The feast of Stephen: Middle East’s persecuted Christians need our help | Fox News

The feast of Stephen: Middle East’s persecuted Christians need our help | Fox News.

Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’

Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’

By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter

December 2, 2014|2:12 pm

Rev. Canon Andrew White Speaks About The Persecution of Iraqi Christians.,

“Four Iraqi Christian children, who were all beheaded by the Islamic State, refused to betray Jesus and graciously died in his name when the ISIS militants gave them one last chance to say the Islamic words of conversion, the Rev. Canon Andrew White revealed in a recent interview.

In an interview last week with the Christian Broadcast Network published on the Orthodox Christian Network, White, who is the only Anglican vicar in Iraq and is know as “The Vicar of Baghdad,” detailed the plight of Christians in Iraq and recounted two instances when Islamic State’s forceful conversions directly pulled the strings of his heart.

Speaking on ISIS’ brutal mistreatment of religious minorities, White recounted the recent incident when ISIS militants beheaded four kids, all of whom were under the age of 15, when the kids refused to say that they would follow the Prophet Muhammad and told the ISIS fighters that they will always “love” and “follow” Jesus.”

via Vicar of Baghdad: Four Iraqi Christian Kids Beheaded After Refusing to Convert to Islam, Telling ISIS Militants ‘No, We Love Jesus’.

From the homily at the canonization of the martyrs of Uganda by Pope Paul VI

From the homily at the canonization of the martyrs of Uganda by Pope Paul VI
The glory of the martyrs—a sign of rebirth

The African martyrs add another page to the martyrology — the Church’s roll of honor — an occasion both of mourning and of joy. This is a page worthy in every way to be added to the annals of that Africa of earlier which we, living in this era and being men of little faith, never expected to be repeated.

In earlier times there occurred those famous deeds, so moving to the spirit, of the martyrs of Scilli, of Carthage, and of that “white robed army” of Utica commemorated by Saint Augustine and Prudentius; of the martyrs of Egypt so highly praised by Saint John Chrysostom, and of the martyrs of the Vandal persecution. Who would have thought that in our days we should have witnessed events as heroic and glorious?

Who could have predicted to the famous African confessors and martyrs such as Cyprian, Felicity, Perpetua and—the greatest of all—Augustine, that we would one day add names so dear to us as Charles Lwanga and Matthias Mulumba Kalemba and their twenty companions? Nor must we forget those members of the Anglican Church who also died for the name of Christ.

These African martyrs herald the dawn of a new age. If only the mind of man might be directed not toward persecutions and religious conflicts but toward a rebirth of Christianity and civilization!
Africa has been washed by the blood of these latest martyrs, the first of this new age (and, God willing, let them be the last, although such a holocaust is precious indeed). Africa is reborn free and independent.

The infamous crime by which these young men were put to death was so unspeakable and so expressive of the times. It shows us clearly that a new people needs a moral foundation, needs new spiritual customs firmly planted, to be handed down to posterity. Symbolically, this crime also reveals that a simple and rough way of life—enriched by many fine human qualities yet enslaved by its own weakness and corruption—must give way to a more civilized life wherein the higher expressions of the mind and better social conditions prevail.

St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs – Memorial

St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs

Memorial

St. Paul Miki was born in 1580 in Japan. After the early missionary efforts of Bishop John of Albuquerque and St. Francis Xavier in 1548-1549, Christianity was on the rise in Japan. In 1587, when approximately 200,000 Christians were identified, Japan issued an edict of persecution towards Christians.

St. Paul and his Companions were a group of Franciscans, Jesuits, and Japanese Christians identified through the edict. The 26 individuals were arrested, mutilated, and martyred at the hill of Nagasaki. They are remembered for their courage, dedication, and joy despite the religious persecution they endured.
From an account of the martyrdom of Saint Paul Miki and his companions, by a contemporary writer.
You shall be my witnesses

The crosses were set in place. Father Pasio and Father Rodriguez took turns encouraging the victims. Their steadfast behavior was wonderful to see. The Father Bursar stood motionless, his eyes turned heavenward. Brother Martin gave thanks to God’s goodness by singing psalms. Again and again he repeated: “Into your hands, Lord, I entrust my life.” Brother Francis Branco also thanked God in a loud voice. Brother Gonsalvo in a very loud voice kept saying the Our Father and Hail Mary.

Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his “congregation” he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his “sermon” with these words: “As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.”

Then he looked at his comrades and began to encourage them in their final struggle. Joy glowed in all their faces, and in Louis’ most of all. When a Christian in the crowd cried out to him that he would soon be in heaven, his hands, his whole body strained upward with such joy that every eye was fixed on him.

Anthony, hanging at Louis’ side, looked toward heaven and called upon the holy names — “Jesus, Mary!” He began to sing a psalm: “Praise the Lord, you children!” (He learned it in catechism class in Nagasaki. They take care there to teach the children some psalms to help them learn their catechism.)

Others kept repeating “Jesus, Mary!” Their faces were serene. Some of them even took to urging the people standing by to live worthy Christian lives. In these and other ways they showed their readiness to die.

Then, according to Japanese custom, the four executioners began to unsheathe their spears. At this dreadful sight, all the Christians cried out, “Jesus, Mary!” And the storm of anguished weeping then rose to batter the very skies. The executioners killed them one by one. One thrust of the spear, then a second blow. It was over in a very short time.

Days of Darkness – Days of Light

Happy Anniversary!

You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago!

Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

Yup, Word Press congratulated me!  Four years today!  To celebrate, I’m re-blogging my first post with a bit of tweeking to fit the season.

Days of Darkness – Days of Light

We just celebrated the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  It was he, who said in a letter addressed to the Roman church (Rom.5:20), “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more”   Well, here’s the vision, as it was told to me. I want you to picture it so that you feel it with your heart:

You and I squeak in,  passing  through those towering Pearly Gates.  People of all ages overwhelm even our enhanced understanding of the generations descended from Adam and Eve.  We can’t wait to embrace them.  We know them intimately. Instantly, we know their stories.  These are those who lived Salvation history.

“What was it like?”,  we ask over and again?   These, after all, are those who walked dry shod through the walls of water escaping Pharaoh’s chariots.  Here, too,  are the masses who had pressed upon the Christ.  They’d witnessed the manner and miracles of Jesus.  Some has eaten the bread and fish He’d multiplied.  Others admitted that they had shouted, “Crucify Him.”  Others had stood along the way as He pushed on to Calvary. The martyrs from all past centuries were among the most joyful.  They now rejoiced that their blood shed for Christ seeded the proceeding eons to bear fruit in such as we.

For all our eagerness to express our gratitude to them and give glory to God, they pressed the more upon us, for their need is to know our stories.  “Tell us,”  they asked, “how black did the times become when men who pretend to knowledge denied life in the womb.  How dark were the days in which the hearts of mothers died, choosing  to bring forth corpses instead of  living children.  You, who lived with blindness and deafness,  how did you survive?  Like Peter, was it repentance that  re-ignited your flame?   How did you find courage walking  the Valley of the Shadow of Death?  How bright was the Light that brought you home?”

That Light is shining now, on everyone. Who will guide the blind and who will lead the thirsty to the Living Water, if not you and me.

Great Atrocities Demand Remembrance and Hope

From Catholic Sistas:

The response to great atrocities, whether the Holocaust during World War II, the Rwandan massacres, or our own American Abortion Holocaust must be to remember. As Wiesel said, “We must remember the suffering…[and] struggle to invent a thousand and one reasons to hope.” The stories, especially those of hope,  not only respect the victims of the past, they give courage to new generations fighting to overcome the darkness of the present.

Stolen name replaced by number,
Savaged soul and broken heart.
Hell, a people to encumber.
Blind eyes outside in darkness.
Dead souls dismissed the human face.
Stolen name replaced by number

Rising from the ashes,
Pledging nevermore.
Hell, a people to encumber

Yad VaShem, the vault of memory,
Yad VaShem, the ground of tears
Stolen name replaced by number

Shoah: families, children.
Here named, remembered, mourned
Hell, a people to encumber

Faces pictured in the silence.
Tears cried forevermore.
Stolen name replaced by number
Hell, a people to encumber

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander

(experimental Villanelle)

 

Yad vashem

 

Rose before dawn,
Nestled life in bud.
Sun of mother-love withdrawn.
Rose before dawn
Life, so sweet, soon gone.
Red flower, the color of blood.
Rose before dawn
Nestled life in bud.

Copyright 2011 Joann Nelander