Being now a mom of not only littles, but also teenagers, I’ve been thinking on some things. Listening to the struggles of peer pressure that surround them, and trying to gently guide them to stand up for their values and encourage virtue, so that one day they can stand on their own, secure in their faith and in the persons God has created them to be… I am so grateful to have some good solid saints to look toward for guidance.
In the last few days, the Church celebrated two big saints from different centuries… St. Thomas More on June 22, and St. John the Baptist on June 24th. A day apart… both beheaded… both died defending the dignity and definition of the sacrament of marriage. I love them both.
I love them because they did not cower.
They did not step down from their beliefs.
They spoke the truth.
And were beheaded for it.
It is very interesting to me to that they were both sought out… each by their own king at the time… that those who killed them actually thought highly of them. They respected them. They were intrigued by this faith, this deep faith that was rooted in each of them. These kings went to these saints, knowing how close they were to God, and sought their blessing to do something that was wrong. They knew what they were asking to do was sinful – but in a way, did they seek out these saints to get their blessings? Or did they know that they would actually tell it like it is, tell them the truth, reprove them, and guide them to right judgement?
And these saints…. good, strong men, solid in their faith … but even this, were they tempted at all to succumb to the pressure, these men of power, men of influence, men who had the power to destroy not only their reputations, but their very lives? If they just compromised their values, just this once … then they would live, and life could, on the surface, continue on as it had always been. It may have been possible that they would have been promoted to a greater place of honor by their respected kings. The “you do me a favor, I’ll do you a favor” mentality. St. Thomas and St. John were both thrown in jail – they were given time to think it over and reconsider their answers. They could have wavered. St. Thomas had a family to take care of; St. John had a crowd of followers who waited on his words. To give all… was this fight for marriage worth dying for? Worth losing time on earth to do more good? Worth losing everything dear to them?
Yes it was. Choosing Christ who is Truth and Goodness and Love is always worth fighting for. He is worth dying for. Whether it is our reputations, our jobs, or our very lives – He is worth it.
I leave you with the words of St. Thomas More. Before his death, in prison, he wrote to his daughter, Meg, in essence a goodbye letter. It is very touching. He closes it with these wise words. I pray they bring you some hope and encouragement along the way.
I love the comparisons that you drew between these two martyrs. And the quote from that beautiful letter of Thomas More’s at the end is indeed a lifeline for us, too.