Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quick Review: The Sadness of Christ by St. Thomas More

The Sadness of Christ (Yale University Press Translation)The Sadness of Christ by Thomas More

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of writings from St. Thomas More during his imprisonment in the Tower of London before he was executed. The main text is "The Sadness of Christ," a spiritual reflection on the gospel accounts of Jesus and his apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He died. Also included are a collection of scriptural quotes and reflections, Imploring Divine Help Against Temptation, How to Treat Those Who Wrong Us, On Saving One's Life, A Meditation on Detachment, and A Prayer Before Dying.

I read this book as spiritual reading for the end of Lent, that is, during Holy Week. I found it very inspirational and instructive. More has very down to earth advice on prayer and is quite emphatic on prayer's importance in resisting temptation and fulfilling God's Will. The need for focus is brought out in the contrast between the sleepy apostles who want to do good but don't follow through and Judas who wants to do an evil and is quite focused and ready. More points out that this is a constant problem in the history of the church. The good clergy (bishops and priests) don't act with fervor and determination while those who want to bring the Church down are focused and energized. Luckily, with Jesus's example, the good people can overcome the lethargy to which they are tempted by using prayer and accepting of God's will. More brings this out quite well by noting how Jesus turns from His fearful prayer for this cup to pass to His astounding the crowd of armed men so much with His courage that they fall back away from Him.

There are lots of great spiritual nuggets in here. I will be reading this again next year for Holy Week!

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