God’s Servant First
When asked to support King Henry VIII in his hubristic move to declare himself supreme head of the church in England, Thomas More at first tried to maintain a neutral position by replying only that he was a faithful subject of the King. He was not, however, willing to take the required oaths repudiating the supremacy of the Pope and recognizing Henry’s divorce and remarriage, and this landed him in prison. Defending the Faith ultimately cost St. Thomas More his life, but he went as willingly and cheerfully to his martyrdom as he had approached life in general. He offered advice and prayers to some of the crowd gathered and bantered with his executioner, then proclaimed his final words, which memorialized him forever: he was dying “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Cultural tides are again pushing against the Truths of the Catholic Faith regarding the Sacrament of Marriage, and to stand firm with the Church’s teachings can be uncomfortable at times. The example of saints who have suffered for their fidelity can give us a model and inspiration to follow and a holy intercession to implore. We must be God’s servant first. As St. Thomas More did, we can stay out of the affairs of the state only so long as we are not asked to personally condone them or participate in them.
St. Thomas More was well described by friends and relatives as having a merry sense of humor, and a great charity towards those in need. He was forward thinking for his time, educating his wife and daughters in a way that was uncommon in that era. He also lived his life immersed in applying the Truths of the Catholic Faith. He continually taught them to his children. He insisted upon them in his household. He practiced holy habits of his own, keeping Fridays for personal spiritual exercises. He defended, with King Henry VIII, the Catholic Faith against the heresies of Luther. It was a linear absolute that he would have to uphold them even when it threatened his own life.
We must all be about turning our hearts to God first. Learn what it is our Church teaches. Live what she teaches in small things, building a foundation of belief. Jesus told us the gates of hell would not prevail against her. That tells us that it would try, but have hope! It will not prevail, so we want to be on the prevailing side of the Church. The world is applying moral relativism, while the Church remains steadfast. Cling to the steadfast Church. Let us ask St. Thomas More, especially on his feast day of June 22, to help us to see and follow the Truth, so that we also may be God’s servant first.
June 5, 2015