Tuesday, 20 February 2018

 

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Những tài liệu này thuộc quyền sở hữu của Trường Thánh Tôma Thiện. Khi sử dụng, quý vị đồng ý chỉ sử dụng trong việc giáo dục, không sử dụng cho việc kinh doanh dưới bất cứ hình thức nào. Quý vị cũng đồng ý sẽ không sao chép, thay đổi nội dung hoặc phân phối nếu chưa có sự chấp thuận của trường.

Nếu quý vị thấy tài liệu này hữu ích trong công việc giáo dục các em, xin giúp chúng tôi trang trải chi phí cho việc biên soạn để chúng tôi có thể tiếp tục cung cấp các tài liệu miễn phí trong tương lai. Xin chân thành cảm ơn quý vị.

FEBRUARY 6 - ST. PAUL MIKI AND COMPANIONS

Paul Miki was born to a wealthy family at Tsunokuni in Japan. His father Miki Handayu was a military leader.

St. Francis Xavier brought the Good News of Jesus to Japan in 1549. Many received the Word and were baptized by St. Francis himself. Although Francis later left to continue his mission in other countries, the faith had grown in Japan.

Paul Miki felt the call to follow Jesus. He studied at the Jesuit college at Azuchi and Takatsuki and became a Jesuit priest in 1580. He too worked hard as a Catechist and was able to bring many people to Jesus.

By 1587 there were over two hundred thousand Catholics. Missionaries from various religious orders came to work in Japan. Japanese priests, religious and lay people lived the faith joyfully.

In 1597, forty-five years after St. Francis Xavier came to Japan, a powerful Japanese official, Hideyoshi, listened to the gossip and lies of a Spanish merchant. The merchant said that the missionaries were traitors of Japan who would cause Japan to be defeated by Spain and Portugal.

Hideyoshi overreacted and had twenty-six people arrested. The group included six Franciscans from Spain, Mexico and India; three Japanese Jesuit catechists, including St. Paul Miki; and seventeen Japanese Catholic lay people, including children.

The twenty-six were led to the place of execution outside Nagasaki. Each of them was tied to a cross with chains and cords and had iron collars clamped around their necks. Then they were killed with spears. They died almost immediately.

These twenty-six martyrs are sometimes called the martyrs of Nagasaki and the martyrs of Japan. Their blood-stained clothes were treasured by the Christian community and miracles happened through their intercession.

Each martyr was a gift to the Church. Before he died on February 5, 1597, St. Paul Miki fearlessly gave a sermon from the cross as he encouraged the Christian community to be faithful until death.

FEBRUARY 9 - ST. APOLLONIA AND THE MARTYRS OF ALEXANDRIA

At Alexandria in Egypt, in 249 during the reign of Emperor Philip, an angry mob rose against the Christians. The pagans (non-believers) of Alexandria started making the Christians suffer under instructions of a magician of that city.

Metras, an old man, was the first to die. His eyes were pierced with reeds, and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was next. She was led to a temple and told to worship the false gods there; when she refused she too was stoned to death.

After this the houses of the Christians were robbed and destroyed; but the Christians accepted their suffering with joy.

A holy virgin, Apollonia, who also lived in Alexandria, had spent her whole life serving God. Now that she was growing old, she was not about to take time to rest. She bravely put her own life in danger to comfort suffering Christians in prison. “Remember that your trials will not last long,” she would say. “But the joys of heaven will last forever.”

Not long after, Apollonia, too, was captured. When the judge asked her name, she boldly said, “I am a Christian and I love and serve the true God.”

Angry people tortured Apollonia, trying to force her to give up her faith. First, all her teeth were smashed and then knocked out. Strangely enough, that is why people often pray to St. Apollonia when they have a toothache. But even though this was very painful Applolonia’s faith remained strong.

They then lit a huge fire and she was told that if she did not deny Jesus, she would be thrown into the fire. She was silent for a moment, and then, with special strength she received from the Holy Spirt, she walked into the fire and died in its flames rather than give up her faith in Jesus.

When the pagans saw how heroic she was, many were converted. The judges themselves were amazed at the huge number of Christians who came on their own to die for Jesus and receive the crown of martyrdom.

FEBRUARY 8 - ST. JEROME EMILIANI

Jerome was born to a noble family of Venice, Italy. He loved the good life and spent his youth carelessly enjoying the pleasures of this world. When he grew up he became a soldier and was put in command of a fortress high in the mountains.

One day, his post was attacked by troops of Maximilian I. Jerome was taken prisoner and thrown into a dungeon. Chained in that miserable prison, he had time to think about his life. He began to regret the careless way he had been living. He was sorry that he had thought so little about God. He was sorry for wasting so many years living a wicked life.

Jerome promised the Blessed Mother that he would change his life if she would help him. His prayers were answered and by a miracle he was able to escape to safety. Jerome, with a grateful heart, went straight to a church. He hung his prison chains in front of Mary’s altar.

After returning to Venice, he took charge of the education of his young nephews while he studied to be a priest. When he finally became a priest he was devoted to works of charity.

Plague and famine struck northern Italy. Jerome began feeding the sick and the hungry with whatever money he had. He was especially concerned about the many homeless orphan children he found in the streets. He rented a house for them, and gave them clothes and food. He taught them about Jesus and the Catholic faith.

St. Jerome started a religious congregation of men called the Company of the Servants of the Poor. They would care for the poor, especially orphans, and would teach youth.

He did all he could for the peasants, too. St. Jerome would work with them in the fields and would talk to them of God’s goodness while he worked by their side. He died while caring for plague victims in 1537.

St. Jerome Emiliani was a gift to the people of his time and to all the Church. By totally turning his life around, he became an image of the love of God. He gave hope to those who were poor and abandoned. He is the patron saint of orphans and homeless children.

FEBRUARY 10 - ST. SCHOLASTICA

Born in 480 of wealthy parents, Scholastica and Benedict were brought up together until he left central Italy for Rome to continue his studies.

Little is known of Scholastica’s early life. She founded a religious community for women near Monte Cassino at Plombariola, five miles from where her brother governed a monastery.

The twins visited each other once a year in a farmhouse because Scholastica was not permitted inside the monastery. They spent these times discussing spiritual matters.

According to the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, the brother and sister spent their last day together in prayer and conversation. Scholastica sensed her death was close at hand and she begged Benedict to stay with her until the next day.

He refused her request because he did not want to spend a night outside the monastery, thus breaking his own Rule. Scholastica asked God to let her brother remain and a severe thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning to the abbey.

Benedict cried out, “God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?” Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and he granted it.”

Brother and sister parted the next morning after their long discussion. Three days later, Benedict was praying in his monastery and saw the soul of his sister rising heavenward in the form of a white dove. Benedict then announced the death of his sister to the monks and later buried her in the tomb he had prepared for himself.

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