Feast of St. Paul Miki of Nagasaki
In 1597, a Japanese missionary Franciscan brother was martyred for his faith along with 25 other Catholic believers on a hill overlooking Nagasaki. As he hung on the cross, Paul Miki found the grace to forgive his murderers as His Lord did 1500 years before him.
"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.”
Many thought that this was the end of Christianity in Japan, but 300 years later when the way for missionaries was opened again in the East, they found a Catholic faith, still alive, without an ordained priesthood! Apparently God answered this martyr's prayers and his blood did fall as a "fruitful rain."
St Paul Miki, please ask Jesus to grant me the boldness and faith to share the gospel as you did so fearlessly. Pray for me that at the hour of my death, I too would have the same mind.