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December 29; the Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave, Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr

Opening Prayer from the Liturgy:  “Almighty God, you granted the martyr Thomas the grace to give his life for the cause of justice.  By his prayers make us willing to renounce for Christ our life in this world so that we may find it in heaven.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

In your Bible: Matthew 16:24-27; Jesus calls “Follow Me.”

Catechesis: (Mark 8:36).  Pope John Paul II, before his death, cautioned us that “the confusion between good and evil” is the “most dangerous crisis which can afflict man.”  It is in this ‘affliction’ that the martyrs find their vocation. “By their eloquent and attractive example, of a life completely transfigured by the splendor of the moral truth, the martyrs… light up every period of history by reawakening its moral sense” (Veritatis Splendor 92). The man we celebrate today played a role, 835 years ago, in reawakening a sense of justice in his own world.  Thomas’s is an interesting story.  After becoming the chancellor to Henry II, he was chosen by the king to be Archbishop of Canterbury. As the story goes, Thomas went from being "a patron of play-actors and a follower of hounds" to his exalted vocation as a "shepherd of souls."  As Henry II continually restricted the liberty of the Church, the conflict between St. Thomas Becket and the king grew.  Eventually, the Archbishop of Canterbury was assassinated in his own cathedral by the “order” of the king who said, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”. As the assassins approached St. Thomas in his Cathedral he declared, “I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and Peace.” After his murder, Thomas became instantly famous.

Activity: Today would be a good day to bring reconciliation to those with whom we are separated for the sake of unity and peace.  Thomas longed for liberty and peace to reign in the Church.  We must take care not to be the cause of separation and division.  This undoubtedly may be difficult to do, but we can at least pray for those with whom we have become estranged. The effort we put forth in our attempts to be reconciled is far less burdensome than carrying the anger and hurt and pain of  past conflicts.  Today, make an attempt at reconciliation.


16 posted on 12/28/2010 9:25:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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