‘It is a psychological fact that baffled wrath and baffled lust produce cruelty, but the whole revelation of love is that love is never baffled and has its own way of meeting and over-ruling the cruelties of sin. The slaughter of the Holy Innocents was due to the baffled wrath of Herod. But the same love that could conquer amidst all the cruelties of Calvary could conquer in ways that we may not understand, but can wholly trust, in this incident, in which the coming of the mysterious Child to His Maiden Mother brought such pain to so many little children and to so many mothers who were contemporaries of Blessed Mary.
The Church does not shirk stating the hard facts of life, but her liturgy twines the gold thread of faith, hope, and love amidst all the dark purple of her tapestries which portray for us life’s tragedies. The Festival of the Holy Innocents knits all child life to the sanctity of fellowship with the Holy Child, and the sufferings of little children are made to rank through this solemnity with the martyrdom of saints.
The fact that our Lord became a child must teach us that we cannot possibly think too sacredly of the responsibility of every kind of contact with child life, and in all our sadness at the knowledge of cruelties that have been done to the innocent and helpless we can comfort ourselves that there is a festival of the Holy Innocents. In the beautiful words of Baruch which form part of the proper lesson for the day we can say: “Be of good cheer, O my children… for my hope is in the Everlasting that He will save you… God will give you to me again with joy and gladness for ever”’.
Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
Almighty God, who out of the mouths of babes and nurslings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: mortify and kill all vices in us; and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith, even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon