In my last posting, I spoke of the “Feast Day of the Holy Innocents – December 28th.” It was through my dream of the man “dressed in white” that invited me to pray to St. Michael for 43 days and the 43rd day was marked clearly on my calendar as the feast day of the First Martyrs of the Church, the Holy Innocents.
And so now I find myself pondering what this massacre means to us in the present moment, December 28, 2019.
Can you imagine?
Just three days ago, we celebrated the great Feast Day of Christmas, the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, who came into this world as a little baby! A baby that was so very vulnerable, so helpless!
Bound in swaddling clothes, the arms that would bless and heal and the legs that would walk endlessly to find the “lost and forsaken.” Bound! Can you imagine?
Can you imagine? The Creator of the World, the one who created the space that we live and breath in comes into the world with not even a cradle or crib????
Can you imagine? In this present day and age when a woman becomes pregnant there are sonograms, the baby’s sex is determined almost right away, furniture is bought, the baby’s room is done beforehand and baby showers are given with endless lists of what to buy for the upcoming birth of this child whether it be a boy or a girl.
And what preparation was given for Jesus? Not even a room at the Inn!
Can you imagine?
Fleeing into Egypt
The first visitors, the shepherds arrive to worship and adore this little baby. Then the Three Kings. Soon whatever love and adoration was given at that time quickly turns into fear after St. Joseph has his most famous dream and is given instruction to flee with the child into Egypt.
Can you imagine St. Joseph rousing the Blessed Mother from sleep to flee into the darkness with the Child lest He be murdered by Herod who could think of nothing else but to kill every male child that would threaten his throne. There would be no time for explanations, or anytime to think this out so to speak!
Again, the Creator of the World is fleeing from a creature set out to kill him. The Child Jesus could have, with one little finger, swept away these men brandishing swords set out to kill him and yet, “He” allows this to happen and escapes into the darkness of night.
The Way of the Cross
If we ponder it, we realize that Jesus could have died that night but He started His “Way of His Cross” on that night of terror.
The “Way of the Cross” brings me to reflect on the following, it’s just a little simple statement shared by a third grader in my CCD class but one of extreme meditation for us now.
When the Season of Advent began, a friend of mine gave me the idea to give out Christmas stockings to each child in my class. I told them they were not stockings to hang for themselves but the stockings would be for Jesus to receive on His birthday! I instructed them to fill the stocking up with drawings, little notes, whatever little surprise they could give Jesus.
Meeting together last week before their Christmas vacation, one little boy, Aiden, raised his hand and asked if he could share what he put in the stocking for Jesus.
What did he place in that stocking for Jesus? He told me he drew a cross and slipped it into “His” stocking. I was blown away by Aiden’s sharing. I thought about it all through the night and ever since I heard those words voiced by a little boy, yes, Jesus received a cross the day He came into this world. Can you imagine?
The Infant Martyrs
Jesus received a cross when He was born and what did the male babies born into that moment of history receive? The Magnificat prayer book gives the following explanation:
“The Holy Innocents are those children who were brutally murdered by Herod as he sought the Christ Child. At his hand, the Church received her first martyrs. By virtue of their martyrdom, they attained baptismal innocence in anticipation of “The Blood of Jesus which cleanses us from all sin.”
“The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ;
spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever:
Glory to you, O Lord.”
December 28, 2019 – Entrance Antiphon for Holy Mass
“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled,
because they were no more.”
Once more I ask the question that seems to weave throughout this post, “Can you imagine?“
Can you imagine what happened that night? The screams, the horror, the suffering. . . women trying to save their children and hide from the swords being wielded before them. I cannot imagine.
Yes, the Holy Innocents suffered for Christ not in their will but in their deed.
Rachel Continues to Weep
I can only imagine, too, that Rachel continues to weep in our present day. St. Pope John Paul II used the words to describe our culture as a “Culture of Death.”
The babies are still being murdered, aren’t they? Rachel continues to weep for the millions of babies killed by abortion. It surely is a massacre that continues to bear witness to our “Culture of Death.” Children are abused and exploited. . . the list is endless.
Yes, Rachel weeps for the sanctity of life in our present times. In an age where life isn’t respected or held dear as a beautiful gift from the Creator but as a “choice” of whether there should be life or not made by the “creature” instead. We have become the “culture of death.”
What Can We Do?
In just a couple of days, 2019 comes to a close and we will be entering into a new year, 2020.
The Blessed Mother never tires of instructing us to pray, pray, pray!
Pray for conversion of hearts, especially in our governments and especially in the politicians we elect.
We can call on the “Holy Innocents” to intercede for us now, in the most powerful way imaginable.
Yes, I can imagine that! Maybe for those reading this blog, we can enter into the following prayer calling on their aid.
O Holy Innocents
in the name of Jesus, for whom your blood was shed,
pray for exploited and abused children.
O Holy Innocents
who, for the sake of the Christ Child your sacrifice was offered,
intercede for the captive and suffering children.
O Holy Innocents
whose blood was sanctified by the precious blood of the Savior,
preserve the purity and innocence of children and be their help and comfort.
I ask that you look with great mercy upon the peril of innocent children
being violated in the world
and deliver them from every evil.
I beg your mercy through the sacrifice of the Holy Innocents
and through the sacrificial love
of your beloved Son,
our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
(Our Father, Three Hail Mary’s, Glory Be)
This Novena is to be prayed for nine consecutive days from
Dec. 20th to 28th,
Feast of the Holy Innocents
(Or at Anytime)
Distributed with the permission from the
Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
©2019 Anita Guariglia