Friday, December 28, 2012

On the Feast of the Holy Innocents

We spend so much of this time of year in wonderment at the God-made-man, sent to us as a small and helpless baby.  And rightly so.  Obviously.  But I can't help but think of the other infants that hold places of honor in the telling of the Christmas story.  The first that comes to mind is John the Baptist, the final prophet given to the people of Israel, and to us, to prepare hearts for the coming of the Messiah.  I have always marveled at the fact that John fulfilled his mission as prophet even before he was born!  Leaping in his mother's womb to proclaim the nearness of the Savior!  The other infants of the Christmas story, we honor today - the first Christian martyrs, the baby boys stripped from their mothers and slain at the order of King Herod, their lives taken in an attempt to slaughter the child king, their lives given in witness to the King of Kings.

The Coventry Carol
(16th century, England)

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

Then woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh,
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
Bye, bye, lully, lullay.

Listen to two great versions, here and here.
(the first is by the Westminster Cathedral Choir and the second is performed by Loreena McKennitt)

"The cries of slaughtered children, called so poetically the Holy Innocents, echo loudly through our time.  For those deeply committed to the cause of life this is a day of pilgrimage and prayerful reparation and fervent petition to end the slaughter of children in our own time... Christ's peace is not a passive state of dreamy harmony that one sees in living room paintings.  Christ's peace is the victory prize in a relentless conflict lasting until the end of the world" - the day when He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain.  - Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Behold, He Comes: Meditations on the Incarnation

No comments:

Post a Comment

Like the old song says, "comments are a girl's best friend." Or something like that... So... leave a comment! I love chatting here! Pretend you're on my back porch, kick the broken plastic sandbox toys aside, sip your iced coffee, or beer, or (__fill in the blank with your beverage of choice__) and let's talk about all the things, because back-porch blogging is what I do!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...