This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Thursday, 29 December 2016

29th December, St Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop and Martyr

St Thomas of Canterbury, Bishop and Martyr

The season of Christmas, by manifesting to us the Divine Filiation of the Child in the crib as the Epistle of the day reminds us, shows that he is a priest. His priesthood consists in making the life of God penetrate our souls and in defending, even at the cost of His life, the divine rights of this beloved Spouse.

The Feast of St Thomas Becket shows us that in participating in the dignity of the Christ-Priest as Archbishop of Canterbury, he knew how to prove himself, like Christ, the shepherd who defends his flock against the ravages of the wolf (Gospel).

King Henry II wished him to sanction customs contrary to the liberties of the Church. St Thomas knew that to make this divine Society subservient to the secular power would be to violate her very constitution, and so he declared that "as a Priest of Jesus Christ he would willingly suffer death in defence of the Church of God." He was slain in his cathedral by the king's soldiers on 29th December 1170.

Against those who seek to enslave the Church, let us neither employ the craft of politics nor the weapons of warfare, but after the example of "the glorious Thomas who fell by the swords of the wicked in the defence of the Church" (Collect) let us know how to withstand them resolutely with all the moral strength that the defence of the rights of God inspires.

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beati Thomae Martyris: de cujus passione gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei. * Exsultate justi in Domino: rectos decet collaudatio.
Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festal day in honour of the blessed Thomas the Martyr: at whose martyrdom the Angels rejoice, and praise the Son of God. *. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright.
(Psalm 32:1 from the Introit of Mass)

Deus, pro cujus Ecclesia gloriosus Pontifex Thomas gladiis impiorum occubuit: praesta, quaesumus; ut omnes qui ejus implorant auxilium, petitionis suae salutarem consequantur effectum.
O God, for the sake of Whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of their petition.

Concede, quaesumus omnipotens Deus, ut nos Unigeniti tui nova per carnem Nativitas liberet; quos sub peccati iugo vetusta servitus tenet.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin.
(Commemoration of Christmas)

Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
(St John 10:11-16)

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on St Thomas of Canterbury:

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