Monday, 29 December 2014

Saint Thomas Of Canterbury. Bishop And Martyr.


Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saint Thomas of Canterbury.
Bishop and Martyr.
Feast Day 29 December.

Double.

Red Vestments.



This miniature, from an English Psalter, presents an account of the murder of Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Three of the four Knights attack the Archbishop, who is kneeling in Prayer before the Altar. One of the Knights kicks Saint Thomas to the floor, and sends his Mitre flying.
Artist: Anonymous.
Date: Circa 1250.
Current location: Walters Art Museum,
Baltimore, Maryland,
United States of America.
Credit line: Acquired by Henry Walters.
Source/Photographer: Walters Art Museum.
(Wikimedia Commons)


If 29 December falls on a Sunday, the Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of The Nativity is said, with a Commemoration of Saint Thomas.

The Season of Christmas, by manifesting to us the Divine Filiation of The Child in The Crib, as the Epistle of the Day reminds us, shows that He is a Priest. His Priesthood consists in making the Life of God penetrate our Souls and in defending, even at the cost of His Life, the Divine Rights of this Beloved Spouse.

The Feast of Saint Thomas Becket shows us that in participating in the Dignity of The Christ Priest, as Archbishop of Canterbury, he knew how to prove himself, like Christ, the Shepherd who defends his flock against the ravages of the wolf (Gospel).




A Seal of the Abbot of Arbroath, Scotland, showing the murder of Saint Thomas Becket.
Arbroath Abbey was founded eight years after the death of Saint Thomas and Dedicated to him. Arbroath Abbey became the wealthiest Abbey in Scotland.
Date: Mediaeval Seal. Photo from the 1850s.
Source: Cosmo Innes and Patrick Chalmers (eds.), Liber S. Thome De Aberbrothoc; Registrorum Abbacie De Aberbrothoc, Volume 2, Edinburgi (Bannatyne Club) 1848-1856, front.
(Wikimedia Commons)



Henry II, King of England, wished him to sanction customs contrary to the liberties of The Church. Saint Thomas knew that to make this Divine Society subservient to the secular power would be to violate her very constitution, and so he declared that "as a Priest of Jesus Christ, he would willingly suffer death in defence of The Church of God".

He was slain in his Cathedral by the King's soldiers on 29 December 1170.

Against those who seek to enslave the Church, let us neither employ the craft of politics nor the weapons of warfare, but, after the example "of the glorious Thomas, who fell by the swords of the wicked in the defence of The Church" (Collect), let us know how to withstand them resolutely with all the moral strength that the defence of the Rights of God inspires.

Mass: Gaudeámus omnes in Dómino.

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