Friday, February 6, 2015

St. Paul Miki and the Nagasaki Martyrs - February 6

Following the evangelization of Japan by the great Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier, Paul Miki joined the Society of Jesus. Shortly thereafter, in a wave of Japanese persecution, Paul Miki and his companions were martyred.

Today's Office of Readings (courtesy Universalis) gives the moving account of St. Paul Miki's death. Here's an excerpt:

The crosses were set in place. Father Pasio and Father Rodriguez took turns encouraging the victims. Their steadfast behaviour was wonderful to see. The Father Bursar stood motionless, his eyes turned heavenward. Brother Martin gave thanks to God’s goodness by singing psalms. Again and again he repeated: “Into your hands, Lord, I entrust my life.” Brother Francis Branco also thanked God in a loud voice. Brother Gonsalvo in a very loud voice kept saying the Our Father and Hail Mary.
  Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his “congregation” he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his “sermon” with these words: “As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.” (emphasis added)

St. Paul Miki and companions, pray for us! May we have their courage always to preach the Gospel, and do so with humility and charity.