“The times are never so bad but that a good man can live in them.” —St. Thomas More “A good man is not a perfect man; a good man is an honest man, faithful and unhesitatingly responsive to the voice of God in his life.” —St. John Fisher
Today is the feast of the great writer, thinker, intellectual, lawyer, politician, father, friend, saint, and martyr Thomas More. It is also the feast of Bishop John Fisher. They were two great English martyrs killed for being faithful to true Christian doctrine in the bloody persecutions of King Henry VIII.
Thomas More lost everything—his wealth, his status, his family, even his life—because he knew that denying the truth was a grave sin. In our time, men lie, dissemble, and compromise without a thought. Compromise is necessary…tolerance is virtue…we cannot hurt anyone’s feelings…you will lose your promotion if you don’t go along. How often do we take the coward’s way out when even a tiny risk is involved! Yet Thomas More was impoverished, humiliated, and executed because he would not sign his name to a paper. That is the stuff of which saints are made.
Cardinal John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, also lost his life because he would not lie—and also, like More, he was pressured by and isolated from his peers.
Like their Master Jesus Christ, John Fisher and Thomas More knew that there were more important things than life and prosperity. “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” Jesus asked (Mark 8:36).
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