|In the Cell of St. Thomas More
by Robert Moynahan
LETTERS FROM THE VATICAN
This morning we go to the cell of St. Thomas More, where he was held for about 15 months in the Tower of London from 1534 to 1535.
We have been traveling from Oxford to London in the footsteps of St. Thomas More, and of Blessed John Henry Newman, in order to arrive at this moment, when, in two hours, we will celebrate Mass in the cell where More was held before his execution by beheading on July 6, 1535.
Our intent is to pray for the intentions of all those who are prisoners, especially those who are falsely accused, and for all those who are victims of conscience, in political life and in the medical world, for all writers, communicators, and bearers of Good News, for the intentions of Pope Francis and of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and for the intentions of all who long for God’s peace and justice in this world, who hunger and thirst for it, and for those who long for the unity of the Church, and for those who work that the hungry and thirsty may receive nourishment and drink.
To offer prayers in this place, in the Tower of London, in the center of the City, in England, Mary’s Dowry, on this 22nd of June, in the Year of Our Lord 2017.
A pilgrim from Florida, Carol Marquardt, handed me a little hand-written note as we set out a few days ago. She said she felt she had heard these words in prayer. It reads: “Walking the way of the cross is never easy — cling to me. I carried your burden along the way in my walk — as your savior. Listening to others can sometimes confuse you, but never will I abandon you or leave you in such confusion unless God has allowed it for a time for his own higher purpose. Even then I walk and have walked beside you. Stress — reaching for answers or resolutions — will not suffice, only receptivity to my words and my timing as the Father allows. Journal entry, June 18th, Carol.”
In Littlemore, near Oxford, where Newman (1801-1890) made his confession to Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849), in 1845, on October 8 and 9, and was received into the Catholic Church on October 9, we prayed for the renewal of the faith in England, for a new springtime of faith in these lands. Sister Caroline, a custodian in the place, gave us prayer cards with a prayer of Newman. I have it with me now. It reads:
Prayer of Newman
Some Definite Purpose
by Cardinal John Henry Newman
God has created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me which He has
not committed to another.
I have my mission —
I may never know it in this life but I shall be told it
in the next.
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught.
I shall do good — I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace,
a preacher of truth in my own place while not
intending it — if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never
be thrown away
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain.
He knows what he is about.
He may take away my friends.
He may throw me among strangers.
He may make me feel desolate,
make my spirits sink,
hide my future from me –
still He knows what He is about.
In the cell of St. Thomas More, and in memory of that good servant of the King, but of God first, we will pray for all these things.