Thursday, December 29, 2011

St Thomas

To be clothed in Christ, to bear his suffering and passion, to show Christ and him alone to the world this is what a bishop or priest is about, this is why I rather delight in offering the Most Holy Sacrifice in this vestment, clothed in the scarlet of the blood of Christ.
I am glad the New Missal restores this day to a Feast, we need to be reminded of the need for Martyrdom, St Thomas is the Patron of English secular clergy.

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.
Apparently, formerly the breviary said:
"Calumniators informed the king that the bishop was agitating against him and the peace of the realm; and the king retorted that with one such priest he could not live in peace.

Hearing the royal displeasure, several godless courtiers agreed to do their sovereign a favor by assassinating Thomas. Secretly they traveled to Canterbury and fell upon the bishop while he was attending Vespers. His priests rushed to his aid and tried to bar the church door; Thomas opened it himself with these words: The house of God may not be defended like a fortress. I gladly face death for the Church of God. Then to the soldiers: I command it in the Name of God: No harm may be done to any of mine. Thereupon he cast himself on his knees, commended his flock and himself to God, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to St. Denis and other holy patrons of his church, and with the same heroic courage with which he had withstood the king's laws, he bowed his holy head to the sacrilegious sword on December 29, 1170."
Here is BBC documentary on Becket's Martyrdom courtesy of Gloria TV


Lynden said...

I have to admit that I am a lapsed catholic and only go to mass for Christmas and Easter. This Christmas I accompanined relatives to a parish in Peterborough for midnight mass - polyester vestments, girl altar servers, no organ just a loud overbearing middle aged man on a guitar with a few shreaking women to accompany him. The new translation was completely lost amid this 70's throw back. Despite Pope Benedict's efforts it seems that there is still much work needed on improving the liturgy. The only redeeming feature was that the priest, whose first language was not English, gave a good homily which held my attention.


Fr Ray,
Maybe its my computer, but I can't seem yo pick up the Video STB only- puppets!


The Bones said...

In the latest remake of the film, Becket says, when asked what he will do should the King attack the Church, "Who knows what's down the road?"

John Scott said...

Father Ray - no time to watch the BBC documentary at the moment, but I definitely shall ASAP - thank you. Have any relics of the body of St. Thomas survived to the present day?

Gigi said...

I have to admit that even with a Catholic education, I only really took an interest in St Thomas Becket when I "fell" for Chaucer around the age of 15. I'd been to Canterbury Cathedral several times before, but it was only when I was studying the Canterbury Tales that I went back and fully appreciated the dreadful brutality of St Thomas' death in such a tranquil and sacred place. His murder must have had an immediate and shocking impact on the community of Canterbury, whether or not they were church-goers.
His story perfectly illustrates the struggle between the secular and the spiritual, even within one man.
Thanks for re-posting the video from "Cathedral" Father Ray.

Nicolas Bellord said...

In Salamanca, Spain, there is a church which was dedicated to St Thomas (Tomas Cantuarensis) within four or five years of his martyrdom. I have also found another church dedicated to him in nearby Toro. Evidently very ancient but it was locked. Obviously his fame spread fast but I wonder if anyone knows more about these two particular churches.

Father Ian O'Shea said...

Father, John Scott asks if any relics of St Thomas survive. The knights who attacked the Saint hacked off the top of his head. That part of his skull can now be seen and venerated (together with many other relics of the English Martyrs)at Ladyewell House, Fernyhalgh Lane, Fulwood, Preston.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, there are relics, I obtained a fragment from the Office of Relics in Rome.
I think a Dauphine was give a part of the skull which ended up in Rome at the Revolution.

Father Ian O'Shea said...

Father,the relic which is now venerated at Ladyewell was brought from Rome a few years ago by Canon Benedict Ruscillo. It almost certainly is the one you refer to.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Fr Ray, the National Propers section of The Sacramentery used until recently in Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland, gives 29 December as a Feast in England and has the complete texts of the Mass, with the references to the proper readings in the Lectionary (pp 31* and 32*).

Happy New Year!