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Archive for December, 2012

The Holy Innocents of Newtown

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By now all the world is aware of the horrendous massacre of 20 children and six teachers in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school on 14 December 2012. This posting is intended to honor their memory and to ask for prayers for their parents, friends and loved ones who bear the brunt of the pain and horror this ultrage against human dignity has brought.

The evil that was wrought by this slaughter is, of course, reminiscent of the slaughter of the “Holy Innocents” of Bethlehem by King Herod in the aftermath of the birth of Christ. The Church celebrates a Holy Day in honor of these little “martyrs” on the 28th of December each liturgical year. (see: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07419a.htm)

– Regarding the Blessed Innocence of Children Jesus said:

Jesus Welcomes Children

Jesus Welcomes Children

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Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:13-14)

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– Regarding the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, St. Augustine said:

Holy Innocents of Bethlehem

Holy Innocents of Bethlehem

“Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers’ womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. 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. 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.               (St. Augustine)

26 Candles

A blessed candle for each …That to Heaven our prayers may reach

Regarding the Holy Innocents of Newtown, the Anglican Diocese of All Saints says :
(Posted by Deacon Val on December 16, 2012 in Prayer_)
Although the Feast of Holy Innocents is December 28th, being mindful of the shooting on Friday, December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, let us pray this prayer daily from now through that Holy Day:
~ Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.
~ Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.
~ Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.
~ Holy Innocents, you were murdered at the hands of men who probably felt they were merely following orders, pray for all who act against their consciences that they may turn to God for strength to do what is right.
~Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.
~ Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.
~ Holy Innocents, you did not know Jesus during your brief lives, but now you praise Him for all eternity, pray for all those who do not know Jesus that they may open their minds to His voice and their hearts to His love.
~Holy Innocents, you died as infants and toddlers, pray for those who are in danger of dying before they are even born through the horrors of abortion that their mothers may recognize the sanctity of all life, turn to God for help, and give their babies a chance to live.
~Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God’s love forever. Amen.
(excerpted from the Blog: http://www.themdas.org/a-prayer-to-the-holy-innocents/)

Jesus, welcomes every child to His Kingdom

Jesus, welcomes every child to His Kingdom

– Daily Reading & Meditation
(By Don Schwager, as excerpted from: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/dec28.htm)
Friday (December 28): “Rachel weeping for her children”
~ Scripture: Matthew 2:13-18
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and  flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.

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~ Meditation: Who can explain suffering, especially the suffering of innocent children? Herod’s massacre of children who gave their lives for a person and a truth they did not know seemed so useless and unjust. What a scandal and stumbling block for those who can’t recognize God’s redeeming love. Why couldn’t God prevent this slaughter? Suffering is indeed a mystery. No explanation seems to satisfy our human craving to understand. What does Paul the Apostle mean when he says: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose (Romans 8:28)?  These innocent children and their parents suffered for Christ. Suffering, persecution, and martyrdom are the lot of all who chose to follow Jesus Christ. There is no crown without the cross. It was through Jesus’ suffering, humiliation, and death on a cross, that our salvation was won. His death won life – eternal life for us. And his blood which was shed for our sake obtained pardon and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.
Suffering takes many forms: illness, disease, handicap, physical pain and emotional trauma, slander, abuse, poverty, and injustice. Jesus exclaimed that those who weep, who are reviled and persecuted for righteousness sake are blessed (Matthew 5:10-12). The word blessed [makarios in the Greek] literally means happiness or beatitude. It describes a kind of joy which is serene and untouchable, self-contained and independent from chance and changing circumstances of life. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that “no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the joy of a life fully surrendered to God with faith and trust?
“Lord, you gave your life for my sake, to redeem me from slavery to sin and death.  Help me to carry my cross with joy that I may willingly do your will and not shrink back out of fear or cowardice when trouble besets me.”
(www.dailyscripture.net – Copyright © 2012-2013 Don Schwager )

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