Today is the memorial of St Paul Miki SJ (1564-1597), a Jesuit novice from a noble Japanese family who was martyred along with 25 companions at Nagasaki in 1597.
This is from an eyewitness account of the execution:
“Our brother Paul Miki, seeing himself raised to the most honourable position that he had ever occupied, openly proclaimed that he was a Japanese and a member of the Society of Jesus. And that he was being put to death for having preached the Gospel. He gave thanks to God for such a precious favour.
He then added these words: “Having arrived at this moment of my existence, I believe that no one of you thinks I want to hide the truth. That is why I declare to you that there is no other way of salvation than the one followed by Christians. Since this way teaches me to forgive my enemies and all who have offended me, I willingly forgive the king and all those who have desired my death. And I pray that they will obtain the desire of Christian baptism.
At this point, he turned his eyes toward his companions and began to encourage them in their final struggle. The faces of them all shone with great gladness. Another Christian shouted to him that he would soon be in paradise. “Like my Master,” murmured Paul, “I shall die upon the cross. Like him, a lance will pierce my heart so that my blood and my love can flow out upon the land and sanctify it to his name.
As they awaited death the entire group sang the canticle of Zachary (see Luke 1:67-79). The executioners stood by respectfully until they had intoned the last verse. Then at a given signal they thrust their spears into the victims’ sides. On that day, February 5, 1597, the church of Japan welcomed its first martyrs.”
You have heard that it was said: “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’……Matthew 5:43-44
Consider the people who dislike you, who oppose your ideas and aims. How can you show love to them?
Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes – DAY FIVE– 5 February (we Pray the Novena for our own intentions and for the sick, the infirm within our own communities but also for all those throughout the world who suffer, especially those who have no-one to pray for them in preparation for the Wold Day of the Sick on 11 February.)
O Mary Immaculate, Mother of God and our mother,
from the heights of your dignity look down mercifully upon us while we,
full of confidence in your unbounded goodness
and confident that your Divine Son
will look favourably upon any request you make of Him on our behalf,
we beseech you to come to our aid
and secure for us the favour we seek in this novena.
(make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes,
glorious in your assumption,
triumphant in your coronation,
show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God,
Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother,
be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
Thought for the Day – 6 February
Twenty-six Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries and Japanese converts crucified together by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Following their arrests, they were taken to the public square of Meako to the city’s principal temple. They each had a piece of their left ear cut off and then paraded from city to city for weeks with a man shouting their crimes and encouraging their abuse. The priests and brothers were accused of preaching the outlawed faith of Christianity, the lay people of supporting and aiding them. They were each repeatedly offered freedom if they would renounce Christianity. They each declined. Today, a new era has come for the Church in Japan. Although the number of Catholics is not large, the Church is respected and has total religious freedom. The spread of Christianity in the Far East is slow and difficult. Faith such as that of the 26 martyrs is needed today as much as in 1597.
MARTYRS OF NAGASAKI, PRAY FOR US!
Quote of the Day – 6 February
“Like my Master I shall die upon the cross. Like Him, a lance will pierce my heart so that my blood and my love can flow out upon the land and sanctify it to His name.”
~~~ St Paul Miki
“The measure of love,
is love without measure.”
~~~ St Bernard of Clairvaux
One Minute Reflection – 6 February
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly…….1 Peter 4:13
REFLECTION – “The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason that I die. I believe that I am telling the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again – Ask Christ to help you become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ’s example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”……St Paul Miki
PRAYER – Jesus, Man of Sorrows, in every suffering keep my eyes fixed on You. Let me keep ever before my mind the glory to come and so face the suffering with true Christian courage. St Paul Miki and your 26 Martyr Companions, Pray for us, amen!
Our Morning Offering – 6 February
A Prayer of St. Francis Xavier SJ
O God I Love You,
not simply to be saved,
and not because those who fail to love You
will be punished with eternal fire.
You, You, my JESUS, have all-embraced me on the cross.
You have borne the nails, the lance, much ignominy,
numberless griefs, sweatings and anguish and death,
and these on account of me and for me, a sinner.
Why therefore, should I not love You,
O, most loving JESUS?
Not that in heaven You shall save me,
nor lest for eternity You shall condemn me;
not with the hope of any reward,
but as You have loved me, so also will I love You,
only because You are my King,
and because You are my God. Amen
Saints of the Day – 6 February – St Paul Miki & Companions- MARTYRS
Paul Miki was born in Japan and educated by the Jesuits. He would have been the very first Japanese priest if he had escaped arrest, for he had already completed his studies for the priesthood. From his cross he forgave his persecutors and told the people to ask Christ to show them how to be truly happy.
When the first missionaries, like St. Francis Xavier, came to Japan in 1549 they were welcomed. Many Japanese became Christians. When the leader Hideyoshi took command, he feared that Christians would take over the government. In 1587 he banished them and destroyed many of their churches. Some missionary priests stayed and went into hiding, dressing like Japanese in order to minister to the Christians.
More than 3,000 Christians were martyred in Japan. On December 8, 1596, Hideyoshi arrested and condemned to death the friars of Miako. Among them were three Japanese Jesuits, six Franciscans (four of them Spanish) and seventeen Japanese laymen. Charged with attempting to harm the government, they were sentenced to crucifixion. Some of these men were very young: Louis was 10; Anthony, 13; Thomas, 16; and Gabriel, 19. The best known is Paul Miki, who was a Japanese of a noble family, a Jesuit brother and a brilliant preacher.
The twenty-six men were tortured and then forced to walk more than 300 miles from Miako to Nagasaki through snow and ice and freezing streams. Along the way they preached to the people who had come out to see them. They sang psalms of praise and joy. They prayed the rosary and told the people that such a martyrdom was an occasion of rejoicing, not of sadness. Finally, on February 5, they reached Nagasaki, where twenty-six crosses awaited them on a hill now called the Holy Mountain. It is said that the Christians ran to their crosses, singing. Soldiers bound them to the crosses with iron bands at their wrists, ankles and throats. Then they thrust them through with lances. Many people came to watch the cruel deaths. Hideyoshi and his solders had hoped the example would frighten other Christians. Instead, it gave them the courage to profess their faith as the martyrs had.
In 1858, Japan again permitted Christianity in Japan. Missionaries found thousands of Christians still in Japan. For two hundred years they had carried on the faith in secret
St Paul Miki SJ & Comapnions – Martyrs of Nagasaki – 26 saints (Memorial)- APOSTELSHIP OF PRAYER VIDEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8AuKTLjkDs
Bl Alfonso Maria Fusco
St Amand of Maastricht
St Amand of Moissac
St Amand of Nantes
St Andrew of Elnone
Bl Angelus of Furci
St Antholian of Auvergne
St Brinolfo Algotsson
Cassius of Auvergne
Bl Diego de Azevedo
St Dorothy of Caesarea
St Ethelburga of Wessex
Bl Francesca of Gubbio
St Francesco Spinelli
St Gerald of Ostia
St Ina of Wessex
St Liminius of Auvergne
Bl Mary Teresa Bonzel
St Mateo Correa-Magallanes
St Maximus of Aurvergne
St Mel of Ardagh
St Melchu of Armagh
St Mun of Lough Ree
St Relindis of Eyck
St Tanco of Werden
St Theophilus the Lawyer
St Vaast of Arras
St Victorinus of Auvergne
Martyrs of Emesa
Luke the Deacon
Mucius the Lector
Silvanus of Emesa