June 22-------------- St. Thomas More
St. Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1477 . As a child he was known for his merry character and brilliant intellect, having no inclination for "vain or hurtful amusements". His eloquence was incomparable, speaking with the same facility in Latin as with his own language. Besides the classics, he studied French, history and mathematics and learned to play both the flute and the viola. Some say that he mastered Greek by an instinct of genius.
St. Thomas is well known for his martyrdom at the hands of Henry VIII because he opposed the King's designs in regard to his divorce , the papal supremacy and the laws against heretics. The story of his last days is proof of a fortitude that was unsurpassed in that time. It was written: " He did not look upon the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that ought to produce any change in the disposition of his mind".
What special attribute did St. Thomas possess that enabled him to give his life with such calm and resignation?
Most historians fail to relate the particulars which preceded his martyrdom. St. Thomas often joined in the spiritual exercises of the monks. He wore "a sharp hair shirt next to his skin, which he never left off wholly" according to one of his biographers. He also gave himself up to a life of prayer and penance, applying his whole mind to exercises of piety along with fasts and vigils.
These acts assured him of the ability to think clearly-- to have the light of reason completely in tact. Therefore, when a wrong was needed to be judged his understanding was impeccable. Consequently, he was an excellent magistrate as well as a saint who was willing to give his life for the Truth. He was beheaded on July 6, 1535.
Let us ask St. Thomas More for the virtue of fortitude so that we may be unshakable in defending the Truth and resigned to the consequences.