Saint Days: St. Thomas a Becket
St. Thomas a Becket (1119-1170) was the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162-1170. He was a faithful bishop who ended up in conflict with King Henry II of England over the relationship between Church and State.
It is said that Henry was frustrated with Becket and whispered under his breath threatening words. Some of his knights interpreted him as saying, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Taking this as a command, four knights went to Canterbury. They marched into the church and murdered him in the cathedral as Vespers was beginning. One account claims Becket's last words were, "For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death."
Let us think upon the example of St. Thomas a Becket and ask the Lord to give us the same sort of strength that he exhibited in the midst of persecution:
Almighty God, who gave to your servant Thomas a Becket boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.