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and the frightful influence of bad example is almost always successful. Christian Mothers will have to weep over the ruin of their children's souls, and what consolation is there for such a grief as theirs ? There is a Christian Rama, and a Christian Rachel, ever
a wailing in the Church : do you, sweet Innocents of Bethlehem, comfort these mothers, by praying for their little ones. Pray that our times may grow less evil, and that parents may have less need to fear, than they now have—that the first step taken by their children in the world, will be death to their souls.
THE OCTAVE OF SAINT THOMAS,
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, AND MARTYR.
The Catholic Church in England celebrates, to-day, the Octave of St. Thomas of Canterbury. It is but fitting, that the Country, which was beautified with the blood of the illustrious Martyr, should honour his memory with an especial fervour, and keep up his Feast during the joyful Octaves of Stephen, of John the Beloved Disciple, and of the Innocents of Bethlehem.
We have seen, on the Feast itself, how the Catholic world gave expression, through the sacred Liturgy, to its love of our great Martyr. In the Ages of Faith, a victory gained by the Church was considered as a victory for the whole human race. It is impossible for us to write the Lives of the Saints in our Liturgical Year, which is crowded enough as it is; and hence we cannot enter, with anything like detail, into the actions of this the Martyr for the Liberty of the Church. But we cannot withhold from our readers the following eloquent proof of the affection and esteem in which St. Thomas was held by those who had been eye-witnesses of his sublime virtues. It is a Letter written by Peter of Blois, Archdeacon of Bath, to the Canons of Beauvoir, a few days after the Martyrdom of the Saint, whose blood was still on the pavement of the Metropolitan Church of Canterbury. Let us notice, as we read it, the selfpossessed and meek enthusiasm, with which even
the grandest victories of the Church inspire her children.
"The Shepherd of our souls is dead, and my first "impulse is to mourn with you over this death. "Yet Death I may not call it, for the death where"with our Lord has honoured his Saint is rather a sleep than a death. It has been the harbouring him into rest. It has been to him the gate of life, "and the admission into the delights of the heavenly country, into the power of the Lord, into the abyss "of eternal light. Having to set out on a long "journey, he has taken with him all he needed, and "will return on the day of the full moon ;1 for his soul, full of merit, has left the body, in order to return to its ancient dwelling in the general and "complete resurrection. Jealous and crafty Death came to scrutinise this treasury of merit, suspecting something to be there which he could claim. "But, Thomas was too circumspect and prudent, and "never permitted his true life to be tampered with. "He had long desired to be dissolved and to be with "Christ; and, at the close of his life, was pining to "take his departure from the body of this death. "He has now thrown a handful of dust into Death's 'face, as a tribute which he owed to the old enemy: "and the false report has gone abroad, and people are telling each other, that an evil beast hath de3 voured our Joseph. The coat, of which he has "been stripped, has given rise to this false news of "his death; for Joseph lives, and rules through the "whole land of Egypt. His blessed soul, unburthened "of its corruptible garments, and freed from the dust "of this present life, has taken her flight to heaven. Yes, he of whom the world was not worthy, has "been called away to heaven. This light is not put "out; it is but shaken by a passing wind, that it
3 Gen. xxxvii. 20.
1 Prov. vii. 20.
2 Phil. i. 23.
may shine all the brighter, and may, no longer kept “under a bushel, give light to all that are in the “ house. He hath seemed in the eyes of the unwise
to have died ;but his life hath been hid with Christ “ in God. It has seemed as though Death had
conquered and swallowed him up; whereas, in reality, Death is swallowed up in victory. Thou “hast given him, O Lord, his heart's desire, 4 for he “had long served thee, and, because of the words of “thy lips, had kept hard ways. From earliest
, youth, his conduct was such as to be worthy of one “advanced in years, and he restrained the rebellions “of the flesh, by watching, fasting, disciplines, hair “shirt, and perpetual continency. The Lord chose “him for his Priest, that he might be to the people a guide, and teacher; a mirror of life, a model of
penance, and an example of holiness. The God of “wisdom gave him eloquence of speech, and abun
dantly infused into him the spirit of wisdom and “understanding, making him the most learned of the learned, the wisest of the wise, excellent even among the best, and superior even among the greatest men. He was a herald of the divine word, "a trumpet of the Gospel, a friend of the Bridegroom, the support of the Clergy, an eye to the blind, a foot to the lame, the salt of the earth, the light of his country, a minister of the Most High, a “ vicar of Christ, a Christ of the Lord.
“ He was upright in his judgment, energetic in “administration, discreet in his orders, modest in his "speech, circumspect in his advice, most abstemious "in his food, gentle in temper, an angel in human flesh, meek amidst injuries, humble in prosperity,
most courageous in adversity, prodigal in almsgiving, “ and was ever exercising some work of mercy. He
i Wisd. iii. 2.
3 1. Cor. xv. 54.
6 Ps. xvi. 4.
was the glory of Religious, the favourite of the “people, the terror of Princes, the god of Pharaoh. “ If some men, when exalted to the supreme dignity “of the Episcopacy, begin at once to be carnal“minded, and shun every bodily suffering as the greatest evil, and desire to enjoy as long a life as
possible—it was not so with our Pastor. On the “ very first day of his promotion, he longed, but more
ardently than can be told, for the end of life, or, "more correctly, he thirsted to begin the life of
eternity. For this purpose, he looked on himself “and comported himself as a pilgrim, and drank of the torrent in the Way; therefore is his name glorified in the heavenly Country. Thus it is, that "our Brethren, the Monks of the Cathedral Church, “are become as orphans, without their Father.”
The sixteenth century brought an unexpected addition to the glory of our Saint. The enemy of God and man, Henry 8th, hated the very name of the Martyr, that had died for the Liberty of the Church. There was an honour, which such a Tyrant could still add to St. Thomas' glorious name:
:he could insult the Shrine, where, for four hundred years, the Saint had received the homage of the entire Catholic world. The venerable Relics of the Martyr were dragged from beneath the Altar: an absurd action was brought against Thomas, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury, and he was found guilty of high treason! His Relics were put upon a pile; and in this second Martyrdom, the fire destroyed the last remains of the holy man, whose intercession drew down upon England the protection and blessings of heaven. After all, how could a country, that was on the eve of its great apostacy from the True Faith, be expected to appreciate the rich treasure of such Relics ? Besides, the See of Canterbury was defiled.
1 Exod. vii. 1.
? Ps. cix. 7.