I recently read a biography of St Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd. Here is a man whose life I could not write much about, but much could be learned and followed from his life.
St Thomas More is more famous for his martyrdom, it seems, than for what he did in his life. He studied Logic at Oxford for two years before training to become a lawyer, and eventually became Chancellor under Henry VIII. From what I know about law practices, it doesn't seem to facilitate one's path to sainthood. It is easy to lose one's head (figuratively and physically!) when one is in More's position of power, yet More found the key to sanctity in spite of his challenging environment. Like most saints, he had a deep-seated humility and faith firmly grounded in regular prayers and daily Masses.
What struck me most was his attitude towards his calling: that 'lay people should give themselves wholeheartedly to their work and make as great a success of it as possible.' And yet, this should not be done out of desire for riches and fame, but from a 'sense of duty to family and society'.
"Duty" has always been a strong incentive for most of my actions, and sometimes it seems at odds with what a lot of my friends are advocating. These days the emphasis seems to be 'follow your passion', 'realize your dreams', and anyone who does not, is soo.. old-economy, or unenlightened. What if our joy is to be found only in carrying out a vocation that God has specifically equipped each one of us to carry out? That is duty; duty to do what is right given our circumstances and capabilities.
give us a mind
that is humble, quiet, peaceable,
patient and charitable,
and a taste of your Holy Spirit
in all our thoughts, words, and deeds.
give us a lively faith, a firm hope,
a fervent charity, a love of you.
Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation
and all dullness in prayer.
Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you,
your grace, and your tender compassion toward us.
the grace to work for
the things we pray for. —St. Thomas More (or attributed to him)
More on joyful duty later... Communicasia is finally ending! *Relief*