December 27, 2017

St. Augustine on the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Massacre of the Holy Innocents

On this feast, holy Mother Church honors the memory of Bethlehem’s innocent children slaughtered by the wicked monarch, Herod. Their blameless lives bear witness to Christ who was also persecuted by a world which would not receive Him. St. Augustine tells us that Herod’s evil was surpassed by the love of God.
Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today's feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven's blessing stream down upon them.
— St. Augustine
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Collect Prayer for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in your which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

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