I worked last night and, for various reasons, had to be up all day, too. So, I’m exhausted! I want to offer this reflection from St. Thomas More, which is appropriate for Ash Wednesday, and all of Lent. It comes from the book, St. Thomas More, The Tower Works: Devotional Writings, edited by Garry E. Haupt, Yale University Press, 1980. As the title of the book suggests, St. Thomas More wrote this when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, awaiting his trial and execution.
Give me Thy grace, good Lord, To set the world at nought;
To set my mind fast upon Thee, And not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths;
To be content to be solitary; Not to long for worldly company;
Little and little utterly to cast off the world, And rid my mind of all the business thereof;
Not to long to hear of any worldly things, But that the hearing of worldly fantasies may be to me displeasant;
Gladly to be thinking of God, Pitiuously to call for for His help;
To lean unto the comfort of God, Busily to labor to love Him;
To know mine own vility and wretchedness, To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God;
To bewail my sins passed; For the purging of them patiently to suffer adversity;
Gladly to bear my purgatory here; To be joyful of tribulations;
To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life, To bear the cross with Christ;
To have the last thing in remembrance, To have ever afore moine eye my death that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me, To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
To pray for pardon before the judge come, To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
For His benefits uncessantly to give Him thanks, To buy the time again that I before have lost;
To abstain from vain confabulations, To eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary – to cut off; Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at right nought for the winning of Christ;
To think my most enemies my best friends; For the brethren of Joseph could never have done for him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.
These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasure of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all upon one heap.
St. Thomas More, pray for us!
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.