February 6, St. Paul Miki and Companions
The Lord’s kindness is everlasting to those who fear him. — Psalm 103 (see 17)
Mass Readings: Hebrews 12:4-7,11-15/Mark 6:1-6
Today’s saint, Paul Miki, was one of 26 Christians crucified in 1597 at Nagasaki, Japan. St. Francis Xavier had brought Catholicism to Japan less than 50 years earlier. By 1587, with an estimated 200,000 Catholics in Japan, the ruler, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, expelled all missionaries. Some left, others stayed.
Then, in 1596, a Spanish sea captain claimed the missionaries were there to help Europeans conquer Japan. Hideyoshi ordered the arrest and execution of six foreign Franciscans, three native Jesuits and 17 lay Catholics — catechists, translators, altar boys and a physician. Miki, the son of a military leader and a highly respected preacher, was studying to become a Jesuit. In his final words, Miki asked God to have pity on his persecutors and prayed that “my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.”
Prayer: St. Paul Miki, inspire me to follow your model of forgiveness.
Courtesy of Our Sunday Visitor: http://www.osv.com/MyDailyVisitor/tabid/7626/Default.aspx