The Glories Of The Holy Innocents (1).

The Glories Of The Holy Innocents (1).


How happy were the innocent children to end their lives at so tender an age! Had they lived longer, they might have been among those who cried: “Crucify him! Crucify him!” and have gone to destruction. The parents of these children naturally wept and lamented, and believed themselves most unhappy, because their children were torn from them and cruelly slaughtered. They did not recognize the mercy that God showed them. Still, at this day, does the Almighty sometimes take children, by an early death, from their parents. That the latter feel this loss and weep and mourn over it, is but human, and is no sin; but they do wrong if they grieve

inordinately, or even murmur or complain against the decrees of the Almighty. They ought to think, God is the Lord of life and death; He has given the children; He can take them away again, without wronging any one. They should also think that an early death may be a great benefit to themselves and to their children; for, God perhaps foresaw that the parents would neglect the education of their children and thus condemn themselves, or that the children would lead a wicked life, and thus go to eternal perdition. By taking them thus early, He benefits the children and the parents, and deserves thanks instead of complaint. At least, the parents ought to submit to the divine will, and say from the depth of their hearts, what they have often said with their lips: “O Lord, Thy will be done”.

Herod undoubtedly did great sin in massacring, without just reason, so many innocent children. In our days, there are many who deprive an innocent child of its mortal life, or even endeavor to deprive it of the life to come. To the former of these belong all mothers, who destroy the fruit of their womb by imprudence or even by crime. In the same manner, those men, who ill-treat their wives, frequently become guilty of the same sin. Mothers again are guilty of it, who crush their children in sleep. To the second class belong those who murder their children before they are baptized, for without baptism they can never enter the kingdom of heaven. Secondly, all those persons who give scandal to innocent youth, either in word or deed; for example, when they speak impurely in their presence, sing bad songs, behave immodestly, or even entice them to do wrong. 

Thirdly, according to St. Chrysostom, those parents belong to this class, who, either by their example, or by neglecting to instruct their children, are the cause of many sins which their children commit. Further, those who do not duly punish-their children, and who do not earnestly endeavor to prevent their doing wrong.

Lastly, all those who lead their own children into the path of wickedness and sin. All these are child-murderers. Of the latter, St. Chrysostom says:

“Thus, parents, I say, are more vicious, more cruel than child-murderers; for, a murderer of children, as Herod was, separates only the body from the soul; while the others give the souls and bodies of their children to eternal flames.

Further, those who are killed would have died in the course of time, though they had not been murdered; while children neglected by their parents, might have avoided eternal death, had not the wickedness of their parents prepared it for them. Besides this, the general resurrection would have compensated for the bodily death, while the death and destruction of the soul nothing can restore. A child, condemned by the parent’s fault, has no hope of salvation, but has to suffer eternal pains. Hence I am right in saying that such parents are worse than child-murderers.”

As there is no doubt that all the above-mentioned classes of people commit great sin, they make themselves guilty of eternal punishment. Those who give scandal to the young should remember the terrible menace of Jesus Christ:

“He that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill-stone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Wo to that man by whom scandal cometh!” (Mark 9 v 42).

“Wo to him,” exclaimed, one day, a dying man, “who has led me to evil.” 

“And how will these corrupted souls, one day, cry for vengeance at the throne of the Almighty,” says St. Thomas of Villanova; “how will they rage in hell against him who corrupted them or gave them scandal!”

They also, who murder only the bodies of their children, will have to render an account, and may expect terrible punishment.

The blood of their children will cry for vengeance against them, as did the blood of Abel against Cain.

“The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth to me from the earth.” (Genesis, 4 v 10).

…to be continued

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