The Lives of the two Saints have filled many books and indeed, Harvard University has published 14,000 pages of Saint Thomas More's Papers. But our humble Blog is not up tp such mighty achievements. Nevertheless, we want you to get some strong flavour of the character and true sanctity of these heroic saints and giants of the Catholic Faith , who remained true to Christ's Church when many either grabbed for money and betrayed the Lord or cowered in fear.
|SAINT JOHN FISHER|
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, MARTYR
We could recount the incident when, Henry VIII personally confronted the assembled Bishops to receive their written acknowledgement of his headship of the Church in England , the Archbishop of Canterbury having forged the signature of Bishop Fisher to save him from the King's ire. But Fisher would have none of it, and stood up insisting that he had not signed! But, instead, we shall present the text of a letter he wrote to the wretched Thomas Crumwell (later euphemised as Cromwell by the English Establishment) .In 1534 he was attainted of misprision of Treason, as Crumwell sought to silence the holy Bishop and others who would not support the King's desire to dissolve his marriage, in the process Bishop Fisher wrote to Crumwell:
".........After my right humble commendations I most entirely beseech you that I no further be moved to make answer unto your letters. For I see that mine answer must rather grow into a great book , or else be insufficient, so that ye shall still thereby take occasion to be offended and I nothing profit.
But I perceive that everything I writ is ascribed either to craft, or to willfulness, or to affection or to unkindness against my sovereign; so that my writing rather provoketh you to displeasure than it furthereth me to any point concerning your favour which I most effectually covet.
Nothing I read in all your long letters that I take any comfort of but the only subscriptions wherein it pleaseth you to call you my friend;
which undoubtedly was a word of much consolation unto me. And therefore I beseech you so to continue and so to show yourself unto me at this time.
In two points of my writing methought ye were most offended and both concerned the King's Grace. That one was where I excused myself by the displeasure that His Highness took with me when I spake once or twice unto him of like matters. The other was where I touched his great matter.
And as to this first methink it very hard that I might not signify unto you secretly such things as might be most effectual for mine excuse.
And as to the second, my study and purpose was specially to decline, that I should not be straited to offend His Grace in that behalf. For then I must needs declare my conscience; the which (as then I wrote) I would be loth to do any more largely than I have done.
Not that I condemn any other men's conscience. Their conscience may save them; and mine must save me..........."
|SAINT THOMAS MORE, MARTYR|
SAINT THOMAS MORE
From a letter written in prison, to his daughter, Margaret, by Saint Thomas More:
"Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness, I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in His merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God's Grace has given the King a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken nothing from me but my liberty. In doing this, His Majesty has done me such good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. Either He shall keep the King in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this cases I shall not deserve, then His grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly.
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 call 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, afterward I trust that in His goodness He will look on me with pity as He did on 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 is, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.
You confirm the true faith
With the crown of martyrdom.
May the prayers of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More
Give us the courage to proclaim our faith
By the witness of our lives.
Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God for ever and ever. Amen