Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Memorial of the Holy Innocents

Given the age in which we live, today's feast resonates with the abortion industry which daily massacres the innocents in the name of choice (but more accurately in the name of money, and indeed, in the name of evil).  The little martyrs of Bethlehem are most interesting - they were babies and toddlers - all boys, put to death by Herod the Great's soldiers on his orders, as they frantically looked for the infant proclaimed a king by the magi.  These children had not reached the age of reason, they knew nothing of Christ, they did not make any decision to lay down their lives for him, yet in their tragic death the Church sees martyrdom and honours them for their sacrifice. 

Their feast is one we should take seriously each year and celebrate with prayer and reparation.  Providentially, it is a response to the evil of abortion and anti-life technologies, a call for Christians to take the pro-life cause to heart and a direct challenge to those supporters of abortion and technologies of death who claim to be Christians.  It is also a call to Christian politicians to get off the fence and fight against abortion and the culture of death rather than opine that they are personally opposed but.....  Sorry people, he or she who is not with us is against us, the "personally opposed" position is rubbish, nonsense, perhaps even a spineless attempt to support the greatest evil mankind has ever known, but, for convenient reasons, trying to play ball with the Church too - cynical in the extreme. 

An interesting suggestion arose a few years ago, that, following the recognition of the Holy Innocents, those children aborted might be declared martyrs, some prominent theologians have been engaged in relfection on this issue.  Personally, I am not sure.  But certainly the discussion focuses our attention on those killed in the womb.

Prayer to the Holy Innocents
for the Cause of Life
O Blessed Martyrs of Bethlehem,
you Holy Innocents,
who shed your blood for Christ,
intercede for the Cause of life in these difficult times. 
Before you could speak, you proclaimed the Messiah,
and welcomed him, not with ceremony, or rich gifts
or eloquent eulogy,
but with the generous offering of your lives
protecting him so he could live to lay down his life for you,
shedding his blood to redeem you and all mankind. 
Receive into your arms all those little ones
who have been sacrificed and killed
in the abortion clinics of the world
or destroyed in laboratories or clinics,
take them to the throne of our merciful God
so he may embrace them in the life and love
they were denied on earth.

Intercede for those responsible for their deaths:
for doctors, nurses and administrators,
for those who promote the culture of death,
for those enriched by the industry of death,
for those fooled by false compassion,
for those who, in igorance, offend the Gospel life:
by your prayers may they be converted.

Intercede, dear little Ones,
for the mothers of these children,
for their conversion and transformation,
for their consolation and healing,
so they may come to know the mercy of God;
by your prayers may they be reconciled
and become prophets of life.

Support the Church in her mission for life,
pray that all followers of Christ will proclaim the dignity of life
and seek to protect it
most particularly at its most vulnerable stages.
Pray for us, O Holy Innocents, martyrs for Christ,
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Here is a rendition of the beautiful Coventry Carol, written in memory of the Holy Innocents:

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