Thomas and Meg More: Father/Daughter Love from Archbishop Chaput (The Love Project, Day 17)

thomas moreIn a recent address to young adults, Archbishop Chaput recounted the story of British martyr (and patron of adopted children) St. Thomas More, whose daughter Meg was largely responsible for keeping her father’s story alive after his martyrdom. Observed Archbishop Chaput:

More was a real saint, and so — like us — he was made of human clay. In his prison cell, More often struggled with fear and doubt. The person who sustained him in his distress, more than anyone else, was his daughter Meg. As with all his children, More had played a personal role in Meg’s education. They were very close, a natural complement of minds. In their last meeting before his execution, More embraced her and said, “You alone have long known the secrets of my heart.” As a father and tutor, More had raised Meg to be an articulate, confident, supremely gifted Christian woman; a published female author at a time when that distinction was extremely rare. In one sense, her life was More’s greatest achievement.

Meg’s story reminded me a bit of the wife of Oswald Chambers, early 19th century Scottish Presbyterian chaplain whose untimely death due to a ruptured appendix while serving the British military in Egypt. If it were not for “Biddy’s” tireless efforts at recording his sermons in shorthand, the classic My Utmost for His Highest might never have been written. In the lives of both these women, we see the hand of God at work in unlikely yet highly effective ways.

One daughter, one wife — two women responsible for extending the “reach” of the men they loved far beyond their earthly lives. An uncommon kind of love expressed by Oswald himself: “If you are going to be used by God, he will take you through a myriad of experiences that are not meant for you at all. They are meant to make you useful in his hands.”

Recently I’ve had opportunities to talk with more than one woman in her twenties or thirties who wonder why they have not yet met “Mr. Right,” why God is waiting so long to bring them their life’s partner. In reality, marriage is not a destination, but a mode of travel. The question is: where is God leading you — and for what purpose? Could there be a Thomas More or Oswald Chambers whose work you are meant to extend . . . or might God have something uniquely your own to accomplish, first?

Today’s Love in Action: When was the last time you told your father you love him — and admire him? Even if he has failed you in some respects, try to find something for which you are genuinely thankful . . . and write or tell him about it this week. If he is no longer living, light a candle for him, and thank God instead.