Wherever I saw little kids playing in the streets as I drove home from church this morning, my mind and heart would turn to the picture in Saturday’s paper. And even now, as I try to write the next word, the word is grief. And the next is tears, because I have them now.
You know, the infant Jesus was threatened by violence himself. So, the Christmas story is not all sweetness and light. The Wise Men inquired of Herod where the newborn King of the Jews was born. Seething with diabolical fury because of his jealousy, Herod orders the massacre of all who resemble Jesus in gender and age.
Three days after Christmas each year, we thus have the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the very first martyrs. The Mass text proclaims:
The innocents were slaughtered as infants for Christ;
spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord.
I would think the same is true for our own dear innocent children ~ not that all of them are Christian, but that will in their own way sing for ever.
Psalm 124 states, “Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.” So, for many, an eternal life of happiness and a reunion with loved ones is indeed a consolation. But, for those who are left behind, especially the parents of these dearest ones, the trauma, the shock will take all the faith, all the courage, all the strength that they can muster to survive this tragedy.
Jesus’ Mother Mary is some help as an inspiration here and as someone to pray to. When Jesus was circumcised in the temple, the old man Simeon prophesied to Mary “a sword will pierce your soul.” We’ve all seen images of Michelangelo’s Pieta with Mary holding the dead body of her son in her lap. No one wants to bury their own child! When my best priest friend died at age 46, his Mom kept saying What a dirty trick, What a dirty trick.
So, here we are one week from Christmas Eve. The Church begins the wonderful ancient O Antiphons this evening at vespers. I’ve selected this one and the image for this post to match it because it will almost conclude my thought the day, but you must watch at least the first of two very powerful videos ~ Surely He hath borne our grief.
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
~ O Antiphons
The first powerful music video is Surely He hath borne our grief. The second one is equally powerful I know my Redeemer lives, and is sung by Al Green. You’ll find just to the right of your screen. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.
Remember to keep these people in Connecticut in your prayers,