St. Thomas More and Discernment

St. Thomas More is a model of prudent discernment. In his early life, he seriously considered the priesthood. After he became a lawyer, he discerned becoming a Carthusian, living near the London Charterhouse to join the monks in their spiritual exercises. But More discerned not to become a religious. This was not out fear or neglect but prudence – at least according to fellow Christian humanist and dear friend, Erasmus.  He said More “proved himself far more prudent than most candidates who thrust themselves rashly into that arduous profession (religious life) without any previous trial of their powers.” More went on to be a chaste husband and a good father, but he never lost his admiration for the religious life. Most of us mistake cowardice for prudence. But based on the observations of friends and later discoveries, this did not apply to More. He died a martyr’s death which was not the result of spontaneity but the fruit of faithful servitude to Christ. On this feast of St. Thomas More, may we have the prudence to discern God’s call and the strength to follow Him.

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