Thursday, September 20, 2018
103 KOREAN MARTYRS
1 Corinthians, Chapter 1, Verse 3
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the beginning of Paul’s letter to Corinthian’s and this is the start of the greeting from Paul in which he tells us that by the sacrifice of Christ we now are the recipients of God’s grace and peace. We are all called to be saints and as such we are christened to have the character of Christ. There should be no divisions, immorality and pride with us which leads us to mortal sin and separation from God. Part of the churches mission besides evangelizing is to correct errors in faith and behavior. The goal of the church leaders is that none should die in the state of mortal sin. This is Christ’s wish for us.
During the 17th century the Christian faith was brought to Korea through the zeal of lay persons. From the very beginning these Christians suffered terrible persecutions and many suffered martyrdom during the 19th century. Today's feast honors a group of 103 martyrs. Notable of these were Andrew Kim Taegon, the first Korean priest, and the lay apostle, Paul Chong Hasang. Also, among the Korean martyrs were three bishops and seven priests, but for the most part they were heroic laity, men and women, married and single of all ages. They were canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 6, 1984.
St. Andrew Kim Taegon and St. Paul Chong Hasang and their companions
This first native Korean priest was the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and was beatified in 1925. After baptism at the age of fifteen, Andrew traveled thirteen hundred miles to the seminary in Macao, China. After six years he managed to return to his country through Manchuria. That same year he crossed the Yellow Sea to Shanghai and was ordained a priest. Back home again, he was assigned to arrange for more missionaries to enter by a water route that would elude the border patrol. He was arrested, tortured and finally beheaded at the Han River near Seoul, the capital. Paul Chong Hasang was a lay apostle and a married man, aged forty-five. Christianity came to Korea during the Japanese invasion in 1592 when some Koreans were baptized, probably by Christian Japanese soldiers. Evangelization was difficult because Korea refused all contact with the outside world except for an annual journey to Beijing to pay taxes. On one of these occasions, around 1777, Christian literature obtained from Jesuits in China led educated Korean Christians to study. A home church began. When a Chinese priest managed to enter secretly a dozen years later, he found four thousand Catholics, none of whom had ever seen a priest. Seven years later there were ten thousand Catholics. Religious freedom came in 1883.
When Pope John Paul II visited Korea in 1984, he canonized Andrew, Paul, ninety-eight Koreans and three French missionaries who had been martyred between 1839 and 1867. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were laypersons: forty-seven women, forty-five men. Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of twenty-six. She was put in prison, pierced with hot awls and seared with burning coals. She and her sister Agnes were disrobed and kept for two days in a cell with condemned criminals but were not molested. After Columba complained about the indignity, no more women were subjected to it. The two were beheaded. A boy of thirteen, Peter Ryou, had his flesh so badly torn that he could pull off pieces and throw them at the judges. He was killed by strangulation. Protase Chong, a forty-one-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.
Today there are approximately four million Catholics in Korea.
35 Promises of God cont.
10. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”-Luke 11:9-13
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
55. You seek the company of friends who, with their conversation and affection, with their friendship, make the exile of this world more bearable for you. There is nothing wrong with that, although friends sometimes let you down. But how is it you don't frequent daily with greater intensity the company, the conversation, of the great Friend, who never lets you down?
· Total Consecration Day 9
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