Thomas Becket

December 29

St. Thomas Becket was born in AD 1118, in London. He studied in both London and Paris, and became a great friend to King Henry II of England. In 1162, when King Henry appointed him Archbishop of Canterbury, no one was more surprised than Thomas. He took to the job right away, living meagerly so that others could have more. He proved a very powerful archbishop, and his unswerving self-confidence and stubbornness shone through in his labors.

It was the same self-confidence and stubbornness, however, that caused King Henry to grow angry with him. The two disagreed on many issues, including taxation and the balance of power between church and state. But Thomas and Henry both refused to back down. Though the relations between them had been repaired after a while, Thomas excommunicated several bishops for coronating King Henry's son without first seeking Thomas's approval. Henry flew into a rage, and shouted, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"

Four knights took this outburst literally, and murdered Thomas in his own cathedral. After this horrific act, performed in 1170, Thomas became a martyr, and in the following year, King Henry served public penance in apology for the deed.

If St. Thomas had taken the
Spiritual Types Test, he probably would have been a Prophet. Thomas is remembered on December 29. Image from stained glass window at Canterbury Cathedral.

Today's Reflection