Thursday, 1 July 2010

Thomas More

Welcome to the first day of the second half of the year. The Lord has preserved you and us till this day. And for that we give thanks.

It is difficult to imagine that 6 months of 2010 have just rolled by. Just like that. When we look back, we had better have something to show for that time.

The rains have swept the west coast with damage on the eastern coast of AP and even the hinterland of Hyderabad. Would have loved to peek into Alexander Frater's Chasing the Monsoon but didn't get down to it. Anyways, even Delhi was sprinkled with rain on the evening of San Joao - or the feast of St John the Baptist on 24 June - celebrated with traditional fervour by jumping into the well in Goa.

As we were reading the reflections on the Saints of the day we came upon the feast of Thomas More.  Thomas More (1478-1535) Lord chancellor of England - a simple, family man - was beheaded under orders of his bosom friend Henry VIII, King of England, because he refused to acknowledge the King as the supreme Head of the church of England. He felt this undermined the authority fo the Pope.

More was convicted on trumped up charges of high treason and was executed on 6 July as a common criminal, with his head being displayed on a spike for a month.

Today, for his conviction to his beliefs, the church reveres him as a saint. Many have been misunderstood in their time, but have been redeemed by history.

But the contest between priest and king was entrenched in England.

In events which have a chilling resemblance to the murder of Thomas More, another man was to fall in the cathedral.

Thomas Becket (1118-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury, was to pay the same price for standing by the the dictum of the church. By doing so he fell foul of his friend King Henry II. TS Eliot's magnificent drama Murder in the Cathedral dramatizes this incident where words recount the horror of the murder of innocent blood.

Picture credit: 'The arrest and suplication of Thomas More' by Antoine Caron; from luminariun(dot)org


Anonymous said...

july, and not april, seems to be the cruelest month!
first thomas! then vincent! and then....rain!!!???

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