I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him."
Hello everyone! I hope you are well and keeping safe. Today, June 22, we celebrate two of my favorite saints, Thomas More and John Fisher. Both were put to death unjustly under the reign of King Henry VIII in 1535. The two saints were extraordinarily different in temperament. More, the elder statesman, careful with his words yet respected by all for his fairness, dignity and grace. Bishop Fisher was a fellow you would probably not invite over to your house on a regular basis!. He was blunt with the truth on his side! He was the bishop of the poorest Diocese in England, Rochester, and he began reforms in his diocese with a great deal of attention to the Scriptures and to discipline.
In any event, we need saints like those fellows today, don't we? As different as they were, they both died for the faith with a great desire to meet God their Creator! Here is an excerpt from a letter by Thomas More to his daughter, Margaret. He was writing from his prison cell. Margaret had hoped he could take the oath that would make Henry VIII the head of the Church and thus agree to his divorce to Catherine. More's conscience wouldn't permit him to do so.
Notice the beautiful eloquence of Thomas More:
By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.
I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
And if he permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to the ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in his tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby! Still, if this should happen, afterwards I trust that in his goodness he will look on me with pity as he did upon Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.
And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.
And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.
on Monday, June 22 at 8:48AM