Friday, June 15, 2012

So many Mores

Robert Bolt was right when he inserted the character of The Common Man into his play A Man for All Seasons -- the steadfastness of a Thomas More is too seldom repeated among ordinary people, so men of his caliber are left to face the music alone, or in the company of just a few brave men like themselves (e.g., St. John Fisher). Plenty of ordinary people are not just dodging personal danger by passively going along, they're often even helping to play the music. In the drama, The Common Man plays many small roles that point this up: More's slightly dishonest steward, a boatman who refuses to row More home, a juryman who delivers the "guilty" verdict when told to,  the headsman who kills him.

And yet... and yet... I've been leafing through The Encyclopedia of Saints, published by OSV. It's astounding, really, the steady parade of martyrs that appear there among the canonized and the beatified; just as astounding as the sheer number of them is that most of them were not famous, or greatly talented, or noted scholars. They were very ordinary men and women and children in one way; but in the way that counts, they chose to be very unCommon indeed.

Here's one at random:

John Kinsako, Blessed (d. 1626) Japanese martyr who was a silk weaver and a Franciscan tertiary. He was baptized just before being crucified at Nagasaki with companions. Feast day: February 6.