Ave Maria Meditations
St. Thomas More, Martyr and Third Order Franciscan (Feast is June 22nd), often meditated on the Passion of Christ and in a special way on Christ’s agony in the garden.
St. Thomas More’s writings and example has also strengthened Christians faced with great difficulties and tribulations. The saint was strengthened by the contemplation of Christ’s Passion as he awaited decapitation and martyrdom for being true to his Faith. And it can help us to be strong in the face of the difficulties, both great and small, that we encounter in our ordinary daily lives.
While he was in prison this saint wrote: Christ knew that many people would be filled with terror when faced with the threat of being tortured, and He wanted to encourage them with the example of His own pain, His own sadness, His own incomparable humiliation and fear.
It seems that Christ is making use of His own agony to speak to those who find themselves in such a situation: Be brave, He seems to say, you who are feeble and weak; do not give up hope. You are terrified and depressed, worn down by exhaustion and the dread of torture. Be confident, I have overcome the world and yet was even much more afraid and appalled, once My suffering grew in proportion with the fearful knowledge of what was causing it. Look how I go before you along this path that is beset with so many fears. Take hold of the edge of My cloak and you will feel flowing from it the power that will not allow your heart’s blood to be contaminated with useless fears and anxieties.
It will hearten you and raise your spirits, especially when you remember that you are following closely in My footsteps. I am faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength, but give you the necessary grace to be able to bear the test; and it will fill you with gladness when you remember that this transient tribulation you are asked to bear will become a cargo of immense glory.
The saint wrote in these terms knowing he was to be beheaded in a few day’s time. Let us remember these words in our own times of tribulation.
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