A martyred Archbishop

December 29th St Thomas a Becket

Today we remember the assassination of Thomas a Becket who, when Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Henry II was murdered by soldiers apparently on the orders of the king in 1170. He was assassinated in his own Cathedral and the act of sacrilege produced horror both in England and the Continent.

Limoges casket in the Victoria and Albert Museum depicting the martyrdom of Thomas a Becket

A verse to think about

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.”  Matthew 10.28

As we pray today we keep a few minutes silence and consider the difficulties that exist when faith and conscience are at odds with the authorities

Our Father…

O God, who gave the Martyr Saint Thomas Becket the courage to give up his life for the sake of justice, grant, through his intercession, that, renouncing our life for the sake of Christ in this world, we may find it in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“A martyrdom is always the design of God, for His love of men, to warn them and to lead them, to bring them back to His ways. It is never the design of man; for the true martyr is he who has become the instrument of God, who has lost his will in the will of God, and who no longer desires anything for himself, not even the glory of being a martyr.”
― T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

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