Infant Martyr Flowers
Today I received my e-newsletter from Human Life International .
Rev. Euteneuer explains how the feast of the Holy Innocents celebrated since the 6th century in the Catholic Church can inspire us to action to save innocent life in this generation. I encourage you to go to his website and read the brief article on Pro-Life New Year's Resolutions for 2007. He does a much better job than my post yesterday.
He makes a profound point in that the holy innocents slaughtered by Herod died for (in place of) Christ! Wow! I never thought about it in those terms and when I read the Christmas story, tended to skip over that tragic event. Some historians believe that only a small number of children, perhaps less than twenty, were killed by Herod's soldiers. None the less, these innocent lives are honored by the Church because they faced the wrath of the sword so that the baby Jesus could escape unharmed until the time for His perfect sacrifice had come.
St. Augustine referred to them as Infant Martyr Flowers
"These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers' bosom, are justly hailed as "infant martyr flowers"; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief."
As with all feasts and devotional practices, the Church gives us these things as tools of sanctification and growth so we can more earnestly live our lives for Him. The purpose being that as our faith in Christ grows, our actions should also grow commensurately.
Father, the Holy Innocents offered you praise by the death they suffered for Christ. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips. During this cold winter of unbelief, let our lives and witness work for an end to this frost of persecution(abortion). We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.