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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Perfection and Martyrdom

St. Thomas More recognized that the severe life of the Carthusian priors had prepared them for the moment of martyrdom. They were so in love with Christ and His Church that they seemed like bridegrooms going to their marriages.

Thomas More needed time to come to the state of Illumination where he was sharing the Passion and Death of Christ. At his death, he was most likely in the Unitive State.

This is the key to peace, joy and forgiveness at the moment of martyrdom.

His honesty with Meg reveals the need to become more perfect before death.

Margaret visited him on May 4 for the last time, and from the window of his cell they watched three Carthusian priors and one Bridgittine, who would not acknowledge a civil supremacy over the Church, go to their execution. "Lo, dost thou not see, Meg," he said, "that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage? . . .
Whereas thy silly father, Meg, that like a most wicked caitiff hath passed the whole course of his miserable life most sinfully, God, thinking him not worthy so soon to come to that eternal felicity, leaving him here yet still in the world, further to be plagued and turmoiled with misery." A few days later Cromwell with other officials questioned him again and taunted him for his silence. "I have not," he said gently, "been a man of such holy living as I might be bold to offer myself to death, lest God for my presumption might suffer me to fall."

Humility is honesty. Here is a photo of the celebration of these Charterhouse Martyrs at the site of the old monastery. I have been there. It is numinous. This was an ecumenical service. 

I write these posts mostly for the Millennials, who will face the real tests I may escape simply because of age.