Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

12/29/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

‘There are a great many Bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecration.’

A late 15th century alabaster panel representing
the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket.


'As successors of the Apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as ChristÂ’s representatives on earth; we receive the honor belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labors. It must therefore be our endeavor to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.'

A late 15th century alabaster panel representing the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket. 'As successors of the Apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as ChristÂ’s representatives on earth; we receive the honor belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labors. It must therefore be our endeavor to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.'

Highlights

By Deacon Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/29/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – On December 29 we continue the celebration of the Octave (Eight days) of Christmas. The Church instructs us concerning the implications of the Nativity of the Lord in the selection of these feasts. In the Incarnation, which encompasses the entire saving life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, humanity was re-created in Christ the new Adam. He became like us in order to capacitate us to become like Him. That happens as we respond to the continual call of the Holy Spirit and receive the graces needed for our continuing conversion.

In our first reading for today’s Mass we find these words from the beloved disciple John: “Beloved: The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.” (1 John 2)

As members of the Risen Body of Christ, the Church, we are called to continue His redemptive mission; making Him present in every age until he returns to complete his work of redemption. We are called to “walk the talk”, even when such a bold and brave witness of life places us at risk of being persecuted. The Saints reveal the heroic virtue which is to be manifested in the vocation to which we are all called in our Baptism. We are to become Saints, no matter what our state in life.

On this Octave day of Christmas we consider the life and martyrs’ death of a Bishop named Thomas Becket. He faced a hostile government and refused to bend. He teaches us in our own day how vital it is to stay faithful to the Truth. For the Christian, the Truth is a Divine Person named Jesus Christ. We are called to bear His name and, in the words of the Apostle, “walk just as he walked.”

However, Thomas Becket is a special witness for our beloved Bishops. Today they face the growing hostility of a State which has no tolerance for their insistence on the fundamental human right to life from conception to natural death.Like Thomas, they must refuse to bend.

Thomas Becket was born in London in 1118 to wealthy and respected parents. He was well educated and socially connected from his birth. At the age of 24 he obtained a coveted position with Theobald, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He quickly excelled in his work and climbed the ranks of ecclesiastical appointments. He was ordained a deacon in 1154 and appointed an Archdeacon of Canterbury.

At a time when Church and State were connected in a manner seldom seen any longer, he caught the attention of King Henry II who sought his advice and counsel regularly. He was appointed the Chancellor of England by the King and is noted to have grown quite comfortable with the trappings of office, living a rather lavish life.

When Archbishop Theobald died, Thomas Becket was nominated by the King for consideration as Archbishop. He was elected Theobald’s successor in 1162. The grace of Episcopal office deeply affected Thomas, as it so often does. After all, Bishops, are successors of the Apostles.

Accounts reveal that Bishop Thomas radically changed his lifestyle, embracing the way of simplicity. He adopted ascetical practices and sought to grow closer to the Lord, increasing his prayer and devotion. He began to sleep on the floor, and simplified his once lavish diet. He gave away many of his possessions to the poor and began to prefer their company.

Thomas was drawn by the Holy Spirit and the grace of his office into a deeper conversion in Christ. He became an example to the faithful by “walking just as He walked” in the words of the beloved disciple John which we hear at Mass on his Feast. However, as is so often the case in the history of the relationship between the Church and the State, frictions began to emerge with the King. The Bishop’s loyalties were tested.

Within two years, the frictions boiled over. Bishop Thomas was hated by the King who had formerly been his benefactor and champion. Thomas opposed the King’s increasing infringements on the rights of the Church and the Clergy and the King grew angry and felt threatened.

As a result of his fidelity to placing the Lord first Thomas experienced a great spiritual renewal and earned the admiration of the faithful. However, this was accompanied by intense persecution from the King. He was forced into exile to France. Bishop Thomas returned six years later when it appeared that the King’s wrath had subsided. It was short-lived.

The Bishop continued to place the Lord and His Church first in his exercise of office. He refused to take sides with the King in his repeated efforts to assert the primacy of his crown - and undermine the authority, teaching, discipline and Canon law of the Church. An account tells us that an exasperated King shouted out in the company of some of his knights "will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest?"

Four knights took the exclamation to heart. They rode to the Cathedral of Canterbury to do just that; Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracey, Hugh de Morville and Richard le Breton. On December 29th 1170 they murdered/martyred the Bishop right within Canterbury Cathedral. Reports are that after they committed the evil act one of them shouted "Let us away. He will rise no more."

One story recounts that while the Bishops body was still on the cathedral floor, the faithful had gathered to seek his intercession and collect portions of his clothing and drops of his blood. His heroic virtue in life and conformity to Jesus Christ in his martyrs’ death, led to his quick canonization.

He stands in our day as an example for all Bishops – indeed all who must endure a hostile State – of the apostles clear words “This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.” In an excerpt from a letter the Bishop wrote to his Brother Bishops we read these words:

“If we who are called bishops desire to understand the meaning of our calling and to be worthy of it, we must strive to keep our eyes on Him whom God appointed High Priest forever, and to follow in His footsteps. For our sake He offered Himself to the father on the Altar of the Cross. He now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day He will give each of us the rewards his deeds deserve.

“As successors of the Apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as Christ’s representatives on earth; we receive the honor belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labors. It must therefore be our endeavor to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.

"There are a great many Bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecration, and still make profession of being.”

Thomas of Becket - pray for us. With Bishop Thomas Becket, let us all pray for our Bishops!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Obama grants clemency, 22 prison inmates to be released Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama granted clemency to 22 prisoners with drug-related charges, according to the announcement of the White House on Tuesday. Eight of them were initially sentenced with life imprisonment and expected to die behind bars, if not for the clemency granted. ... continue reading


Entire Alaskan town's population amazingly lives in a single housing unit Watch

Image of Inside the 14-story building rests a police station, school, post office and health clinic.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Whittier, Alaska, nearly everyone lives in a single building. The 14-story Begich Towers is the residence of almost all the 218 members of the town, including the police station, a school, an indoor playground, two convenience stores, a B&B, a laundromat and the ... continue reading


Where did April Fool's Day really come from? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christianity is one of the factors that led to the creation of the April 1, according to the most popular theory of the April Fools' Day. This is not a joke: according to the theory of the two calendars, most Christians wanted to celebrate the start of the New Year on ... continue reading


Extending the Lie: Ken Blackwell Asks, Which Black Lives Matter? Watch

Image of J. Kenneth Blackwell

By J. Kenneth Blackwell

Almost seven months after the fateful, fatal encounter between Michael Brown and former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, Attorney General Eric Holder officially announced a truth he had been holding close for months - that the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" mantra ... continue reading


Americans gassed up their cars and took to the roads in a big, big way last year Watch

Image of In December, record-breaking traffic volume was reported with drivers logging 251.4 billion miles. Indiana led the pack with the highest single-state increase at 10.5 percent for that month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an American trait to gas up the car and take a drive - anywhere, and that certainly proved to be true last year. According to the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, Americans drove 3.02 trillion miles last year, the second-highest level of vehicle ... continue reading


Is the U.S. under Invasion? In nine U.S. States, troops to 'operate undetected amongst civilian population' Watch

Image of Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States, or CONUS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The military exercise is both mysterious and just a little bit threatening. The controversial Jade Helm military exercise, scheduled to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating "undetected amongst civilian populations." The ... continue reading


OPEN BORDERS: Children without guardians continue to stream into the United States Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Children without adult guardians, from the southern border that the United States shares with Mexico, continue to stream into the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, speaking to Congress last week, says that these child immigrants number in the ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


McDonald's does the unthinkable - Big Mac Shop launches McFashion clothing line Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fast food conglomerate McDonald's had released its own fashion and lifestyle line, with the clothes full of Big Mac prints on them. The McFashion debuted on Tuesday in Sweden, in celebration of their most recent campaign, "I'm Lovin' It 24." Profit generated from the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 1st, 2015 Image

St. Hugh of Grenoble
April 1: Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter