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St. Thomas More: Franciscan Saint and Martyr

Ave Maria Meditations

THE KING’S GOOD SERVANT BUT GOD’S FIRST…

St. Thomas More, a Franciscan Tertiary, has been named the patron for lawyers and politicians.  This holy and wholly Catholic man was a husband and father in addition to being a lawyer and became Lord Chancellor of England so much was he respected and regarded in his own time. He was beheaded in witness of the Truths of the Faith in 1535.

Blessed Pope John Paul II would write of him: “Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth over power, Saint Thomas More is venerated as an imperishable example of moral integrity. And even outside the Church, particularly among those with responsibility for the destinies of peoples, he is acknowledged as a source of inspiration for a political system which has as its supreme goal the service of the human person.”

Sir Thomas More would not compromise on two tenets of the Catholic faith: the primacy of the papacy and the dignity of marriage.  When imprisoned before his martyrdom, he would write. The following are just a few quotes from these writings, particularly from a book called “A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation”:

Now those without patience can have no reward for their pain, but when pain is patiently taken for God’s sake, and the sufferer’s will is conformed to God’s pleasure, God regards the sufferer in proportion to the pain. But never have I found any place in Scripture where Our Lord promised a wealthy person, even if that person did thank God for his gifts, any reward in heaven for having taken his ease and pleasure here. (“We do not go to heaven in featherbeds”)…in Scripture much commends tribulation as a more profitable circumstance than wealth and prosperity.

 

We shall consider tribulation a gracious gift from God, a gift that He specially gives His special friends…if God does not send it, people need to seek out and put upon themselves by penance, a thing that helps purge our past sins; a think that preserves us from sins that we would otherwise commit; a thing that causes us to attach less importance to the world; a thin that incites us to draw closer to God; a thing that greatly diminishes our pains in purgatory; a thing that greatly increases our final reward in Heaven…if we reflect on these things and remember them well, we shall not murmur or complain in a time of tribulation. Instead we shall first of all take our pain patiently and see it as something of worth.  And then we shall realize that God has sent if for our own good and so be moved to thank God for it.  As a consequence, our grace shall increase and God shall give us the comfort of realizing that He is, in the midst of our trouble, always close.

I find, then, that one great part f the terror of the nights is the fault of faintheartedness: that fearful and feeble disposition, that is, which causes some people to be afraid where there is no need to be afraid. The fault of faintheartedness first causes people in tribulation to become impatient.  The fault of faintheartedness, or a timed spirit, also often prevents people from doing many good things which, if they acquired a strong spirit by trusting in God’s help, they would be well able to do. The devil, however not only puts them in a state of cowardice but also makes them take it as humility to think themselves unfit for an incapable of many a good thing that God has given them the opportunity and has made them well suited to do. Such folks need to lift up their hearts and call upon God.  All this fear comes by scheming of the devil.

St. Thomas More, pray for us!  Help us to never compromise on the Truths of the faith, no matter the cost.