Saints of the Day ~ December 28

THE HOLY INNOCENTS, martyrs – Patron saints of babies

During this fourth day in the octave of Christmas, the universal Church commemorates the martyrdom of the male children in the village of Bethlehem who were put to death by King Herod of Judea, which can be found in the Gospel of Matthew 2:13-18.

Herod, perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, became furious and sent soldiers to kill all the male children two years old and younger who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding areas, having inquired from the magi beforehand when the Christ Child would have been born.

Sacrificed by a monarch who was fearful of his own crown and whose reign was marked by wickedness and atrocities, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ, who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which refused to receive Him. But the Church looks principally to the glory of these children, these innocent victims whom she shows us in Heaven following the Lamb wherever He goes.

Saint Augustine once wrote about these innocent babies, “…they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.”

These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of our Savior’s legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without ever having known it or experienced its wonders or dangers. May we always recognize the greatest treasure which God has placed on Earth – the human person, each to be accorded his or her own dignity, each destined for eternity, each graced by Jesus’ own Death and Resurrection.

In some areas of the world, this Feast is also known as Childermas or Children’s Mass. We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper of the Holy Innocents)

“Father, the Holy Innocents offered You praise by the death they suffered for Christ. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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