Thursday, June 24, 2010

John the Baptist - Thomas More

Both spoke the Word of Christ. Both were beheaded (and worse). We must also speak the Word and suffer the slings and arrows of whatever misfortune may come our way.

John the Baptist:

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits befitting repentance and do not begin to say, ‘We have Abraham for our father; for I say to you that God is able out of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. For even now the axe is laid at the root of the trees; every tree, therefore, that is not bringing forth fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Lk. 3, 7-9).

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will clean out his threshing floor and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.’ So with many different exhortations he kept on preaching the gospel to the people.

“For Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him concerning Herodias, his brother’s wife, and concerning all the evil things that Herod had done, crowned all this by shutting up John in prison” (Lk. 3, 17-20).

“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and he said, ‘Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me there comes one who has been set above me, because he was before me.’ And I did not know him. But that he may be known in Israel, for this reason Have I come baptizing with water.

“And John bore witness, saying, ‘I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove from heaven, and it abode upon him.’ And I did not know him. But he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He upon whom thou wilt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, he it is who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God’”(Jn. 1, 29-34).

“Again, the next day John was standing there, and two of his disciples. And looking upon Jesus as he walked by, he said, ‘Behold the lamb of God!’ And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus” (Jn. 1, 35-37).

St. Thomas More:

In the Tower:

Roper: Sir, come out! Swear to the Act! Take the oath and come out!

More: Is this why they let you come?

Roper: Yes… Meg’s under oath to persuade you.

More: That was silly, Meg. How did you come to do that?

Margaret: I wanted to! [me: love is the best of reasons]

More: You want me to swear to the Act of Succession?

Margaret: “God more regards the thoughts of the heart than the words of the mouth.” Or so you’ve always told me.

More: Yes.

Margaret: Then say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.

More: What is an oath then but words we say to God?

Margaret: That’s very neat.

More: Do you mean it isn’t true?

Margaret: No, it’s true.

More: Then it’s a poor argument to call it ‘neat,’ Meg. When a man takes an oath, Meg, he’s holding his own self in his own hands. Like water. [He cups his hands] And if he opens his fingers then – he needn’t hope to find himself again. Some men aren’t capable of this, but I’d be loathe to think your father one of them.

Margaret: In any State that was half good, you would be raised up high, not here, for what you’ve done already. It’s not your fault the State’s three-quarters bad. Then if you elect to suffer for it, you elect yourself a hero.

More: That’s very neat. But look now … If we lived in a State where virtue was profitable, common sense would make us good, and greed would make us saintly. And we’d live like animals or angels in the happy land that needs no heroes. But since in fact we see that avarice, anger, envy, pride, sloth, lust and stupidity commonly profit far beyond humility, chastity, fortitude, justice and thought, and have to choose, to be human at all… why then perhaps we must stand fast a little – even at the risk of being heroes.

Margaret: [Emotionally] But in reason! Haven’t you done as much s God can reasonable want?

More: Well… finally… it isn’t a matter of reason; finally it’s a matter of love.”

No comments: