Patience In Tribulation & Grace in Everything

St Thomas More bids farewell to his daughter Margaret.

Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love to the good Lord incomparable above the love to myself; and that I love nothing to Thy displeasure, but everything in an order to Thee.

 

Because they trust in God, rather than themselves, the martyrs face death with courage.  Today we celebrate the faithful husband, father, and statesman St. Thomas More.  Follow this link to find read his writings, including his religious writings.  Below are a couple of his writings, written near the time of his death.

Here is his last letter, written to his daughter Margaret, with whom he was very close, the day before his execution.  

Monday, July 5th, 1535.—

MY GOOD DAUGHTER:
Our Lord bless you, my good daughter, and your good husband, and your little boy, and all yours, and all my children, and all my god-children, and all our friends.  Recommend me when ye may, to my good daughter Cecily, whom I beseech Our Lord to comfort.  And I send her my blessing, and to all her children, and beg her to pray for me.  I send her a handkerchief; and God comfort my good son, her husband.  My good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parchment, that you delivered me from my Lady Conyers; her name is on the back of it.  Shew her that I heartily pray her, that you may send it in my name to her again, for a token from me to pray for me.  I like especially well Dorothy Colly; I pray you be good unto her.  I would wit [know] whether that be she you wrote me of; if not, yet I pray you be good to the other as you may, in her affliction, and to my good daughter Joan Aleyn too.  Give her, I pray you, some kind answer, for she sued hither to me this day, to pray you to be good to her.  I cumber you, good Margaret, much, and I should be sorry if it were to be any longer than to-morrow: for it is St. Thomas’s even, and the utas [vigil] of St. Peter; and therefore to-morrow long I to go to God:  it were a day very meet and convenient for me.—I never liked your manner towards me better, than when you kissed me last,* for I like when daughterly love and dear charity have no leisure to look to worldly courtesy.  Farewell, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for you, and for all your friends, that we may merrily meet in heaven.  I thank you for your great cost.  I send now to my good daughter Clement her algorism stone,† and send her and my godson, and all hers, God’s blessing and mine.  I pray you, at time convenient, recommend me to my good son John More; I liked well his natural fashion.  Our Lord bless him, and his good wife, my loving daughter, to whom I pray him to be good, as he hath great cause; and if the land of mine come to his hand, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce.  And our Lord bless Thomas and Austen, and all that they shall have.

* Here, he alludes to the affecting scene on Tower-wharf.
An algorism stone was a device used for learning arithmetic, something in the nature of the multiplication table.

A Devout Prayer, 1535.

[Composed after being condemned to death.]

Pater Noster. Ave Maria. Credo.
O Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three equal and coeternal Persons and one Almighty God, have mercy on me, vile, abject, abominable, sinful wretch, meekly knowledging before Thine High Majesty my long-continued sinful life, even from my very childhood hitherto.

In my childhood (in this point and that point). After my childhood (in this point and that point, and so forth by every age).

Now, good gracious Lord, as Thou givest me Thy grace to knowledge them, so give me Thy grace not only in word but in heart also, with very sorrowful contrition to repent them and utterly to forsake them. And forgive me those sins also in which, by mine own default, through evil affections and evil custom, my reason is with sensuality so blinded that I cannot discern them for sin. And illumine, good Lord, mine heart, and give me Thy grace to know them and to knowledge them, and forgive me my sins negligently forgotten, and bring them to my mind with grace to be purely confessed of them.
Glorious God, give me from henceforth Thy grace, with little respect unto the world, so to set and fix firmly mine heart upon Thee, that I may say with Thy blessed apostle St. Paul: “Mundus mihi crucifixus est et ego mundo.1 Mihi vivere Christus est et mori lucrum.2 Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo.3

Give me Thy grace to amend my life and to have an eye to mine end without grudge of death, which to them that die in Thee, good Lord, in the gate of a wealthy life.
Almighty God, Doce me facere voluntatem Tuam.4 Fac me currere in odore unguentorum tuorum.5 Apprehende manum meam dexteram et deduc me in via recta propter inimicos meos.6 Trahe me post te.7 In chamo et freno maxillas meas constringe, quum non approximo ad te.8

O glorious God, all sinful fear, all sinful sorrow and pensiveness, all sinful hope, all sinful mirth and gladness take from me. And on the other side, concerning such fear, such sorrow, such heaviness, such comfort, consolation, and gladness as shall be profitable for my soul: Fac mecum secundum magnam bonitatem tuam Domine.9
Good Lord, give me the grace, in all my fear and agony, to have recourse to that great fear and wonderful agony that Thou, my sweet Saviour, hadst at the Mount of Olivet before Thy most bitter passion, and in the meditation thereof to conceive ghostly comfort and consolation profitable for my soul.

Almighty God, take from me all vain-glorious minds, all appetites of mine own praise, all envy, covetise, gluttony, sloth, and lechery, all wrathful affections, all appetite of revenging, all desire or delight of other folk’s harm, all pleasure in provoking any person to wrath and anger, all delight of exprobation or insultation against any person in their affliction and calamity.

And give me, good Lord, an humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender, and pitiful mind with all my works, and all my words, and all my thoughts, to have a taste of Thy holy, blessed Spirit.

Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love to the good Lord incomparable above the love to myself; and that I love nothing to Thy displeasure, but everything in an order to Thee.

Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with Thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this wretched world, nor so much for the avoiding of the pains of purgatory, nor of the pains of hell neither, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven in respect of mine own commodity, as even, for a very love to Thee.

And bear me, good Lord, Thy love and favour, which thing my love to Thee-ward, were it never so great, could not, but of Thy great goodness deserve.

And pardon me, good Lord, that I am so bold to ask so high petitions, being so vile a sinful wretch, and so unworthy to attain the lowest. But yet, good Lord, such they be as I am bounden to wish, and should be nearer the effectual desire of them if my manifold sins were not the let. From which, O glorious Trinity, vouchsafe, of Thy goodness to wash me with that blessed blood that issued out of Thy tender body, O sweet Saviour Christ, in the divers torments of Thy most bitter passion.

Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion, or rather key-cold manner of meditation, and this dulness in praying unto Thee. And give me warmth, delight, and quickness in thinking upon Thee. And give me Thy grace to long for Thine holy sacraments, and specially to rejoice in the presence of Thy very blessed body, sweet Saviour Christ, in the holy sacrament of the altar, and duly to thank Thee for Thy gracious visitation therewith, and at that high memorial with tender compassion to remember and consider Thy most bitter passion.

Make us all, good Lord, virtually participant of that holy sacrament this day, and every day. Make us all lively members, sweet Saviour Christ, of Thine holy mystical body, Thy Catholic Church.

Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.10
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.11
In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in æternum.12
R. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei genitrix.13
V. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.14

Pro amicis.15
Almighty God, have mercy on N. and N. (with special meditation and consideration of every friend, as godly affections and occasion requireth).

Pro inimicis.16
Almighty God, have mercy on N. and N., and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine together by such easy, tender, merciful means as Thine infinite wisdom best can devise, vouchsafe to amend and redress and make us saved souls in heaven together, where we may ever live and love together with Thee and Thy blessed saints, O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Saviour Christ. Amen.

God, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything, to conform my will to Thine, that I may truly say: “Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo et in terra”.17
The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me Thy grace to labour for. Amen.

[AJ Notes (trans. by A. Jokinen; direct Bible quotes from the KJV):

1″The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).
2″For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).
3″Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ” (Phil 1:23)
4″Teach me to do thy will” (Ps. 143:10)
5″Make me run in the scent of your ointments” (cf. Song of Solomon 1:3).
6″Take me by my right hand and direct me on the path of righteousness, on account of my enemies” (cf. Ps. 73:23).
7″Draw me after thee.” (cf. Song of Solomon 1:4).
8″With bit and bridle constrain my jaws, when I come not near thee.” (cf. Ps. 32:9)
9″Do unto me according to thy great goodness, Lord” (cf. Ps. 118:29; Psalm 145:7-8).
10″Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. O Lord, have mercy upon us , have mercy upon us.” From the Te Deum. Translation from the Book of Common Prayer.
11″O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.” From the Te Deum. Translation from the Book of Common Prayer.
12″O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.” From the Te Deum. Translation from the Book of Common Prayer.
13″Pray for us, holy mother of God.”
14″That we may become worthy of the promises of Christ.”
15″For friends.”
16″For enemies.”
17″Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.” From the Lord’s Prayer.

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