Obrazy na stronie

war against the Liberty of the Church with less violence and more intrigue—the intrigue of enslaving her by political administration. It was this crafty diplomacy which forged the chains, wherewith so many Churches are now shackled, and which, be they ever so gilded, are insupportable. There is but one. way to unlink such fetters—to break them. He that breaks them, will be great in the Church of heaven and earth, for he must be a Martyr: he will not have to fight with the sword, or be a political agitator, but simply, to resist the plotters against the Liberty of the Spouse of Christ, and suffer patiently whatever may be said or done against him.

Let us give ear once more to the sublime Panegyrist of our St. Thomas: he is alluding to this patient resistance, which made the Archbishop triumph over tyranny.

“My Brethren, see what manner of men the “Church finds rising up to defend her in her weak

ness, and how truly she may say with the Apostle: “ When I am weak, then am I powerful. It is this " blessed weakness, which provides her with invinci“ble power, and which enlists in her cause the “ bravest soldiers and the mightiest conquerors this “world has ever seen-I mean, the Martyrs. He “that infringes on the authority of the Church, let “him dread that precious blood of the Martyrs, “which consecrates and protects it.”

Now, all this Fortitude, and the whole of this Victory, come from the Crib of the Infant Jesus : therefore it is, that we find St. Thomas standing near it, in company with the Protomartyr Stephen. Any example of humility, and of what the world calls poverty and weakness, which had been less eloquent than this of the mystery of God made a Little Child, would have been insufficient to teach man what real


1 II. Cor. xii. 10.

Power is. Up to that time, man had no other idea of power than that which the sword can give, or of greatness than that which comes of riches, or of joy than such as triumph brings : but when God came into this world, and showed himself weak, and poor, and persecuted-every thing was changed. Men were found who loved the lowly Crib of Jesus, with all its humiliations, better than the whole world besides : and from this mystery of the weakness of an Infant God they imbibed a greatness of soul, which even the world could not help admiring.

It is most just, therefore, that the two laurelwreaths of St. Thomas and St. Stephen should intertwine round the Crib of the Babe of Bethlehem, for they are the two trophies of his two dear Martyrs. As regards St. Thomas, divine Providence marked out most clearly the place he was to occupy in the Cycle of the Christian Year, by permitting his martyrdom to happen on the day following the Feast of the Holy Innocents; so that, the Church could have no hesitation in assigning the 29th of December as the day for celebrating the memory of the saintly Archbishop of Canterbury. As long as the world lasts, this day will be a Feast of dearest interest to the whole Church of God; and the name of Thomas of Canterbury will be, to the day of judgment, terrible to the enemies of the Liberty of the Church, and music breathing hope and consolation to hearts that love that Liberty, which Jesus bought at the price of his Precious Blood.

We will now listen to this dear Mother of ours, the Church, who gives us, in her Divine Office, a short history of the life and sufferings of St. Thomas.

Thomas, Londini in An- Thomas was born in Engglia natus, Theobaldo suc- land, in the city of London. cessit Cantuariensi epis- He succeeded "Theobald as copo : et qui antea in admi- Bishop of Canterbury. He nistrando Cancellariæ mu- had previously acquitted him

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self with much honour as nere præclare se gesserat, in Chancellor, and was strenuous Episcopali officio fortis et and unflinching in his duty invictus fuit. Cum enim as Bishop; for when Henry Henricus Secundus Angliæ 2nd, King of England, in an Rex, convocatis ad se Episassembly of the Bishops and copis, et Proceribus regni, Nobles of the realm, passed leges ferret utilitati ac digcertain laws inconsistent with nitati Ecclesiasticæ repugthe interests and the honour nantes, adeo constanter obof the Church, the Bishop stitit regiæ cupiditati, ut withstood the King's avarice neque pollicitationibus, neso courageously, that neither que terroribus de sententia fair promises nor threats could decedens proxime conjiciendraw him over to the King's dus in carcerem clam recesside, and, being in danger of serit. Inde propinqui ejus imprisonment, he privately omnis ætatis ejecti, amici, withdrew. Not long after, all fautores omnes, iis, quibus his relatives young and old, per ætatem liceret, jurejuall his friends, and household, rando adstrictis, universos were banished, and such of Thomam adituros, si forthem, as had attained the age tasse miserabili suorum caof discretion, were made to lamitatis aspectu moverepromise on oath that they tur, qui a sancto proposito would go to Thomas, as per- privatis incommodis deterhaps he, who could not be reri minime potuisset. Non made to swerve from his respexit carnem aut sanholy purpose, by any personal guinem, neque ullus in eo consideration, might relent at humanitatis sensus, pastothe heart-rending spectacle of ralis officii constantiam lathe sufferings of them who befactavit. were dear to him. But he regarded not the demands of Hesh and blood, neither did he permit the feelings of natural affection to weaken the firmness required of him as Bishop.

He, therefore, repaired to Contulit igitur se ad AlexPope Alexander 3rd, from andrum Tertium Pontifiwhom he met with a kind re- cem, a quo benigne accepception, and who commended tus est : et inde profectus, him, on his departure, to the monachis Pontiniacensis Cistercian Monks of Pontigny. monasterii

, Cisterciensis OrAs soon as Henry came to dinis, ab eodem commendaknow this, he strove to have tus. Quod ut cognovit HenThomas expelled from Pon- ricus, missis ad Conventum tigny, and, for this purpose, Fratrum Cisterciensium misent threatening letters to the nacibus litteris, Thomam e Pontiniaco monasterio ex- General Chapter of Citeaux. turbare conatur. Quare vir Whereupon, the holy man, sanctus veritus ne sua causa fearing lest the Cistercian OrCisterciensis familia patere- der should be made to suffer tur, sponte discessit, et Lu- on his account, left the dovicum Galliæ regem, ejus Monastery of his own accord, invitatu convenit : ubi tam- and betook himself to the hosdiu fuit, quoad, Pontifice pitable shelter to which he Maximo, et ipso Rege agen- had been invited by Louis, tibus, ab exilio summa to- King of France. There he retius regni gratulatione revo- mained, until, by the intervencatur. Qui dum boni pas- tion of the Pope and Louis the toris officium securus exse- King, he was called home from quitur, ecce calumniatores his banishment, to the joy of ad regem deferunt eum the whole kingdom. Whilst multa contra regnum et pub- resuming the intrepid dislicam quietem moliri : ut charge of the duty of a good propterea sæpius conquere- Shepherd, certain calumniaretur rex, se in suo regno tors denounced him to King cum uno sacerdote pacem Henry as one that was plotting habere non posse.

sundry things against the country and the public peace. Wherefore, the King was heard frequently complaining, that there was only one Priest in his kingdom with whom he

could not be in peace. Ex qua regis voce nefarii

Certain wicked satellites consatellites sperantes gratum cluded from this expression of se regi facturos, si Thomam the King, that he would be e medio tollerent; clam con- pleased at their ridding him venientes Cantuariam, Epis- of Thomas. Accordingly, they copum in templo vesperti- stealthily enter, Canterbury, nis horis operam dantem and finding the Bishop was in aggrediuntur. Qui clericis the Church, officiating at Vestempli aditus præcludere pers, they began their attack. conantibus accurrens, OS- The Clergy were using means tium aperuit, illis usus ver- to prevent them from entering bis ad suos : Non est Dei the Church, when the Saint, Ecclesia Dei custodienda coming to them, forbad their more castrorum; et ego pro opposition, and, opening the Ecclesia Dei libenter mor- door, thus spoke to them : The tem subibo. Tum ad mili- Church is not to be guarded tes : Vos Dei jussu cavete ne like a citadel, and I am glad cuipiam meorum noceatis. to die for God's Church. Then Deinde flexis genibus, Deo, turning to the soldiers, he beatæ Mariæ, sancto Diony- said : I command you, in the name of God, that you hurt sio, et reliquis Sanctis, ejus not any of them that are with Ecclesiæ patronis, Eccleme. After this, he knelt down, siam et seipsum commenand commending his Church dans, sacrum caput eadem and himself to God, to the constantia, qua iniquissimi Blessed Mary, to St. Denis, regis legibus restiterat, imand to the other Patron Saints pio ferro præcindendum of his Cathedral, with the same obtulit, quarto Kalendas Jacourage that he had shown in nuarii, anno Domini milleresisting the King's execrable simo centesimo septuagelaws, he bowed down his head simo primo, cujus cerebro to the impious murderers, on respersum est totius templi the Fourth of the Calends of pavimentum. Quem multis January (December 29th), in postea illustrem miraculis the Year of our Lord i171. idem Alexander Pontifex His brains were scattered on retulit in Sanctorum numethe floor of the entire Church. rum. God having shown the holiness of his servant by many miracles, he was canonised by the same Pope, Alexander 3rd.


The solemn Introit of to-day's Mass shows the transport of joy, wherewith the Church celebrates the Feast of our holy Martyr. The words, and the chant, which accompanies them, are only used about four times in the year. Both words and music bespeak enthusiasm and joy: and the Church on earth is elated at the thought, that she and the Angels are making one choir to the praise of the victory of Thomas of Canterbury.


Let us all rejoice in the Gaudeamus omnes in DoLord, and celebrate this festi- mino, diem festum celeval in honour of Blessed brantes sub honore beati Thomas the Martyr : for Thomæ Martyris : de cujus whose martyrdom the Angels passione gaudent Angeli, et rejoice, and praise the Son of collaudant Filium Dei. God.

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