew to hate Don Fermin, jealous of his popularity and the esteem in which he was held.
His hatred grew as he saw Don Fermin never waiver from his faith and goodness and he hatched a plot to get rid of him forever. Don Ismael would use a poison which would take effect several days after being ingested and would be undetectable, leaving no suspicion at his door. He laced a cake with the deadly liquid and sent it to Don Fermin, who immediately ate a piece. Don Ismael grinned to himself, knowing his rival would be dead within a few days.
The next morning Don Fermin awoke as usual and made his way to the statue. As always, he placed a gold coin in the offering plate then kissed the feet of the statue. As he did so, a black stain appeared on the statue’s feet, spreading slowly until the entire statue was jet back. Don Fermin stood amazed and confused, as did all others present, except for Don Ismael. It was obvious to him that the statue had absorbed the poison in order to save the pious man. Shaking with fear, he ran over and prostrated himself at Don Fermin’s feet, confessing his plan to assassinate him and begging forgiveness.
Some of those present wanted to arrest Don Ismael and have him executed for the attempted murder, but Don Fermin told them that he had already forgiven Don Ismael for the crime, and that instead of passing judgement they should rather join him in thanking God for saving his life. Moved by such forgiveness, the people all prayed.
The statue now stands in Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, where it is visited by crowds of pilgrims to this day.
By Adriana Aguirre-Santos