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Celebrate Saint Thomas More and John Fisher

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, Martyrs against tyranny

 

 Saint Thomas More was born in London and was Chancellor of King Henry VIII. As a family man, a public servant, and writer, he displayed a rare combination of human warmth, Christian wisdom, and sense of humor.

His most famous quote, fitting for today, was when he declared himself to be “the King’s good servant — but God’s first”

 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, and when she died at a young age, he married a widow, Alice Middleton, to be a mother for his young children.

Saint Thomas More

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. St. Thomas More is the Patron Saint of Lawyers, Statesmen, and Politicians

(www.catholic.org)

Litany of St. Thomas More

Pope John Paul II said,


“There are many reasons for proclaiming Thomas More Patron of statesmen and people in public life. Among these is the need felt by the world of politics and public administration for credible role models able to indicate the path of truth at a time in history when difficult challenges and crucial responsibilities are increasing. Today in fact strongly innovative economic forces are reshaping social structures; on the other hand, scientific achievements in the area of biotechnology underline the need to defend human life at all its different stages, while the promises of a new society — successfully presented to a bewildered public opinion — urgently demand clear political decisions in favor of the family, young people, the elderly and the marginalized. In this context, it is helpful to turn to the example of St. Thomas More, who distinguished himself by his constant fidelity to legitimate authority and institutions precisely in his intention to serve not power, but the supreme ideal of justice. His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue.”

V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ, have mercy
R. Christ have mercy
V. Lord, have mercy
R. Lord have mercy
V. Christ hear us
R. Christ, graciously hear us

V. St. Thomas More, Saint and Martyr, R. Pray for us (Repeat after each invocation)
St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers
St. Thomas More, Patron of Justices, Judges and Magistrates
St. Thomas More, Model of Integrity and Virtue in Public and Private Life
St. Thomas More, Servant of the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ
St. Thomas More, Model of Holiness in the Sacrament of Marriage
St. Thomas More, Teacher of his Children in the Catholic Faith
St. Thomas More, Defender of the Weak and the Poor
St. Thomas More, Promoter of Human Life and Dignity

V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Spare us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Graciously hear us O Lord
V. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world
R. Have mercy on us


Let us pray: 


O Glorious St. Thomas More, Patron of Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and Lawyers, your life of
prayer and penance and your zeal for justice, integrity and firm principle in public and family life led
you to the path of martyrdom and sainthood. Intercede for our Statesmen, Politicians, Judges and
Lawyers, that they may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of
human life – the foundation of all other human rights. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN

Books, Movies, and Medals for St. Thomas More

St Thomas More Fortnight for Freedom Prayer Card

 

John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester

Born at Beverly, 1469 – martyred June 22, 1535, Tower of London
Canonized (with Saint Thomas More) 1935
Saint John Fisher studied theology in Cambridge, England and became Bishop of Rochester. His friend Saint Thomas More wrote of him, “I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning, and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him.”

Saint John Fisher and his friend Saint Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of marriage.

Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII’s mandatory Oath of Allegiance, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop’s stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.

Saint John Fisher

Reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King:

Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries daily offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same.

And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad.

But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand!

The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery.

Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him.

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled:

Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death.

Wherefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death’s stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel.

He then knelt, said the Te DeumIn te domine speravi, and submitted to the ax.

 (Women for Faith & Family, wf-f.org)
 
Saint John Paul II on Saint Thomas More
 
 
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