Meditations - 28th December: The Holy Innocents
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will consider tomorrow in our meditation: First, what happiness it was for the Holy Innocents to die for Jesus Christ; Second, what happiness it is for every Christian to suffer, although he be innocent. We will then make the resolution: First, to esteem the troubles of this present life as the guarantee of happiness to come and cheerfully to accept such a portion of the cross as it shall please God to send us ; Second, often to recall to ourselves the words of the Apostle: "For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory" (IL Cor. iv. 17). Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of St. Peter : "If you suffer anything for justice' sake, blessed are ye " (I. Pet. iii. 14).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore Jesus Christ who came into the world to save us and pursued by the world which desires to put Him to death. What a contrast of good and evil! Let us bless Him for this goodness; let us ask pardon of Him for this malice, and let us say with a loving and humble heart : How good God is, and how worthless is man!
What Happiness it was for the Holy Innocents to Die for Jesus Christ
First. To die in place of Jesus Christ, to shed their blood in order that His might be spared who is there that does not comprehend all the glory which accrued thereby to the Holy Innocents, and with how much honour they would be received by the just of the Old Law, when they went to announce to them the coming of the Messias, awaited so long? Second. To give testimony to Jesus Christ, not by words, but by blood, as the Church says; above all, to be the first to render Him this testimony; the first in the career of martyrs; the first victims immolated like tender lambs, to celebrate the birth of the Lamb without spot, who had come to wipe away the sins of the world ; the first flowers of the harvest of martyrs, the first-born of the Church which the Saviour had come to found-who can understand so much happiness? Third. To triumph over the world before having known it, to have received life only to sacrifice it, and to conquer, so soon after their birth, a blessed immortality was not that also a great happiness? If the Holy Innocents had lived longer, perhaps, instead of being numbered amongst the blessed, they would have been amongst those who crucified Our Lord, and who were afterwards eternally damned. Their mothers, who knew nothing of this mystery of grace, were inconsolable. Thus do we act ourselves, in certain circumstances which are, however, only the effects of divine mercy. Let us learn from hence to abandon ourselves with confidence and love to Providence, who, knowing better than we do what is best, knows how to draw good out of what seems to us to be evil, and disposes every thing for the greatest good of His elect.
What happiness it is to Suffer, being Innocent.
When, in a life which is without reproach, we suffer with calmness and resignation, we share in the happiness of the Holy Innocents; we attest, not only our faith in Jesus Christ, the head and model of suffering souls, but also the power of His grace, which sustains human weakness under the weight of the cross; the excellence of the religion which alone makes strong and great souls; the magnificence of our hopes beyond the tomb ; lastly, the truth of those evangelical doctrines which the world has so much difficulty in believing: "Blessed are they that suffer" (Matt. v. ro) ; "Blessed are they that mourn" (Ibid. 5) ; '' lf you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice" (I. Pet. iv. 13); "That which is of the honour, glory, and power of God resteth upon you" (Ibid. 14). It is by suffering whilst innocent that the Holy Innocents obtained eternal happiness, and no Christian can obtain it otherwise. To be innocent and to suffer is the character of the predestinate; it is the guarantee of the love which God bears the soul, and the measure of the happiness which He destines for it in Paradise; it is the most perfect feature of resemblance to Jesus· Christ, and the surest guarantee of heaven. Oh, how we deceive ourselves, then, when we hate or fly from suffering, when we look upon it as being an abandonment by God, or when we bear it with an ill grace, which takes from it all its merit. Is not this our history, and do we not too often fall into this error?
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.