June 20, 2006

Living Benedictine Martyr


BROTHER PETER ZHOU BANG-JIU, O.S.B.
Saint Andrew Abbey
Valyermo, California



He entered the monastery in 1950 when it was still in China. Not long thereafter, the Communist revolutionaries kicked out all the non-Chinese monks. The monastery had to start itself all over again from scratch— this time in the high desert east of Los Angeles. The Communists placed Brother Peter under arrest. He refused to renounce his faith. In jail for twenty-seven years, he suffered beatings, torture and was shackled so tightly his right hand became permanently crippled.

His fellow monks in California long believed Brother Peter had been killed. In 1984 they received shocking, joyous news: he was still alive. Somehow, the Communists decided to release him. Brother Peter rejoined his fellow monks in Valyermo.

His only regret: he didn’t receive the crown of dying for his faith.

Let him tell you his own story.
Click HERE for it.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Truly inspirational.

I have never understood the desire for martyrdom however. My limited mind tells me I should do whatever God calls me to do to establish His Kingdom. If it's martyrdom, okay. If it's reading this blog, okay. If it's helping my wife get dressed, okay. Why should I hope and pray for a specific calling? One of my greatest concerns (undoubtedly realized on a daily basis) is that I will reject what God asks of me. I want to have the wisdom to understand what God is asking, and the fortitude to obey.

What am I missing?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

I would guess that Bro. Peter believed he would never get out of prison, and that one day he would either drop dead there or be killed. In either case, I believe that once he was in prison he decided to accept that he was going to die for being a Catholic.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

An incredible story. Thank you Father for posting this. I intend to share it with others.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous MissJean said...

I kind of get it. He thought he was going to die and started looking forward to being with Our Lord. Although he's free now, he has to wait to see Christ face to face. Does that make better sense?

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

My question did not deal solely with Brother Peter. Other holy men and women have reportedly prayed for martyrdom. It's any hope for martyrdom that I don't understand.

One thing that drives me batty when evangelicals talk about the rapture is their sense that being raptured is a sign of righteousness. I don't believe their world's-end scenarios one bit, but if I did I wouldn't want to be raptured. If there are souls to be saved, I would much rather stay put and face the tribulations, fight the good fight, and try and save some folks than to try and hurry up to heaven as fast as I could.

Personally, I'm afraid to hope for anything concerning what God wants me to do. In my case, I am certain those hopes would get in the way of hearing what God wanted of me and acting in accordance with God's will.

But again, I am a dufus.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

In every circumstance and situation, holiness calls us to do what is virtuous.

Ordinarily, this does not entail martyrdom.

One can practice great virtue in ordinary daily life.

However, situations can arise in which fidelity in virtue is going to require the ultimate price.

It's exactly as you said it, Bob:
"I should do whatever God calls me to do to establish His Kingdom. If it's martyrdom, okay."

11:08 PM  

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