Despite unwavering belief and trust in Saint William, the Archbishop of Canterbury was reluctant to consecrate William as Archbishop, and sent word to Rome, awaiting papal approval and review. Pope Innocent III, despite having received complaints and accusations, agreed to proceed with the consecration, and William became Archbishop of York in 1143.
William’s life was certainly not easy. Putting ourselves in his shoes, it seems as if spite and anger and resentment would be normal reactions to the injustices and ill-treatment that he received. Nevertheless, Saint William remained steadfast and loving, preaching and practicing forgiveness, and focusing his attention on the Lord and His will. We might, in the midst of our busy schedules, pause and consider the implications on our own lives, the perceived injustices we suffer, the grudges we hold, the ease with which we are distracted from the will of the Lord for each of us.
St. William, you were chosen by God to be Archbishop of York, but were unjustly accused of sin. You were election was opposed by many in favor of another. Even through all this, you never took your eyes off of Christ and His will for you. You devoted yourself to a life of prayer and mortification. After many years, you were finally restored to the See that was rightfully yours. Instead of reserving spite, you showed the utmost amount of forgiveness and love for those who had before been in opposition to your election. Please help us to follow your example of perseverance and forgiveness so that we may forgive our transgressors and always persevere in the Lord’s will. Amen.
From the famed Saint William of York stained glass window at York Minster: