December 29, 2008

Meddlesome Priest!

The 12 days of Christmas are rich with feasts and celebrations, starting with Stephen the protomartyr, then John the Evangelist, the Holy Innocents (weep for your children, O Jerusalem!), and today is the Feast of Thomas Becket, the great english martyr, and one of my very favorite saints!

In looking for some information about Becket, I discovered an eye witness account of his martyrdom. Written by a monk who was present at his death, it is a beautiful account of the heroic witness that Becket gave. His dying words are prayers for all those preparing for death.
Then you shall die,' they cried, 'and receive what you deserve.'

'I am ready,' he replied, 'to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace. But in the name of Almighty God, I forbid you to hurt my people whether clerk or lay.'
Read the full account here.

(While I'm at it, may I recommend watching the great film Becket, with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton. Magnificent. Also, the painting above is by dear Michael O'Brien. All his work is great, but this is one of my favorites!)

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