Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Because Saints Tell Temporal Kings "No!" When They Err

Another day, another magnificent saint for us to model our behavior after. Yesterday, I pulled the "Dead Poet Society" number on you and introduced you to Emily Henrietta Hickey. For today, I'm heading back to the Communion of Saints and dialing up St. Thomas Becket for inspiration. Back-to-back martyrdom stories, though yesterday was the Innocents and today is someone who was definitely in the know.

Way back in the early Spring, deep in the heart of the Lenten season, I was showing you movies on Friday nights. If you need some entertainment tonight or for later this weekend, you could do worse than spend some time watching Becket starring Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton in this fully restored masterpiece.

Ever had a buddy who was an enabler, you know, aided and abetted your carousing, etc? If you were King of England, wouldn't it be cool to appoint your pal the Archbishop of Canterbury? Think of the wacky stunts you could pull if your confessor was also your best buddy! That's what King Henry II thought when he appointed his chum Becket as Archbishop. A stunning story of "be careful what you wish for" from both sides of the friendship spectrum.

Because when Becket was made the Archbishop, see, all of the sudden he became a servant of Christ and His Church. Becket's conversion was sudden and apparent. Have a look at the final scene where as Archbishop of Canterbury, he is slain. See King Henry II accept penance for this crime, and make a speech on behalf of his slain friend.

It would be magnificent if you could see his crypt today. Unfortunately, another King named Henry (the eighth) destroyed this shrine and our saints' relics when he too tangled with the Church and martyred another saint named Thomas (More)and severed the link between London and Rome. Now all you will see there is a lit candle and this small sign.

St. Thomas Becket, pray for us.