"He is an Offering for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world." —1 John 2:2
Today is the feast day of the Holy Innocents, the infants King Herod ordered slaughtered within two years following the appearance of the star to the Wise Men (Mt 2:16). The Church holds in the highest regard these innocent children, these martyrs. "They died not only for Christ, but in his stead" (St. Augustine, "Sermon 10 on holiness").
Are there innocent babies being aborted today, dying because of what we had done or maybe because of what we have not done? (see 1 Jn 1:8, 10; Mt 2:18)
Once I saw a photo of a statue of Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and a donkey lying in a big heap, depicting their complete exhaustion in the effort to protect Jesus from being slain (cf Mt 2:13). The statue, which can be seen at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is entitled, "The Holy Family Resting — The Flight into Egypt." According to the description, "this sculpture represents Jesus, Mary and Joseph struggling, against great obstacles, to foster family life and preserve their faith in a loving and merciful God."
Every one of us can certainly identify with the exhaustion of the Holy Family. Let us commit ourselves, with an eternal focus, to work to exhaustion to protect and proclaim the Gospel of Life.
Prayer: Father, give me the grace to work until exhaustion for You.
Promise: "If we say, 'We have never sinned,' we make Him a liar and His Word finds no place in us." —1 Jn 1:10
Praise: The Holy Innocents were the first of countless witnesses to the only Holy One. They are a sign of hope for all those little ones who have died in the state of innocence.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004