Sunday, February 6, 2011

St. Paul Miki, S.J. His Feast Day Is Feb. 6th

The Crucifixion of St. Paul Miki, S.J.
Taiko-Sama, like other heathen autocrats, did not trouble himself to examine the question carefully and justly, and enquire how far the accusation he had heard was true ; he did what might naturally have been expected from such a person in such a position; and looking at the matter, so to speak, from his heathen point of view, we cannot in the least wonder at his cruelty in putting the Franciscans and other teachers to death; for from the information he had received, he looked on them as intriguing foreigners, involved in a plot to deliver over his country to the king of Spain, and as for the native Christians, he probably thought they would only be too willing accomplices ; but, as we have before observed, he was no mere headlong persecutor, he did not like shedding blood indiscriminately ; he was what would now be considered a consistent liberal; and the principles on which he acted do not differ in this respect from those of many Catholic liberal statesmen, who have the light of a faith which he had not, and have had the grace of the sacraments to help them, which he had not, and who yet rebel against the Church and persecute the Holy

See, the religious orders, and the bishops, whom they ought to respect and defend. Taiko-Sama did not cany out his original intention of putting to death all the Christians; but he had meanwhile given an opportunity to them to Biiow of what mettle they were made, and most nobly did they behave. As soon as it was known that the Kumbo-Sama wished to have a census of his Christian subjects, all of them, men, women, and children, came forward fearlessly and put down their names as Christians, ready to be martyred if it were the will of God. Taiko-Sama, however, moved by the representation made to him by Gibunosci, the governor of Meaco, (who asked if he really wished to put to death all the Portuguese priests who had recently come to
Japan in vessels which were evidently mere trading vessels), so far relented as to spare all but the Franciscans and the tertiaries of the order, who were in the convent at the time of the seizure. On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, all these were imprisoned by guards being placed round the house. At Ozaca, however, on the same day, the Jesuits, as well as the Franciscans, were imprisoned by Farimundono, the governor; but there were only St. Paul Mili .and the other two lay-catechists in the Jesuit house; Father Organtin, the superior, who had recently been there, having previously left for Meaco, and thus uncousciously escaped. At the end of December, the Kumbo-Sama finally ordered that all these prisoners should have their noses and ears cut off and be taken through Meaco, Ozaca, Sakai, and lastly to Nagasaqui, where they should be crucified. The governor of Meaco, to whom was entrusted the carrying out of the sentence, mitigated it a little by only cutting off a part of the left ear of each ; but they were conducted in cars through the streets with their crime and sentence placarded, (according to the emperor's orders), which in Japan was a disgrace worse than death.
St. Peter Baptist, the Franciscan, and St. Paul Miki, the Jesuit, continued as they went along to preach, so far as they could, to the assembled multitudes. The prisoners were twenty-four in number, but there were two others, whose names we have already mentioned, put to death with them for following them and ministering to them. 
They began their painful journey through the towns of Japan in the early part of January, and it took them twentysix days ; it was on February 5th that they at length suffered the death they so much wished for. The Jesuit fathers, John Rodriguez, and Francis Pasia, came to hear their confessions, and also received the vows of the two catechists, St. John Soan of Goto and St. James Risai, who had not previously taken the habit.
The mode of crucifixion was not the same as that by which our blessed Lord suffered. The martyr was not nailed to the cross. His hands were stretched out and fastened to the transverse beam by rings or cords, and his feet rested on another transverse piece of wood. He was then transfixed by two strokes of a lance, one on each side, and was thus speedily put to death. 
And in this way did these holy and heroic men die on that day. Nothing could exceed the fervour of the native martyrs; St. Paul Miki preached to the people assembled, the two boy-martyrs, Anthony and Louis, died with exultation. St. Peter Baptist, the Spanish' Franciscan Father, preached too from his cross, and he was the last that expired. It is said that all the Christians, and even the heathens present, hurried to collect the blood of the martyrs, and some tore away their garments as relics. Two Franciscans were among the crowd in disguise, Father Marcel of Ribadeneira, and John the Poor. The bishop was dissuaded by the Jesuits from being present, but seems afterwards to have regretted his absence, as if it were a neglect of duty.
Link (here) to read the whole portion of the book entitled 

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