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Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave

Quote/s of the Day – 28 December – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave

“We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the white-robed army of martyrs praise you.”

From the Te Deumwe-praise-you-o-god-te-deum-28-dec-2017

“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.”these-then whom herod's cruelty - st augustine-28-dec-2017

”The precious death of any martyr
deserves high praise
because of his heroic confession;
the death of these children
is precious in the sight of God
because of the beatitude
they gained so quickly.
For already, at the beginning
of their lives, they pass on.
The end of the present life
is for them the beginning of glory.”

St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Churchthe-precious-death-st-augustine-28-dec-2017

“The star of Bethlehem
shines forth in the dark night of sin.
Upon the radiance
that goes forth from the manger,
there falls the shadow of the cross.
In the dark of Good Friday, the light is extinguished
but it rises more brightly, as the sun of grace.
on the morning of the resurrection.
The road of the incarnate Son of God,
is through the cross and suffering.
to the splendour of the resurrection.
To arrive with the Son of Man,
through suffering and death,
at this splendour of the resurrection,
is the road for each one of us,
for all mankind.”

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

[Edith Stein] (1891-1942)the star of bethlehem shines forth in the dark night - st teresa benedicta 28dec2018

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents: Martyrs – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave

Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents: Martyrs – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

902px-Nicolas_Poussin_-_Le_massacre_des_Innocents_-_Google_Art_Project
Nicolas Poussin – The Massacre of the Innocents

During this octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children of the neighbourhood of Bethlehem put to death by Herod.

Sacrificed by a wicked monarch, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him.   It is Christ Himself who is at stake in this mass-murder of the children, already the choice, for or against Him, is put clearly before men.   But the persecutors are powerless, for Christ came to perform a work of salvation that nothing can prevent, when He fell into the hands of His enemies at the time chosen by God, it was to redeem the world by His own Blood.holy-innocents-rachel-weeping

Our Christmas joy is tempered today by a feeling of sadness.   But the Church looks principally to the glory of the children, of these innocent victims, whom she shows us in heaven following the Lamb wherever He goes.

poussin - the holy inncoents
Nicholas Poussin – The Holy Innocents

One of the most cherished carols of the Christmas season is often presented as a melody without lyrics.   For this reason, the tune is familiar but the words of the carol are not. The carol of which I am referring to is known as the Coventry Carol, which originates in a 16th century “mystery play” called the Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors.   The play and the song concern the massacre of the young children of Bethlehem at the command of King Herod, a story that is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew.   The Coventry Carol is a lament that is imagined in the play to have been sung by the mothers whose children have been murdered by Herod’s cruelty, it combines the sound of their weeping with the gentle cadences of a lullaby:

Lullay thou little tiny child,
By, by lully lullay.

O sisters, too how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
By by 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 say;
For thy parting, no say nor sing
By by lully lullay

The Holy Innocents saved the Child Jesus from death by King Herod, by the shedding of their own blood.   The Holy Innocents are the special patrons of small children, who can please the Christ Child by being obedient and helpful to parents and by sharing their toys and loving their siblings and playmates.

The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children.   From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion.   But parents can simply sign a cross on the child’s forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say:  “May God bless you and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mind—the Father, + Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”

For more information, patronages etc here:  https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/saints-of-the-day-feast-of-the-holy-innocents-28-december-4th-day-of-the-christmas-octave/

Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_-_Slaughter_of_the_Innocents_detail_-_WGA06764
Duccio di Buoninsegna – Slaughter of the Innocents
Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARTYRS, QUOTES on SUFFERING, SAINT of the DAY

Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave

Saints of the Day – Feast of the Holy Innocents – 28 December – 4th Day of the Christmas Octave – Patronages – • against ambition•against jealousy• altar servers•babies•children• children’s choir• choir boys• foundlings• students.   The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical account of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews.   According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi.   In typical Matthean style, it is understood as the fulfilment of an Old Testament prophecy:

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying,  A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping,  Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because her children are no more.’

The number of infants killed is not stated.   The Holy Innocents, although Jewish, have been claimed as martyrs for Christianity and the Feast of the Holy Innocents has long been celebrated.holy-innocents-day-4-christmasholy-innocents2016

Taken from THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Christmas II, by Abbot Dom Guéranger.
1 A.D.

THE feast of the beloved Disciple, St John is followed by that of the Holy Innocents.   The Crib of Jesus, where we have already met and venerated the Prince of Martyrs and the Eagle of Patmos, has today standing round it a lovely choir of little Children, clad in snow-white robes and holding green branches in their hands.   The Divine Babe smiles upon them:  He is their King and these Innocents are smiling upon the Church of God. Courage and Fidelity first led us to the Crib;  Innocence now comes and bids us tarry there.

685px-1824_Navez_Das_Massaker_der_Unschuldigen_anagoria
François-Joseph NavezThe massacre of the innocents, 1824

Herod intended to include the Son of God amongst the murdered Babes of Bethlehem. The Daughters of Rachel wept over their little ones and the land streamed with blood but the Tyrant’s policy can do no more, it cannot reach Jesus and its whole plot ends in recruiting an immense army of Martyrs for Heaven.   These Children were not capable of knowing what an honour it was for them to be made victims for the sake of the Saviour of the world but the very first instant after their immolation, all was revealed to them, they had gone through this world without knowing it and now that they know it, they possess an infinitely better.   God showed here the riches of His mercy, He asks of them but a momentary suffering and that over, they wake up in Abraham’s Bosom, no further trial awaits them, they are in spotless innocence and the glory due to a soldier who died to save the life of his Prince belongs eternally to them.

holy-innocentsdec28
Guido ReniMassacre of the Innocents

They died for Jesus’ sake, therefore, their death was a real Martyrdom and the Church calls them by the beautiful name of the Flowers of the Martyrs because of their tender age and their innocence.   Justly then does the ecclesiastical Cycle bring them before us today, immediately after the two valiant Champions of Christ, Stephen and John.   The connection of these three Feasts is thus admirably explained by St Bernard- “In St Stephen, we have both the act and the desire of Martyrdom;   in St John, we have but the desire;   in the Holy Innocents, we have but the act. . . . Will anyone doubt whether a crown was given to these Innocents? . . . If you ask me what merit could they have that God should crown them?   Let me ask you what was the fault for which Herod slew them?   What! is the mercy of Jesus less than the cruelty of Herod and whilst Herod could put these Babes to death, who had done him no injury, Jesus may not crown them for dying for Him?”santos-inocentes-2holy-innocents-matteo-di-giovanni600px-Matteo_di_Giovanni_002

Giotto_di_Bondone_-_No._21_Scenes_from_the_Life_of_Christ_-_5._Massacre_of_the_Innocents_-_
GiottoMassacre of the Innocents

Stephen, therefore, is a Martyr by a Martyrdom of which men can judge, for he gave this evident proof of his sufferings being felt and accepted, that, at the very moment of his death, his solicitude both for his own soul and for those of his persecutors increased;  the pangs of his bodily passion were less intense than the affection of his soul’s compassion, which made him weep more for their sins than for his own wounds.   John was a Martyr, by a Martyrdom which only Angels could see, for the proofs of his sacrifice being spiritual, only spiritual creatures could ken them.   But the Innocents were Martyrs, to none other eye save Thine, O God!   Man could find no merit,  Angel could find no merit, the extraordinary prerogative of Thy grace is the more boldly brought out.   From the mouth of the Infants and the Sucklings Thou hast perfected praise.   The praise the Angels give Thee is- Glory be to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will it is a magnificent praise, but I make bold to say that it is not perfect till He cometh Who will say:   “Suffer little Children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”

Peter_Paul_Rubens_Massacre_of_the_Innocents
RubensMassacre of the Innocents,