Thomas More, The Saint

More with fellow martyr Bishop John Fisher

When away on state business, Thomas More received word from home of a fire. In the letter he sent home, we can discern the essential lines of a Saint: absolute trust of God’s good will towards him and all his own, acceptance of whatever may befall as manifesting that Divine will, and solicitude for the good of others for God’s sake. These holy ideas and attitudes make life sweet; and when circumstances are at their most painful – even then – life is ‘shot through’ with a clear note of joy.

I found this quote from the letter he wrote in “The Story of Thomas More” by John Farrow (Sheed and Ward, 1954):

I am informed by my son Heron of the loss of our barns, and our neighbors’ also, with all the corn that was therein, albeit (saving God’s pleasure) it is great pity of so much good corn lost, yet since it hath liked him to send us such a chance, we must not only be content, but also be glad of his visitation. He sent us all that we have lost: and since he hath by such a chance taken it away again, his pleasure be fulfilled. Let us not grudge thereat, but take it in good worth, and heartily thank him, as well for adversity, as for prosperity. And for adventure we have more cause to thank him for our loss, than for our winning. For his wisdom better seeth what is good for us than we do ourselves. Therefore I pray you be of good cheer, and take all the household with you to Church, and there thank God both for that he hath given us, and for that he hath left us, which if it please him, he can increase when he will. And if it please him to leave us yet less, at his pleasure be it. I pray you to make some good search with what my poor neighbors have lost, and bid them take no thought therefore, and if I should not leave myself a spoon, there shall no poor neighbor of mine bear no loss by chance happened in my house. I pray you be with my children and household merry in God. And devise some-what with your friends, what way were best to take, for provision to be made for corn for our household, and for seed this year coming, if ye think it good that we keep the ground still in our hands. And whether ye think it good why we shall do or not, yet I think it were best suddenly thus to leave it all up, and to put away our folk of our farm, till we have somewhat advised us thereon … I would not any man were suddenly sent away he knows not whither.”


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