Friday, January 26, 2007


"Hope is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it.

"Hope is absolutely necessary for salvation; adults must have the virtue and make the act of hope; infants must have the virtue. For the infused virtue of hope, like the infused virtue of faith, is given to the infant when he receives sanctifying grace." (1)


26 martyrs of Japan were crucified on a hill, now known as the Holy Mountain, overlooking Nagasaki. Among them were priests, brothers and laymen, Franciscans, Jesuits and members of the Secular Franciscan Order; there were catechists, doctors, simple artisans and servants, old men and innocent children—all united in a common faith and love for Jesus and his Church.

St. Paul Miki of Japan suffered a cruel martyrdom by crucifixion on the vigil of February 6, 1597. His encouragement to his companions and those gathered to watch the execution of the 26 Catholics evoked an amazing hope for their eternal happiness. Three centuries later when missionaries were allowed to return to Japan after the persecution, they were amazed to discover an underground church of thousands of Catholics secretly practicing their faith. St. Paul Miki and his companions had sown the seed with their torment, derision, and death.

Brother Paul was a Jesuit born in 1562 to a wealthy family, the son of the military leader Miki Handayu. He felt a call toreligiouss life from his youth. In 1580 he was educated at the Jesuit college at Azuchi and Takatsuki. He became a successful evangelist. When the political climate became hostile to Christianity, he decided to continue his ministry and was soon arrested. On his way to martyrdom, he and the other imprisoned Christians were marched 600 miles so they could be abused by, and be a lesson to, their countrymen; they sang the Te Deum on the way. His last sermon was delivered from the cross. He was beatified on September 14, 1627 and canonized by Pope Pius IX on June 8, 1862. (2)


"The sentence of judgment says these men came to Japan from the Philippines, but I did not come from any other country. I am a true Japanese. The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I certainly did teach the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason I die. I believe that I am telling only 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 to 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." (3)


God our Father, source of strength for all your saints, you led Paul Miki and his companions through the suffering of the cross to the joy of eternal life. May their prayers give us courage to be loyal until dein professionsiong our faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (4)


Psalm 42:11
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 71:5
For you, O Lord, are my hope,my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Colossians 1:3-5,27
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Titus 2:11-13
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

(1) Understanding the Catholic Faith, Rev. John A. O'Brien, 1955
(2) of the day
(4) Magnificat, February 2007-February 6