Today we remember the martyr Thomas Becket. Once chancellor of England, he was murdered on this day in 1170 in Canterbury Cathedral by agents of King Henry II.

A great way to remember him is to read or re-read T.S.Eliot’s 1953 verse drama Murder in the Cathedral. Eliot is probably the only modern playwright to attempt verse drama. The play is a great tale of the conflict of spiritual and temporal power as well as Becket’s personal road to sanctity and the temptations of ordinary men and women to avoid the way of sacrifice and justice.

Here is the last chorus:

Forgive us, O Lord, we acknowledge ourselves as type of the common man,

Of the men and women who shut the door and sit by the fire;

Who fear the blessing of God, the loneliness of the night of God, the surrender required, the deprivation inflicted;

Who fear the injustice of men less than the justice of God;

Who fear the hand at the window; the fire in the thatch, the fist in the tavern, the push into the canal,

Less than we fear the love of God.

We acknowledge our trespass; our weakness; our fault; we acknowledge

That the sin of the world is upon our heads, that the blood of the martyrs and the agony of the saints is upon our heads,

Lord, have mercy upon us

Christ, have mercy upon us

Lord, have mercy upon us

Blessed Thomas, pray for us.