Here are the opening words of T S Eliot’s play, ‘Murder in the Cathedral’: Here let us stand, / close by the cathedral. Here let us wait. / Are we drawn by danger? Is it the knowledge of safety, / that draws our feet / Towards the cathedral? What danger can be / For us, the poor, the poor women of Canterbury? what / tribulation / With which we are not already familiar? / There is no / danger / For us, and there is no safety in the cathedral. Some / presage of an act / Which our eyes are compelled to witness, has forced our / feet / Towards the cathedral. We are forced to bear witness. / Since golden October declined into sombre November / And the apples were gathered and stored, and the land / became brown sharp points of death in a waste of / water and mud, / The New Year waits, breathes, waits, whispers in darkness’. And Thomas’ words: ‘I am here. / No traitor to the King. I am a priest, / A Christian, saved by the blood of Christ, / Ready to suffer with my blood. / This is the sign of the Church always. / The sign of blood. / Blood for blood. / His blood given to buy my life. / My blood given to pay for His death. / My death for His death’.

‘This is the sign of the Church always …’ As we ask the intercession of St Thomas, let us pray also for those who face martyrdom in our own times – the true sign of the Church. May God bless you this day.