Seven Great Quotes from Saint Thomas More
June 22 is the feast of Saint Thomas More, a classical scholar, a knight, Lord Chancellor of England, a statesman, a politician, a man of prayer, the author of the well-known Utopia, a theologian, and a lawyer by profession. He was born in London on February 7, 1477 into an upper class family and received an excellent education. He studied at St Anthony’s School in London and at Oxford. As a young scholar, he lived close to the Carthusians. Attracted to the priesthood as a young man—he spent four years living the austere life of the Carthusian Order.
Saint Thomas More eventually married. After the death of his first wife, who bore him four children, he married again—a widow, whose daughter he adopted. The family prayed together daily, and Saint Thomas More himself set aside all Fridays for his own spiritual exercises.
Saint Thomas More was elected to Parliament in 1504 and from this time forward began a long political career to the office of Lord Chancellor. He succeeded Cardinal Wolsey in this position, becoming the first layman called to that office. In this position, he developed a close friendship with King Henry VIII.
Saint Thomas More fought any form of heresy, especially the invasion of Protestantism into England. On the matter of royal divorce, he opposed the King’s marriage annulment to Queen Catherine of Aragon, refused to attend the coronation of Anne Boleyn as Queen of England and opposed the supremacy of the crown which belittled the Papacy. Thus, his royal position came to an abrupt end. He resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was convicted of treason and was martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to meet the king‘s desires. He was beheaded at the age of sixty-eight at Tower Hill on July 6, 1535.
Saint Thomas More Quotes
- “We cannot go to heaven in feather beds.”
- “Every tribulation whichever comes our way either is sent to be medicinal, if we will take it as such, or may become medicinal, if we will make it such, or is better than medicinal, unless we forsake it.”
- “What does it avail to know that there is a God, which you not only believe by Faith, but also know by reason: what does it avail that you know Him if you think little of Him?”
- “The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
- “But no matter how high in the clouds this arrow of pride may fly, and no matter how exuberant one may feel while being carried up so high, let us remember that the lightest of these arrows still has a heavy iron head. High as it may fly, therefore, it inevitably has to come down and hit the ground. And sometimes it lands in a not very clean place.”
- “What men call fame is, after all, but a very windy thing. Man thinks that many are praising him, and talking of him alone, and yet they spend but a very small part of the day thinking of him, being occupied with things of their own.”
- “Your reasons for wanting me to stay away from Holy Communion are exactly the ones which cause me to go so often. My distractions are great, but it is in Communion that I recollect myself. I have temptations many times a day; by daily Communion I get the strength to overcome them. I have much very important business to handle and I need light and wisdom; it is for this reason that I go to Holy Communion every day to consult Jesus about them.” (St. Thomas More’s response when friends reproached him for going to Holy Communion so often.)