DAILY SAINTS

 

Sts John Fischer and Thomas More

 

MEMORIAL OF STS JOHN FISCHER AND THOMAS MORE
June 22

 

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher were Renaissance men. Talented and energetic, they contributed to the humanist scholarship of early modern England. More wrote theological and philosophical treatises, while making a career as a lawyer and government official. Bishop John Fisher worked as an administrator at Cambridge, confronted the challenge Martin Luther presented to Christian Europe, and most importantly served as Bishop of Rochester. As a bishop, he is notable for his dedication to preaching at a time when bishops tended to focus on politics.

These men were brilliant. They both corresponded with Erasmus, who helped Bishop Fisher learn Greek and Hebrew, and who also famously referred to More as a man "omnium horarium", a man of all seasons. Above all their accomplishments, these men bore witness to a deep faith in Christ and his Church. More considered joining religious life and was assiduous in his devotional practices. As a married man, he committed himself wholly to his vocation as a father.

At the time, disciplinary practices with children tended to be severe, but More’s children testify to his warmth, patience, and generosity. St. John Fisher was a model shepherd and demonstrated remarkable humility. He remained in the small Diocese of Rochester his entire episcopal ministry, devoting himself to his local church rather than seeking promotion to a larger, more powerful diocese.

More and Fisher are well-known for opposing King Henry’s divorce. Ultimately, it was their refusal to sign an oath of supremacy that led them to be executed. King Henry VIII claimed to be the supreme head of the Church in England, asserting sovereign power over English Christians. Neither Fisher nor More could abide this claim, and their steadfastness to their consciences put them in conflict with the king. They were convicted of treason.

When More made his way to the gallows, he is said to have stated, “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Both More and Fisher were patriots. They never rose up to incite rebellion or foment revolution. They were no traitors. But when the law of the king came into conflict with the law of Christ, they chose Christ. These men gave their lives for the freedom of the Church and for freedom of conscience. They bear witness to the truth that no government can make a claim on a person’s soul.

Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, pray that we too will be good servants to our country, but God's first!

 

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St Aloysius Gonzaga

 

MEMORIAL OF ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA

June 21

 

St. Aloysius Gonzaga left his powerful family to become a Jesuit priest and died as a young man caring for plague victims.

Aloysius Gonzaga was the firstborn in a powerful Italian noble family, one that was deeply involved in the ongoing business of dealing and double-dealing, treachery and betrayal that marked the political life of the time. Aloysius was thrust into adult responsibilities at the age of four when he began his training as a soldier and courtier. At the age of eight he served in the court of Grand Duke Francesco I de’Medici.

Aloysius Gonzaga began to suffer from kidney disease, and in the process of recovery spent time in spiritual reading and prayer. At the age of nine Gonzaga made a private vow of chastity.

The political intrigue and corruption surrounding Aloysius would take the lives of two of his brothers, but he had strong spiritual allies. Aloysius Gonzaga received his first Holy Communion from St. Charles Borromeo. Aloysius also began to teach catechism to young boys. Much to the displeasure and anger of his father, Aloysius announced his intention to become a Jesuit. His family tried to convince him to be a secular priest so that they could “buy” him a bishopric. Aloysius was adamant, and at the age of 18 he signed away his legal claim to his family lands and title.

In 1585 Aloysius was accepted as a Jesuit novice. In Rome his spiritual director was St. Robert Bellarmine, who counseled Gonzaga to spend less time in private devotions and more time befriending and counseling his companions. Never in good health, Aloysius successfully continued his studies. When the plague hit Rome in 1591 he actively cared for the sick. Aloysius developed the symptoms of the plague and died soon after on June 21, 1591.

Aloysius Gonzaga was canonized in 1726 and named Patron of All Students in 1729.

 St Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us!

 

 

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