Tag Archives: St Andrew Kim

Faith is crowned by love and perseverance: St Andrew Kim

Today is the liturgical memorial of the martyrs St. Andrew Kim Taegŏn and his companions. We have an opportunity to deepen our appreciation for the vocation to martyrdom Kim had, and how the Church in Korea is dependent on the witness of Kim and his companions. As John Paul II reminded us, the Church in Korea was founded and sustained by the laity under the power of Christ crucified and risen. Here is the final exhortation of St. Andrew Kim. The martyr’s words is good wisdom for today.

My brethren and dear friends, think about this and reflect on it: from the beginning of time God has ordered the heavens, the earth, and all things. Consider the creation of man in this light and reflect on why he has created man, each man, in his image and likeness: why, and with what purpose.

If, then, placed as we are in this world full of danger and misery, we do not know the Lord our creator, what is the point in having been born? Our life is pointless. Thanks to God, we have come into this world. Also thanks to God, we have received baptism, we have entered the Church, and we have received the glorious name of disciples of the Lord. But what use would that name be if it did not correspond to reality? If it does not, then it is in vain that we have come into the world and entered into the Church. Moreover, such a state of affairs would not serve the Lord and his grace. It would be better for us never to have been born than to receive the grace of the Lord and then sin against him.

Look at the farmer sowing his field. He ploughs the earth at the appropriate time, then he manures it, and he cultivates the growing seed without caring how hard his work is under a hot sun. When harvest time arrives, if the ears are fat then he forgets his labour and his sweat because his heart is full of joy and he delights in the harvest. But if the grains are shrivelled and there is nothing but straw and empty husks, then the farmer remembers his sweat and heavy labour: the more he has worked the field, the more he turns his back on it.

It is the same with the Lord. The Earth is his field; we men are his seed; his manure is grace. By the Incarnation and the Redemption he waters us with his blood so that we can grow and ripen. When the time for harvest comes at the Day of Judgement, if by his grace we are found to be ripe, we shall know the joy of the kingdom as the adoptive children of God. But if we are found to be unripe, we shall have become enemies of God instead of the adoptive sons we were, and we shall receive the eternal punishment we deserve.

My very dear brethren, know this: our Lord Jesus, coming down here, himself suffered pains beyond counting: by his Passion he founded the Church and by the passion of his faithful he makes it grow. The powers of this world may well oppress it and attack it, but they will never have victory over it. After the Ascension of Jesus, from the time of the Apostles until now, the holy Church has grown everywhere in the middle of persecution.

It is fifty or sixty years now since the holy Church entered our land of Korea. The faithful have endured persecution over and over again. Today it is beginning once more: many of our friends in faith, and I myself, are in prison. You too are under threat. Since we form one body, how can we not have sad hearts? How can we not, as human beings, feel the pain of separation?

All the same, as Scripture tells us, God takes care of the least of the hairs of our head and nothing escapes his infinite knowledge. How then can we see this persecution except as something ordered by the Lord either as a prize or as a punishment? Follow therefore the will of God, fight with all your heart for our divine leader Jesus, and you will vanquish the demon of this world, who has already been vanquished by Christ.

I implore you: do not forget fraternal love but help one another and persevere until the Lord takes pity on us and ends this persecution.

There are twenty of us here and, thank God, all is well with us so far. If one of us is put to death I beg you not to forget his family.

There are many other things I could say to you, but how to say them all in a letter? So I will end here. As for us, in a short time we will go into combat. I beg you to keep yourselves faithful so that we can all be reunited in the joys of heaven. With all my heart, I embrace you.

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions

It seems to me that we need the intercession these days: Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Paul Chong Ha-sang & Companions of Korea, pray for us!

The crisis on the Korean peninsula is quite something to comprehend with the radical potential of human tragedy in the hands of government leaders in various sectors. All the more that we need help from Divine Providence.

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions

sts-andrew-kim-and-companionsSt. Andrew Kim was the first native Korean priest and the son of Korean converts. His father, Ignatius Kim, was martyred during the persecution of 1839 and beatified in 1925. After Baptism at the age of 15, Andrew traveled 1,300 miles to seminary in Macao, China. After six years of study, he returned to Korea and was ordained a priest. He was eventually arrested, tortured and beheaded near Seoul. 

Paul Chong Hasang, 45, was a lay man and married, also martyred.

Pope John Paul II canonized Kim and the companions in 1984 when he visited Korea. The 98 Koreans and three French missionaries were martyred between 1839 and 1867. Among them were bishops and priests, but for the most part they were lay persons: 47 women, 45 men.

Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, pray for us!

Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and companions

The Church remembers the martyrdom of the Korean martyrs, more than 103 of them. The names of Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasang are the hallmarks for this 19th century Christian witness. I can’t fathom the depth of love and hope these martyrs must have had in facing trials.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who have been pleased to increase your adopted children in all the world, and who made the blood of the Martyrs Saint Andrew Tae-gon and his companions a most fruitful seed of Christians, grant that we may be defended by their help and profit always from their example.

My 2011 blog post on today’s feast gives more information.

At Mass today at the Monastery of the Glorious Cross (Branford, CT), Father David Borino remembered the intentions of Sister Maria Kim, OSB, a nun of this monastery. In addition, I’d like to remember in prayer the Benedictine monks of Saints Maurus and Placidus Abbey, (Waegwan, Korea), St Paul’s Abbey (Newton, NJ), Archbishop Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-Suk (archbishop emeritus of Seoul) and the Korean community in Queens, especially my friends Claire and Theresa. May the Divine Majesty richly bless these servants of God.

Saints Andrew Kim Taegon and Paul Chong Hasang and companions

St Andrew Kim Taegon.jpgToday is the feast of the 19th century Saints Andrew Kim and Paul Hasang and their 103 companions. Kim is the first Korean born Catholic priest! He also followed his father as a martyr for the faith. Andrew was beheaded after being tortured in 1846. These saints were raised to the altars by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

Why ought we be concerned about this today? One reason is that these witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ were mostly lay people. The faith in Korea is a Catholic faith that has its roots not primarily in the work of clergy but by the work of the laity. This is not a feast that proclaims the greatness of the laity over the clergy but it is a feast that speaks to the faithful and fruitful work of the Holy Spirit in priesthood of the all the baptized to make disciples of all nations. Surely, the ministerial priesthood was utilized in discrete ways because of the anti-Catholic sentiment of this geographic region. How else would the sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist be given? What the Church in her wisdom following the guidance of the Spirit has given us are models of holiness in serving the Lord in fullest sense possible: the correspondence of the ordained and lay priesthood.

Father Scott Hurd posted a brief piece on today’s feast.
Let us pray for the Church in Korea!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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