Dec. 29, 2021
Today is the feast of Thomas Becket … or Thomas a Becket … or any of the other stylings of his name.
First though – my apologies that this is so late in the morning. I’m a notoriously bad sleeper. Well, I always sleep well but never for very long. Except on the very rare occasions like today. I actually slept for a full eight hours! Wonder of wonders and praise God from Whom all blessing flow!
I have to admit I’m uncertain how to address the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. His friendship with King Henry ll (this is in the 1100s-1170, I think) was a simple one at first. They were young men together, doing things that young men do, I suppose – or did in those times; hunting, drinking, chasing women. While the king enjoyed his power as king – women being free and easy in his presence – Becket was more bemused than passionate in this pursuit but protected the king as well.
The king advanced Becket’s station in life. As Becket was already Archdeacon in the Church (remember, England was still Roman Catholic in this time), to ensure the Pope not getting in the king’s way, King Henry made Becket Archbishop of Canterbury. “Be careful what you wish for; you may just get it”.
As Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket found God. He found in God the King whose honor he could respect and defend. Becket became holy.
Trouble ensued between the Crown and the Pope. Politics of the time came into play. When Henry expected Thomas’s support, Thomas supported the Pope. The king was outraged and uttered words of this nature (there’s some scholarship that states it’s unknown the exact words Henry used), “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Four nobles close to the king went to Canterbury Cathedral and murdered Thomas in the sanctuary as Thomas was at Vespers.
I have to remind myself of the forgiveness of God. He’s been gracious and kind and loving to me and has forgiven me my sins, based on His love for His Son, who died for me on that Cross. It would be cheap grace for me not to forgive Thomas his failings as God has forgiven mine.