I am awed and humbled by martyrs. I whiffle between praying "O God, don't ever let that happen to me;" to "You'd better give me a lot of grace to do THAT;" to "I trust in You;" to "Whatever is Your will, My Love."
Good Lord! What a weak, miserable creature I am!
I'm nothing like Blessed Paul Nishihori and his wife Magdalene Shikibu. They were Christians in Japan in the seventeenth century: Paul and Magdalene. Paul was a Samurai warrior. During Advent of 1628, The Japanese government commanded that all Catholics be put to death. Samurai officers were noble, courageous, and honorable men. Paul could not deny Christ. Being an honorable man, Paul went to the governor and turned in his sword and other accouterments of his position. Magdalene's family was able to obtain a pardon for her, but not Paul. Everyone was impressed by the manner in which Paul had handled his fate. The governor, to whom, he turned in his Samurai sword, was so deeply moved by Paul's noble gesture, that the night of Paul's execution he sent him wine and saki, and a declaration that he wish he had the power to cassate the decree.
On the morning of January 12, 1629, Paul put on his finest clothes and went to the place of his execution in a small procession led by a youth carrying a picture of Mary. Magdalene wanted to suffer martyrdom along with her husband, but was held back. Just prior to his execution, Paul venerated the bodies of the martyrs who had died immediately before him.
Lux perpetua luceat ei, Domine. Requiescat in pace.
Thy Will be done.
h/t Magnificat, Jan 2012, Vo. 13, No. 11, p. 179.