Saturday 28 December 2013

Holy Innocents and the Herods of today

“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children…” (Matthew 2:18). 

Today's Feast of the Holy Innocents, illustrated here by Giotto, lies in stark contrast to Christmas Day.  The joy of celebrating the birth of our saviour is punctuated by several reminders of the consequences of following Christ. 

Saints Stephen and Thomas a Becket on the second and fifth days of Christmas remind us that to follow Him means giving witness, even, if called to do so by shedding of blood.  The Holy Innocents are revered as martyrs even though, unlike Saints Stephen and Thomas they were not old enough to know or assent to Christ. 

It seems a mystery how children murdered by King Herod before the age of reason can be martyrs but I trust in the Church's tradition and wisdom. It is a reminder that those whom suffer for Christ or His Church do give witness to Him in a powerful way. 

There is an irony that King Herod's actions in destroying these young lives in his thirst for power is mirrored so much today by those who out of a desire for popularly or power refuse to speak out for the unborn child. 

It occurs to me that the Herods of today are the politicians - and those who vote for them - who refuse to defend life - and those laypeople, religious, priests and nuns who chose not to take a stand for life. 

What can an individual do to save innocent life today? We can pray, we can investigate the policies of charities and politicians before supporting them and we can give generously to organisations such as the Good Counsel Network who do so much to support pregnant women in difficulty. 

May the Holy Innocents pray for all innocent children, born or unborn, who are facing danger or death and may the hearts and minds of today's Herods be converted to Christ. 

1 comment:

  1. I do not mean to interfere with this lovely post, but we cannot compare the Holy Innocents with those tragically killed by abortion.

    The Pope Emeritus clarified this point by suppressing the faulty cult and prayer which was circulating around Great Britain about two years ago. I was on a retreat with God's Precious Infants followers when the excellent spiritual director clarified this point for all there. The aborted are not martyrs.

    The Holy Innocents died because of Christ. They died because Herod was bent on killing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They are martyrs because they died for the sake of the Messiah.

    This is, sadly, not the case of the slaughter of those unborn children through abortion. These babies are not dying for Christ, but because of the gross selfishness and sometimes, panic or despair of their parents.

    Also, these children die in Original Sin and have not be cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. They are "innocent" in that they are victims of horrible violence, but we must not compare them with the martyrs of that day following the Birth of Christ.

    To me the great horror of abortion is not only the destruction of a body, but the destruction of the growth of a soul. We rely on the mercy of God regarding these little children, but how many could have become great saints, great leaders in the Church, if they had been allowed to live?

    We cannot assuage the guilt of the nations which allow abortion by pretending that they are saints.

    These poor babies are victims, but is we deny Original Sin and the results of Original Sin, we are denying our own Faith. The CCC notes that Original State is "state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice ... transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature".

    To pretend that the holocaust of aborted children may not include an eternal deprivation of holiness and justice is to fall into sentimentality.

    May God have mercy on all these destroyed babies. May He give them peace and love. We can only hope this, and not declare it so by canonizing these murdered babies.


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