Well educated, Becket (?1120-1170) was appointed in 1155 by Henry II to be Chancellor of England. At this time Becket lived in luxury and was the king’s favorite companion. When, in 1162, he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury at the instigation of the King, he accepted the office with reluctance, knowing a break to be inevitable. He became an active champion of the church and the people.
A series of bitter conflicts with the King followed. In 1170, the King in irritation said, “Have I not about me one man of enough spirit to rid me of a single insolent prelate?” Four of his knights took this remark as a commission. They went at once to Canterbury and murdered the Archbishop while he was at vespers in the cathedral.
The murder provoked great indignation throughout Europe. Miracles were soon recorded at Becket’s tomb, and he was canonized in 1173. In 1174 Henry did public penance at the shrine. Becket’s shrine at Canterbury was a favorite place of pilgrimage until it was destroyed under Henry VIII.
O Lord, we thank You for the minnistry of Thomas Becket and we pray for healing miracles in the Church of England today. Amen.
Hat tip: SF