Feast of Sts. More and Fisher

June 22, 2007

It was on this day in 1535 that John Cardinal Fisher was taken from his cell in the Tower of London, walked up to Tower Hill, and beheaded. He was followed several weeks later, on July 6, by Sir Thomas More. Their crime was treason; they refused to acknowledge the English monarch as the supreme religious authority in England. Thus it was that “The King’s Great Matter” brought down a great churchman and a great statesman, and served thereafter as an enduring example of political and religious hubris. While imprisoned in the Tower, More had in his possession a Book of Hours which has, miraculously, survived to the present day. In it he inscribed, at the head and foot of a long series of pages, a prayer. Here it is:

Gyve me thy grace good lord
To sett the world at nought

To sett my mynd faste vppon the
and not to hange vppon the blaste of mennys mowthis.

To be content to be solitary
Not to long for worldely company

Lytle & litle vtterly to caste of the world
And ridde my mynd of all the bysynes therof

Not to long to here of eny worldely thyngis
But that the heryng of worldely fantesyes may be to me displesaunt

Gladly to be thinkyng of God
Pituously to call for his helpe

To lene vn to the cumfort of God
Bysyly to labor to love hym

To know myn awn vilite & wrechednesse
To humble & meken my selfe vnder the myghty hand of God

To bewayle my synnys passed
ffor the purgyng of them patiently to suffre adversite

gladly to bere my purgatory here
to be joyfull of tribulations

To walke the narrow way that ledeth to life
To bere the crosse with Christ

To have the laste thing in remembraunce
To have ever a fore myne yie my deth that ys ever at hand

To make deth no straunger to me
To foresee & considre theverlastyng fyre of hell

To pray for perdon byfore the Iudge come
To have continually in myund the passion that Christe suffred for me

ffor hus benefitys vncessauntly to geve hym thankys
To by the tyme agayn that I byfore have loste

To abstayn from vayne confabulations
To estew light folysh myrth & gladnesse

Recreationys not necessary / to cutt off
of worldly substauns frendys libertie life and all
To sett the losse at right nowght for the wynnyng of Christ

To thynke my moost enemyes my best frendys
ffor the brethern of Ioseph could never have done
hym so mych good with theire love & favor as
they did hym with theire malice and hatered

These myndys are more to be desired of
every man than all the tresore of
all the princis & kyngis christen & hethen
were it gathered & layed to gether
all vppon one hepe

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One Response to “Feast of Sts. More and Fisher”


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