Comments: Wholly Innocent

May God bless you Simon, and all those whose remember that God's will and blessings transcend any human manifestation.

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 10:09am GMT

Thanks for these reflections, Simon. We have worked hard to encourage people to observe these days after Christmass, although the 'flu has limited my own involvement to listening out, for 'Mr.Herbert's Saints Bell.'
They have also gone some way, for me, to make this site worth looking at again; latterly it seems to be becoming simply been a vehicle for (unjustifed), vicious, mostly anonymous comments about ++Rowan, which does both those posting, and the rightness (or otherwise) of their cause, little credit.

Posted by Fr.David at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 11:10am GMT

While the moral lesson you and the writer of the current BCP collect draw from today is important, you miss Matthew's point and that of much later devotion. The slaughter points back to that from which Moses is delivered. It introduces Jesus as deliverer and law-giver like Moses.

Later Christians honored the Innocents as baptised in blood and sang of them playing beneath the altar with their martyrs' crowns and palms. No matter what evil persons intend God brings forth great joy.
See also the Friday Morning Prayer collect.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

Amen, Fr. David.

This piece is exactly as I wished it would be. ;)

And happy new year to everyone!

Posted by Ren Aguila at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 1:47pm GMT

Yes, Simon, I echo the thanks for these late pieces which bring some inspiration into the fray. That these children were NOT Christians inspires me to ponder the wideness of God's mercy.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 2:26pm GMT

Thank you Simon. They will never get us down.
A happy and safe year to all, and to continue having a Merry Christmas!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 3:07pm GMT

It is not perhaps surprising that there is no historical verification of the event, because Nazareth was a very small village, so we are probably talking about six or seven children killed (not the huge gang of children so often portrayed in classical paintings) - consequently. not enough for the national media or record-keepers to make much of it.

Interestingly, according to the 125-50 AD "Protoevangelium of James", Mary hid the baby Jesus in the straw of a stable stall (the "manger" tradition?) so he wasn't found, while God opened a hole in a mountain (John's cave in the desert?) to hide Elizabeth and baby John so they too escaped the killing.

The developing theology of the event is shown in the fact that before Vatican II, universally the vestments for the commemoration were purple (in mourning) and they were then changed to red (for martyrdom).

The fact that the Church Universal commemorates unbaptized (i.e., non-Christian) children formally as "martyrs" (i.e., "saints in heaven") speaks rather clearly about salvation for the unbaptized -- remembering also that, according to biblical record, neither Joseph nor Mary were baptized either, but both are commemorated as "saints" (which was one of the arguments made for the Immaculate Conception - being conceived without sin, Mary supposedly needed no baptism to forgive that weird 4th-5th century idea of Original Sin).

Posted by John-Julian, OJN at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 3:33pm GMT

While the sanctimony of Fr David and friends reminds me why I dislike Christians as a whole (give me the vicious mud-slinging over po-faced holier-than-thouness anyday), I must add that I too really like these reflections. Much as it pains me to add a positive comment for once, this small homily is particularly inspiring. Thanks, Simon.

Posted by MRG at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 5:15pm GMT

Perhaps you are right, MRG, and I am just being holier than thou. It's just that, like yourself I'm sure, much of my time in the 'real world' is spent amid the mud-slinging. Even I need to come up for air once in a while. Could be we have a lot in common, criticising that within us we don't understand, or, as JM Barrie puts it, 'never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own.'

Posted by Fr.David at Friday, 28 December 2007 at 7:30pm GMT
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