St. Thomas More is widely recognized as the good-humored Renaissance humanist scholar who wrote Utopia and two decades later died a martyr's death in defense of papal primacy. Yet More's sacrifice of his life was but the culminating act of a lifelong dedication to his faith. This work seeks to provide a new portrait of Thomas More by engaging upon a comprehensive exploration of More's books and letters, a veritable library of Catholic spirituality and Church doctrine.
All of More's spiritual works are examined in detail, revealing the inner life of a saint sustained by an undying love for the Eucharist and molded by an ever-deepening reflection upon the Passion of Christ, climaxing in one of the most profound meditations upon the Agony in the Garden ever written. The correspondence of More during his imprisonment receives particular attention, an eloquent testament to the depth of More's love for his family and friends.
In addition to Thomas More's writing, the testimony of early biographies of the saint together with the recent finding of Tudor and Reformation era scholars are utilized to reconstruct the events of More's life and execution. Subjects explored include More's devotion to his family, the roots of his spirituality and intellectual formation, his participation in the Renaissance movement of Christian humanist scholarship, and the state of the pre-Reformation Church.
The King's Good Servant but God's First is a meticulously documented work with over 1,400 footnotes that makes considerable use of recent research regarding the life, writings and times of Saint Thomas More. Hence this book was also written to provide Morean and Reformation scholars with a new synthesis based upon these materials.
"This book is an eye-opener. Monti, a very skilled research writer, provides a unique, very readable book on St. Thomas More that gives new insights on this most powerful figure in the Catholic resistance in England."
—Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R.
"A thoroughly excellent work. More has many poignant things to say to us in our day."
—Fr. George Rutler
James Monti is an author, writer and historian who has contributed numerous articles to Catholic publications. His other books include The Week of Salvation and In the Presence of Our Lord. The new work on St. Thomas More is the result of five years of research.