Showing posts from December, 2020

Thomas Becket: the simple but daunting question he puts before us today

There is much discussion about the faults of St Thomas Becket before he became Archbishop of Canterbury. Alban Butler, who could hardly be accused of lack of sympathy, said that as well as being decisive and intelligent, with great leadership qualities, he showed an excess of magnificence when travelling in state (he scandalised the French in this regard) Butler also says that he was proud, irascible, and violent. Fr Thomas Hogan who has recently led a popular Novena to the Saint, on Twitter, and wrote a biography which was published earlier this year [ Thomas Becket: Defender of the Church   from OSV ,  also on Amazon ] recently commented that, “Remorseful & penitential, he could be angry, rash, imprudent, vengeful, coldly tactical; gentle & forgiving at times to Henry, but often annoyed at the Pope. Passionate & aloof, he was a work in progress.” After his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury and his spiritual conversion, he wore a hair shirt and a black cassock in

Cancelling Christmas and preparing the way for the turkey

On Sunday, many newspapers announced that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had solemnly proclaimed that he had been compelled to cancel Christmas. I found this amusing and wondered if he had sent a negotiating team by time travel to the reign of Caesar Augustus, tasked by Her Majesty’s Government to persuade the High Priest, to petition God the Father to delay the incarnation for the time being. An anonymous spokesman from 10 Downing Street would then brief the media that although saving the human race was important, it was necessary first of all to save the NHS. Of course the Prime Minister didn’t really mean that and we may have sympathy for him in making difficult decisions. We should pray for him and for all those who hold civil power. Unfortunately, however Christmas for many is far removed from the celebration of the incarnation of the second person of the Blessed Trinity. It may seem that Christmas has indeed been cancelled for anyone who has been preparing the way for th

From the Immaculate Conception to the Blessed Sacrament

St John the Baptist clearly states he is not the one who is to come, but that there is indeed one who is to come, the Christ, or Messiah, who had been expected through long ages. St John the Baptist’s exalted vocation was to be the last and greatest of the prophets, the one privileged finally to prepare the way for Him. St Paul says that Our Lord is “before all, and by him all things consist.” (Col 1:17) In another place, he says that God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world.” (Eph 1:4) If we follow many theologians, especially those of the Franciscan school, we can read St Paul as indicating that the very incarnation of Christ was in the mind, or the wisdom, of the Blessed Trinity from before all creation, to bring us to the fullness of life in Him. The means by which we are given the fullness of life here on earth is the Blessed Sacrament, our Holy Communion with God, through the body and blood of Christ. The sacred flesh and blood of Our Lord is united to His

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