Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Give me the stomach, Dear Lord

Today is the feast of St. John Fisher, a faithful Catholic priest during the reign of King Henry VIII. St. John Fisher refused to acknowledge the marriage of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn after the king divorced his first wife, Catherine, and was ultimately imprisoned and martyred for his opposition.

Of his last words, I find these most interesting:

"Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death.

Wherefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death's stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel."

I often think of being martyred. (Am I odd?) I often pray I would have the courage to defend my Lord if there ever came a time in which I would need to in the face of death. I do believe I would have the strength needed to not deny my Lord, but St. John Fisher had more courage than even one who refuses to deny his Lord. He refused to allow his king to believe what was wrong. He refused to lie down while the king led his people astray.

Today's Gospel says, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them...A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them." 

I pray at the moment of my judgment I will be known as good by the fruit I bear. In these times it seems to take incredible courage -- the courage of a martyr -- to fight the good fight, to let no wolf in sheep's clothing be unknown. Give me the stomach, Dear Lord, to not fear, even death.

Prayer by St. John Fisher
Good Lord, set in thy Church
strong and mightly pillars
that may suffer and endure great labours,
which also shall not fear persecution,
neither death,
but always suffer with a good will,
slanders, shame and all kinds of torments,
for the glory and praise of thy holy Name.

By this manner, good Lord,
the truth of thy Gospel
shall be preached throughout the world.

Therefor, merciful Lord,
exercise thy mercy,
show it indeed upon thy Church.




  1. An apt. Saint for the tasks ahead today. Thank you for sharing the prayer. Your posts always come where needed!

  2. I like that prayer.
    You know, we all have to face death regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. May we all stand upright and strong in the Faith, and in all our moments, may we remain Faithful. I pray I am able to face my death with His Grace and Our Lady beside me.

  3. I always thought it was sort of unfair that these two great martyrs get "lumped" together. In my view, they deserve their owns days. But that could be because I am very devoted to Thomas More...and therefore focus more on *him* than on the saintly bishop. Even though both men died for their faith, they were quite different men--each heroic in his own way.

  4. I'm glad you find it that way, FSM.

    When you put it that way, Sarah, I would rather have the challenge of the martyr's death than a regular ol' death any day. Right?

    You are right about that, Emily. You can celebrate some More tomorrow (get it? some More?) I give you permission! ;-)

  5. How very difficult to stand against the secular culture when it is brought home to us by family, friends, neighbors etc. So much of what I see around me in my small corner of the world is wrong but I feel powerless to continually oppose. It is very easy when you homeschool little children to maintain a Catholic environment. You can congratulate yourself ,as i did, how you have maintained a truly Catholic atmosphere but wait until the children are older and the world comes knocking on your door...very very difficult. I have been humbled by my lack of courage and my compromising at times now that our family is not so sheltered and the children are young adults and older teens.

  6. Anon,
    I know just what you mean. My oldest child is away at a secular college and my second will go in the fall. I pray daily for their strength to fight the world, to find their way with God. It is the hardest thing I have ever done as a parent.


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!