Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inspiration from Asia: St. Andrew Kim Taegon

He was the first Korean-born priest, a martyr, and the saint who had his feast day this past Saturday along with over 100 other Korean martyrs. It is amazing the martyrs whose blood sowed the Gospel in these countries. In the case of Korea, the Faith really didn't get started until almost 1800 and that was from folks reading about it on their own. They wouldn't even have priests until almost a decade after that.

AmericanCatholic gives a heart-wrenching account of the torments these holy people underwent for the sake of Christ and His Church. Consider:

Among the martyrs in 1839 was Columba Kim, an unmarried woman of 26. She was put in prison, pierced with hot tools 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 13, 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 41-year-old noble, apostatized under torture and was freed. Later he came back, confessed his faith and was tortured to death.

As for St. Andrew Kim himself, he was tortured and then beheaded. He was only 25 years old. His last words were:

"This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively : if I have held communication with foreigners, it has been for my religion and for my God. It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is on the point of beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him."

Tertullian was right.

Nor does your cruelty, however exquisite, avail you; it is rather a temptation to us. The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.

Anyways, the story of these martyrs is quite wonderful and moving. I hope to learn more about them.

By the way, I've been told the new green shows up much better for folks. Let me know if the new red works just as well.

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