The Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket -
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Artist Commentary: St. Thomas looks not at impending death nor at the darkness in those who inflict it on him, but upward. His body has received a preliminary sword thrust into his side, and the wound has begun to bleed as the blade is withdrawn. Symbolized in this is a faithful bishopâ€™s conformity to the crucified Christ. Yet this is not the killing blow, which will be to his head. In the deluded minds of the knights, their acts may appear to be no more than a defense of the English kingdom, yet they strike at the very nature of Christâ€™s eternal Kingdom. After Becketâ€™s death, Henry IIâ€™s reign became increasingly destabilized, notably during the revolt against him by his sons, and his unpopularity among the English people grew to be near universal. At the same time the Church in England flowered. In striving to amass power for the throne, the king had lost it. In losing his life, St. Thomas had gained it. These lessons remain unchanging to our own day.