Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It is the day we remember the infants slaughtered by Herod out of fear of the power of Jesus.
Many of my friends commented that this day often goes by without much notice. This year, the day was given new meaning, though for painful and unfortunate reasons. For those of us close to the recent tragedy in Newtown, we immediately connected the innocent lives taken by Herod with those taken by Adam Lanza(including his own). Both are a testament to the destructive forces of fear and hate.
By extremely appropriate coincidence, last night one of my friends held a small prayer service in response to the tragedy in Newtown, CT. The overarching theme of the night was to remind us of our all important task of bringing hope and light to a world of increasing darkness. My friend who organized the night wrote a beautiful meditation which can be found here.
We sang a hymn which was new to me, ‘All Hail, Ye Infant Martyr Flowers’. The song touched me deeply and I wanted to share it here. I couldn’t find a recording of it, but here are the lyrics:
1. All hail! ye infant Martyr-flowers,
Cut off in life’s first dawning hours:
As rosebuds, snapt in tempest strife,
When Herod sought your Saviour’s life.
2. You, tender flock of lambs, we sing,
First victims slain for Christ your King:
Beneath the Altar’s heav’nly ray
With Martyr-palms and crowns ye play.
3. For their redemption glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee,
With Father, and with Holy Ghost,
For ever from the Martyr-host. Amen.
On December 14th, this verse from the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents was all over Facebook: “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.”