Paul Miki was born into a wealthy Japanese family. He was educated by the Jesuits in Azuchi and Takatsuki. He joined the Society of Jesus and became a well known and successful preacher – gaining numerous converts to Catholicism.
The ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, began persecuting Catholics for fear of the European influence and colonial intentions.
Miki was arrested and jailed with his fellow Catholics,
who were later forced to march 966 kilometres (600 miles) from Kyoto to Nagasaki; all the while singing the Te Deum.
On arriving in Nagasaki – which today has the largest Catholic population in Japan – Miki had his chest pierced with a lance while tied to a cross on 5 February 1597.
He preached his last sermon from the cross, and it is maintained that he forgave his executioners. Crucified alongside him were Joan Soan de Gotó and Santiago Kisai, also of the Society of Jesus; along with twenty-three other clergy and laity, all of whom were canonised by Pope Pius IX in 1862.
1562: Born in Settsu County, Japan
1597: died in Nagasaki along with others.
1862: Canonised by Pope Pius IX.
Like my Master, I shall die upon the cross.St Paul Miki
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.”
1 Peter 1: New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’
17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 24
‘All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord endures for ever.’
Thought for the Day
It is difficult to stand up for what you believe in to the point of death.
Even if I am not prepared to die for what I believe in, what I am prepared to live for?