Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
- December 29, 2012
It was a position of power and it made Thomas uncomfortable. But more complications were to follow.
When the archbishop of Canterbury died, the king again appointed Thomas, much against his will. “I know your plans for the Church,” Thomas told Henry, “and that you will put forth claims which I as archbishop must necessarily oppose.” Thomas insisted on resigning as chancellor so as to be free of civil ties to his sovereign. This became the first serious conflict he had with the king.
Henry was keen on passing laws which would make him the final arbiter of law and not allow any appeal beyond him, to the Pope for instance. Thomas opposed his royal master on this, so the king imposed a set of heavy fines upon the See of Canterbury. The friendship was by now broken irreparably. Thomas, fearing for his life, fled the country. For four years he remained in exile, while his friends sought to bring about a reconciliation. When this seemed to have been effected, Thomas returned to England. But the peace was deceptive.
Thomas had a premonition of his death: “for the name of Jesus and in defence of the Church, I’m willing to die,” he prayed. The end, when it came, was sudden. A few days after Christmas, in order to ingratiate themselves with their monarch, four knights entered the abbey and found Thomas at prayer in the church. They slew him on the spot.
The murder of Thomas had the opposite of the intended effect: Thomas was hailed as martyr by popular acclaim and Canterbury became a pilgrimage shrine to the saint. Within two years the Pope had raised Thomas to the altars. The king became a public penitent.
Thomas Becket was a man who had everything, yet he did not hesitate to throw it all away in obedience to his conscience. No matter how high the office, God’s laws are always higher. Thomas Becket proved this with his life.