On the morning of February 5, 1597, twenty-six crosses lined the brow of Nishizaka, the western slope of the mountain overlooking Nagasaki Bay. Below, the mountainside was blanketed with Christians awaiting the spearmen’s coups de grâce. Perhaps, amid the muffled sounds of weeping, they heard the mournful creaking of the ships in the harbor—that gateway to the West that had spawned this most Catholic of Asian cities. But above all else, they heard a preacher’s voice ringing out atop the slope.
“All of you here, please hear what I have to say,” he sang out.
Read the rest of this story at Crisis Magazine, here
Four hundred twenty-seven years have passed since Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Taikō of Japan, crucified the 26 Martyrs atop Nishi-zaka, the steep western slope of the mountain overlooking Nagasaki Bay. Although all of them experienced great suffering during their 27-day via crucis from Kyoto to Nagasaki, each one of them held in his heart the bright promise God gave them through Saint Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians:
But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)
Armed with Christian courage and patience throughout their ordeal, they won eternity—a prize they can now help us win with their intercessory prayers.
Here are links to some of my stories about them, with more stories of individual martyrs to come.