Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Thomas More"

To protect the identity of the innocent (and, in this case, the super-sexy) from the slavering hoard of my *avid readers,* I am using pseudonyms for any real human being who I mention. Therefore I become “Mary of Egypt” and my saintly husband becomes “Thomas More”. For the curious, these are our confirmation names. I will do a little thinger on St. Mary of Egypt at a later date. This post is dedicated to Thomas More—the saint and the saintly spouse. Here is Spouse:

 And here is the Saint. 

Quite a resemblance, yes?


For those of you who have the leisure time to read the (extensive) New Advent article on St. Thomas More, it is here. For those of you who DON’T, here is my abridged version:  

Thomas More was born in 1477 and was executed for treason in 1535. He was a lawyer, statesman, brilliant writer and scholar, faithful layman and devoted husband and father. He was, beginning in 1529 the Lord Chancelor of England and close friend and advisor to Henry VIII. Records indicate that the king was a frequent guest at More’s Chelsea home, often arriving unbidden at dinner time, and he was known to “walk in the garden with his arm round More’s neck, enjoying his brilliant conversation.” Despite their close relationship, More refused to endorse Henry’s divorce and remarriage to Anne Boleyn. After Parliament promulgated the proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as “Supreme Head” of the Church, More attempted to resign his chancellorship. His request was not granted. However, More’s continued opposition to Henry’s actions—especially his defiance of papal supremacy in regard to his marriage/divorce—led to quick loss of royal favor. In 1532 he was allowed to resign as Lord Chancellor and went into retirement, dedicating his time and energy to writing and spiritual exercise. In 1534 the Act of Succession was passed, requiring those called upon to acknowledge any child of Henry and Ann to be the legitimate heir to the throne of England. Added to this Act was a clause which rejected “any foreign authority, prince or potentate.” When More was called to Lambeth in order to take the oath, he refused and was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London. During the first part of his encarceration More gave himself up to prayer, study, and writing (many letters and an (unfinished) treatise on the Passion of Christ). Later, he was deprived of all books and writing materials, though he managed to write a few letters to his wife and daughter using scraps of paper and a piece of coal. In July of 1535 More was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. He was beheaded on 6 July on Tower Hill, his head first being parboiled and then exposed on London Bridge. His last words were: “The king’s good servant, but God’s first.”

Thus St. Thomas More. My lovely husband is also quite saintly, though I pray that he will not be called to be beheaded. I am sure that, if he were, he would demonstrate the grace and bravery of his patron. My Thomas More might not be Lord High Chancellor of England, but he does exhibit some similar qualities to that illustrious Englishman. For example, this statement, made in 1519 by the Great Erasmus, could describe either man:

To begin then with what is least known to you, in stature he is not tall, though not remarkably short. His limbs are formed with such perfect symmetry as to leave nothing to be desired. His complexion is white, his face rather pale though by no means ruddy […] The eyes are grayish blue [or grayish green…] a kind which betokens singular talent […] It is said that none are so free of vice. His countenance is in harmony with his character, begin always expressive of an amiable joyousness, and even and incipient laughter and, to speak candidly, it is better framed for gladness than for gravity or dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery [excepting the above photograph]. He seems born and framed for friendship, and is a most faithful and enduring friend […] When he finds any sincere and according to his heart, he so delights in their society and conversation as to place in it the principle charm of life […] in a word, if you want a perfect model of friendship, you will find it in no one better than in More.


Beyond these saintly characteristics, "Thomas More" has many important features that make him ideally suited to be my husband. Namely, a passion for good food, good coffee, good music, and traveling. He is also dedicated to serving Christ and Christ’s Church (hurrah!). He is also very, very patient. Which is good, because he is married to me. 

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