St. Thomas More was born at London in 1478. After a thorough grounding in religion and the classics, he entered Oxford to study law. Upon leaving the university he embarked on a legal career which took him to Parliament. In 1505, he married his beloved Jane Colt who bore him four children, andwhen she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children. A wit and a reformer, this learned man numbered Bishops and scholars among his friends, and by 1516 wrote his world-famous book “Utopia”. He attracted the attention of Henry VIII who appointed him to a succession of high posts and missions, and finally made him Lord Chancellor in 1529. However, he resigned in 1532, at the height of his career and reputation, when Henry persisted in holding his own opinions regarding marriage and the supremacy of the Pope. The rest of his life was spent in writing mostly in defense of the Church. In 1534, with his close friend, St. John Fisher, he refused to render allegiance to the King as the Head of the Church of England and was confined to the Tower. Fifteen months later, and nine days after St. John Fisher’s execution, he was tried and convicted of treason. He told the court that he could not go against his conscience and wished his judges that “we may yet hereafter in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.” And on the scaffold, he told the crowd of spectators that he was dying as “the King’s good servant-but God’s first.” He was beheaded on July 6, 1535. His feast day is June 22nd.
“I die the king’s good servant, and God’s first.” Saint Thomas More
“You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds… What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.” Saint Thomas More
Give me the grace good Lord,
to set the world at naught;
to set my mind fast upon Thee
and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths.
To be content to be solitary.
Not to long for worldly company
but utterly to cast off the world
and rid my mind the business thereof.
Not to long to hear of any worldly things,
But that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me displeasant.
Gladly to be thinking of God,
Piteously to call for His help,
To lean unto the comfort of God,
Busily to labor to love Him.
To know mine own vility and wretchedness,
To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God,
To bewail my sins passed;
For the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.
Gladly to bear my purgatory here,
To be joyful of tribulations,
To walk the narrow way the leadeth to life.
To bear the cross with Christ,
To have the last thing–death–in remembrance,
To have ever afore mine eye my death, that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me;
To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
To pray for pardon before the Judge come.
To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
For His benefits uncessantly to give Him thanks,
To but the time again that I before have lost.
To abstain from vain confabulations,
To eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary, to cut off.
Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all–to set the loss at nought
for the winning of Christ.
To think my most enemies my best friends,
For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good
with their love and favor as they did him with their
malice and hatred.
– Saint Thomas More