June 22, 2016

25 Quotations from Saint Thomas More

St. Thomas More
A faint faith is better than a strong heresy.
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The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.
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An absolutely new idea is one of the rarest things known to man.

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If honor were profitable, everybody would be honorable. 

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I would have people in time of silence take good heed that their minds be occupied with good thoughts, for unoccupied they will never be.
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Every tribulation which ever comes our way either is sent to be medicinal, if we will take it as such, or may become medicinal, if we will make it such, or is better than medicinal, unless we forsake it.
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But no matter how high in the clouds this arrow of pride may fly, and no matter how exuberant one may feel while being carried up so high, let us remember that the lightest of these arrows still has a heavy iron head. High as it may fly, therefore, it inevitably has to come down and hit the ground. And sometimes it lands in a not very clean place.
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I never saw fool yet who thought himself other than wise… If a fool perceives himself a fool, that point is not folly, but a little spark of wit.
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As Boethius says: For one man to be proud that he has rule over other men is much like one mouse being proud to have rule over other mice in a barn.
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I will simply counsel every man and woman to beware of even the very least speck of [pride], which seems to me to be the mere delight and liking of ourselves for anything whatsoever that either is in us or outwardly belongs to us.
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In the things of the soul, knowledge without remembrance profits little.
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My case was such in this matter through the clearness of my own conscience that thought I might have pain I could not have harm, for a man may in such a case lose his head and not have harm.
[Letter to Margaret Roper while imprisoned in London Tower, June 3, 1535] 
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I never intend, God being my good Lord, to pin my soul to another man’s back, not even the best man that I know this day living: for I know not where he may hap to carry it.
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You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds... What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can. 
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I think that if any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.
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One of the greatest problems of our time is that many are schooled but few are educated.
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Pride thinks it's own happiness shines the brighter by comparing it with the misfortunes of others.
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Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the engagements of men's hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.
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It's wrong to deprive someone else of a pleasure so that you can enjoy one yourself, but to deprive yourself of a pleasure so that you can add to someone else's enjoyment is an act of humanity by which you always gain more than you lose.
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Nobody owns anything but everyone is rich - for what greater wealth can there be than cheerfulness, peace of mind, and freedom from anxiety?
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What is deferred is not avoided.

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In the first place, most princes apply themselves to the arts of war, in which I have neither ability nor interest, instead of to the good arts of peace. They are generally more set on acquiring new kingdoms by hook or by crook than on governing well those that they already have.
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Anticipated spears wound less.

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The folly of men has enhanced the value of gold and silver because of their scarcity; whereas, on the contrary, it is their opinion that Nature, as an indulgent parent, has freely given us all the best things in great abundance, such as water and earth, but has laid up and hid from us the things that are vain and useless.
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I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.

[Last words on the scaffold, July 6, 1535]

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