Sunday, June 22, 2008

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher – Martyrs for the Faith

“I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” – St. Thomas More

June 22nd is the liturgical feast day of both Sts Thomas More and John Cardinal Fisher. Their lives represented an example of how to live in the world, but not of it. They showed us how to live the command of Christ to render to Caesar, Caesar’s, and to God, God’s. The Catholic is called to be counter-cultural and proclaim the Truth of the faith at all times and in all circumstances.

St. John Fisher was born in 1469. After completing his theological studies at Cambridge in England, he was ordained to the Priesthood. Appointed bishop of Rochester, he led a most austere life and fulfilled his pastoral role by frequently visiting the faithful. He also composed works against the errors of the time.

St. Thomas More was born in 1477 and was educated at Oxford. He married and had one son and three daughters. While Chancellor in the King’s Court, he wrote works on the governance of the realm and in defense of the Faith.

Both were beheaded in 1535 by order of King Henry VIII, whom he resisted in the matter of his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. St. John Fisher was martyred on June 22nd and St. Thomas More on July 6th. (Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church)

The Church is strengthened and enriched by the example and blood of the martyrs. We can learn from their example and pray that in the same circumstances, we would have the courage and grace to respond as they did.

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