One of the many saints we learn about when learning of Franciscan saints would be Saint Thomas More. I can usually stump my brother friars about Saint Thomas More being a Franciscan.

“Au-no, he wasn’t,” they’d reply: “He was a lawyer, an Englishman, even the Chancellor of King Henry VIII’s England…Thomas More was no Franciscan.” “Really?”

The Secular Franciscan Order [SFO-was designed by Saint Francis of Assisi for those married or single who couldn’t join a monastery due to daily responsibilities]. They were required to live simply and be faithful Catholics.

This is what got Thomas More into trouble. Being a faithful Catholic meant going against the King regarding the “Supremacy Act” which stated that Henry VIII was head of the Church not the Pope after the Pope wouldn’t give Henry a divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon in 1533.

So, Thomas was expected to go with the King. He didn’t. Henry had him killed. He was a martyr for the Catholic Church.

His prayer composed in the tower of London is as appropriate for Palm Sunday as Saint Thomas More, OSF:

“Give me your grace good Lord, to walk the narrow way that leads to life, to bear the cross with Christ: to have the last thing in remembrance, to have ever before my eye my death that is ever at hand; to make death no stranger to me, to pray for pardon before the Judge come, to have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me; for his benefits unceasingly to give him thanks, and buy the time again that I have lost. Amen.”  

A good prayer for all of us, wouldn’t you say?

Fr. Andrew, T.O.R.