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March 31, 2024

Paul Miki: God's Samurai

Published: 
March 31, 2024
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Son of a Samurai

Paul Miki was born into a powerful family in Sengoku period Japan. His father served Oda Nobunaga, the most powerful Daimyo in Japan. Paul’s upbringing prepared him to be a samurai and diplomat. However, his studies under Portuguese Jesuits inspired another desire in him: to be a Saint.

When Paul was just beginning his studies as a seminarian, Nobunaga was assassinated by an envious daimyo. For several years, Paul’s education toward the priesthood continued, but his world would be torn apart when the new ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, issued an edict banning Christianity. Paul’s dream of serving in Japan as a priest seemed finished. He now had a choice: abandon his people - or abandon his faith.

For God and Japan

When forced to make this difficult decision, Paul was ready. He realized that the choice was false from the start. He chose both: he stayed and ministered to the people of Japan as a missionary. Paul and the Jesuits were able to continue preaching in secret until things took a turn for the worse. When a Spanish sailor falsely proclaimed that the Spanish and Portuguese priests were the first step of an invasion force, Paul and his mentors were forced to pay the unjust consequences. Their selfless sacrifice now proclaims them forever as true examples of faith and courage.

A 17th-century German engraving of the martyrdom of Paul Miki and companions.

The Face of Love

Along the 600 mile barefoot march to Nagasaki, Paul Miki and his 25 companions faced constant inhumane treatment and suffering. But they did not cry out - rather, they sang. Their song was the Te Deum, an ancient hymn giving praise to God and his works. Arriving in Nagasaki, the Jesuits and Franciscans found 26 crosses waiting for them. When raised to the cross, Paul did not condemn his accusers. Rather, he forgave Hideyoshi and all his accusers before earnestly preaching to the crowd, begging them to turn to Christ.

This week on The Saints: Adventures of Faith and Courage: hear the timeless story of Paul Miki as he journeys from a young nobleman to a heroic martyr. Along the way, you’ll experience some of the most important moments of Japanese history and meet some of the other early martyrs of Japan. Listen first thing Monday morning at thesaintspodcast.com!

You can listen to Paul Miki on April 1st at thesaintspodcast.com.

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