Today the Catholic Church celebrates the memorial of Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers and politicians, among others. More, referred to as “a man for all seasons” because of his wide scholarship and knowledge, is known by many through the play of the same name.
More, as most people know, was killed because he refused to support King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn and because he would not acknowledge Henry as the supreme head of the Church in England. For More, this was a decision of conscience on which he could not compromise.
More reminds us that there can be a high cost to discipleship and that following the demand of conscience is not always easy.
As I was thinking about More, I came across a passage from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy that could have been written with More as the model for one who follows Paul’s instruction. Paul wrote:
Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.
A good description of Thomas More, who we celebrate today.