“I die the king’s good servant, and God’s first.”
~ Thomas More, on the scaffold, July 6, 1535
Our parish feast day is today, the feast of St. Thomas More. Thomas More was a person who dedicated his life to the workings of the law in England. He was a tireless worker and defender of the king. He wrote a defense of the sacraments in response to Martin Luther’s rebellion against the Church.
Thomas More was known to speak his mind and to hold to the truth. This became a problem for King Henry VIII when Thomas More refused to endorse the king’s plan to divorce Katherine of Aragon. Nonetheless, Thomas More rose in the ranks, ultimately becoming Lord Chancellor, the first lay person to hold that position.
Thomas More resigned his position in 1532. In 1533, he refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn. In 1534, he refused to swear to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy which would have made him repudiate Rome in favor of the king. Because of this, Thomas More was arrested and confined to the Tower of London. He was found guilty of treason and was beheaded along with Bishop John Fisher on July 6, 1535. His final words were, “I die the king’s good servant, and God’s first.”
Thomas More always knew where his allegiance was supposed to be placed. No matter how powerful the king, no matter how easy or hard the king could make Thomas More’s life, Thomas More was committed to the King of All Ages, Jesus Christ.
To whom do we place our allegiance?
FAITH ACTION: Pray for the wisdom, guidance, and courage to be faithful to God — first and foremost — in all that you say and do today.