We all celebrate the Passion of Jesus but few of us ever experience it.
The missionaries were arrested, mutilated, and crucified at Nagasaki eventually stabbed with a lance. The martyred included five European Franciscan missionaries, one Mexican Franciscan missionary, three Japanese Jesuits, and seventeen Japanese laymen, including three young boys.
As with Christ, their humiliation is our glory. As with Christ, they are exalted.
When the crosses were set up it was a wonderful thing to see the constancy of all of them. Our brother Paul Miki, seeing himself raised to the most honorable 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 favor.
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.”
Until the end, they then recited the Canticle of Zechariah: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people to set them free..."
-- From an eyewitness account
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