SS John Fisher & Thomas More, Martyrs: Missa “Multae tribulationes”
Among the Christian heroes who fought resolutely against heresy and laid down their lives rather than adhere to the schism in England, a place of honour is due to cardinal John Fisher and to the chancellor Thomas More.
John Fisher, born at Beverley in 1469, chancellor of the academy of Cambridge, later for 33 years bishop of Rochester, refuted in many books the protestant errors (Breviary.)
Thomas More, born in London in 1478, a layman, married and the father of a family, learned jurist and scholar, was made High Chancellor of England by Henry VIII.
Both were imprisoned in the Tower of London by order of the king because they were opposed to his illegitimate union with Anna Boleyn and because they refused him the usurpated title of supreme head of the Church of England in matters spiritual as well as temporal.
John Fisher, created cardinal by Pope Paul III, ascended the scaffold on the 22th of June 1535 and was beheaded after reading this sentence of the Gospel: “This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” (Alleluia)
Thomas More was beheaded in his turn on the 6th July 1535 for having resisted, after the example of the great doctor of the law Eleazar (Epistle), all solicitations on the part of his own family and which he deemed contrary to his conscience and to the rights of God, of Christ and the Church (Gospel).
INTROIT Ps. 34.19
Many are the afflictions of the just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them. The Lord keepeth all their bones: not one of them shall be broken. * I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be always in my mouth. Glory be…
O God, who didst raise up Thy blessed martyrs, John and Thomas, from among the English to be the defenders of the true faith and of the primacy of the holy Roman Church, grant that through their merits and prayers, we may all become and remain one by the profession of the same faith. Through…
LESSON 2 Maccabees 6:18–28
In those days, Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine’s flesh. But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, 20 as all ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life. Those who were in charge of that unlawful sacrifice took the man aside because of their long acquaintance with him, and privately urged him to bring meat of his own providing, proper for him to use, and to pretend that he was eating the flesh of the sacrificial meal that had been commanded by the king, so that by doing this he might be saved from death, and be treated kindly on account of his old friendship with them. But making a high resolve, worthy of his years and the dignity of his old age and the gray hairs that he had reached with distinction and his excellent life even from childhood, and moreover according to the holy God-given law, he declared himself quickly, telling them to send him to Hades. “Such pretense is not worthy of our time of life,” he said, “for many of the young might suppose that Eleazar in his ninetieth year had gone over to an alien religion, and through my pretense, for the sake of living a brief moment longer, they would be led astray because of me, while I defile and disgrace my old age. Even if for the present I would avoid the punishment of mortals, yet whether I live or die I will not escape the hands of the Almighty. Therefore, by bravely giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws.” When he had said this, he went at once to the torment.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 34. 5. 15
Come unto Him and be enlightened and your faces shall not be ashamed. v. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. Alleluia, alleluia. John 17:3 This is eternal life : That they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. Alleluia.
GOSPEL John 10: 23-30
At that time, Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
OFFERTORY Psalm 68:35
God is wonderful in His saints: even the God of Israel, He will give strength and power to His people: blessed be God!
We beseech Thee O Lord, mercifully regard our oblations: and through the intercession and prayers of Thy Martyrs grant us the gifts of Thy grace. Through…
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION John 10:27-28
My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
O Lord our God, Who hast refreshed us with this heavenly banquet, we beseech Thee; that at the intercession of Thy blessed Martyrs, John and Thomas, we may be made worthy to attain unto their fellowship. Through…