The feast of The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28th, really pricks my heart. Therefore, I find it rather disappointing that it seems to pass by each year without much attention. Certainly the Church calendar is dotted with the memorials of so many great martyrs, but the Holy Innocents offer us a particular model for our current culture.
King Herod’s Rabid Pursuit
King Herod, in his pursuit to maintain power, control and ego, could not bear the notion of a rival. And when he realized the Magi had deceived him by not returning, his rabid pursuit was further fueled by blind fury.
In order to eradicate his worries, he decreed that all male children aged two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity were to be systematically murdered. His ever-obedient soldiers carried out the orders and one by one snuffed out the very life breath of so many tiny bodies.
A Mother’s Horror
Jesus, of course, was spared as Joseph had been warned in a dream to flee Bethlehem. Imagine, though, Mary and Joseph’s horror upon learning of the massacre.
Any parent who has ever relinquished a child from this life knows all too well the deep, piercing pain that penetrates their very bones. I imagine the midwives, who had only recently shared in the joyful births of the Innocents, must have been overwhelmed with grief and shock as they heard the wailing of so many helpless parents.
Honor the Precious Souls
How then can we do a better job of honoring those precious souls? Well, we can start by recognizing that the destruction continues. Today the pride and greed of Herod sometimes looks like parents who prefer their own comfort, status, and ego to the sacrifices required by parenthood. Today Herod’s soldiers look a lot like doctors wielding abortion tools and prescription pads.
While everyone is crafting their list of resolutions for the coming New Year, why not consider replacing the old, tired promises for self-improvement with some serious pro-life commitments?
14 Ideas for Pro-life Warriors
To get you started, here are 14 ideas that you can implement as a pro-life warrior this year.
- Grab your mittens and hand-made signs and head to Washington, DC for the March for Life. Every year hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers fill the streets in peaceful protest against the decision of Roe vs. Wade which was about as just as Herod’s decree. By the way, we’ve attended with our whole crew so taking your family is doable with a bit of planning.
- Too far from D.C.? Look for a local March and attend.
- Write letters to your representatives, congressman, newspaper, etc. and tell them you care about life; all life. Remind them you use your vote accordingly. And with an incoming President who promised to address the issue of abortion, remember to hold President-elect Trump accountable.
- Ask your doctor if he/she is pro-life. If you trust them to help protect your life, you should know their position. If they have no problem killing in the womb, you shouldn’t be so confident they care about life outside the womb.
- Educate yourself about the abortifacient components of contraceptives. Abortion is contraceptive back-up. If your doctor prescribes contraceptives, he/she is not sincerely pro-life.
- If you have prayerfully discerned a call to postpone pregnancy, use Fertility Awareness Methods only. Not sure what that entails? No problem, take a class- learn more.
- Pray at your local abortion mill. The women, men and unborn children heading into those houses of slaughter need your prayers. Pray a novena in your home for an end to abortion.
- Give to Pregnancy-Care Centers and other organizations that provide support and financial assistance to families in crisis and expectant mothers. Volunteer with Project Rachel.
- Read the catechism and Humanae Vitae so that you are fully informed on the Church’s teaching on this matter. Then, be sure you share that Truth far and wide.
- Educate your children on the matter (often). Teach them to hate the sin and love the sinner. Teach them to pray for the unborn, their confused parents and the Herods of our culture.
- Share your story. Talk to your friends about the importance of taking an active part in pro-life events. Write a blog post chronicling your participation in a pro-life activity. Make a video detailing your parish or group’s involvement in pro-life ministry. If you’ve been scarred by abortion, let others know.
- Wear your heart on your sleeve or perhaps just a bumper sticker (or ten) on your car. Our family van is plastered with pro-life messages (and while we have on occasion gotten a “You’re #1 middle finger”), I often find people (young and old) taking the time to stop and read the quick, catchy messages. Considering how we are bombarded with a near constant stream of advertisements and cliches, I think it is important to offer a counterbalance.
- Support your priest if he is courageous enough to speak the Truth from the pulpit. If you haven’t heard a homily on the sin of abortion, contraception or other anti-life issues, ask him (politely) why he isn’t teaching on those critical lessons. Let him know your impressionable kids need to hear the Truth.
- Love. Love your family and stay committed to your marriage vows. Love your sons and daughters by giving them your time, attention and support. Love your neighbor by donating time, money or supplies. Love children who have been born by offering encouragement and help to their moms and dads.
Jeremiah the prophet foretold the destruction of the Holy Innocents when he wrote,
Rachel's weeping can still be heard today. Let's use this year to console her sorrowing heart. Click To Tweet
A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” (Matt 2:17-18)
There is no time like NOW to put on the armor of righteousness and engage in the battle for today’s Holy Innocents.
*this post was originally written in December 2013