In this lesson we study the Holy Innocents in light of Scripture and understand their role in the unfolding of salvation's history, as well as the implications for us today who live in an age where the unborn may be murdered at will.
All CatechismClass Lessons follow our time-tested 7 Step format: Introduction, Opening Prayers, Scripture and Commentary, Catechism Passages, Integration of the Lesson Topic, an activity, and a closing prayer. Quizzes end each of the lessons.Preview This Lesson
Buy The Holy Innocents for only $3.99
INTROIT Out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise, O God, to confound thine enemies. Ps. O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth. Glory, etc.
In the Introit, the Church proclaims the wisdom of God in disconcerting the impious plans of Herod, and turning the murder of the Innocents into his own glory, by raising them to the dignity of Martyrs of Christ, whose praises they gratefully sing forever.
We begin with this reflection from Saint Peter Chrysologus explaining that the mystery of the slaughter of Holy Innocents is too complicated for our human understanding. But it is Christ's love for His Church which mysteriously permits such a horrific act by Herod. It is our loving Lord granting them His victory.
Brothers, our human understanding cannot explain the mystery of the Virgin birth. What nature does not possess comes from the Creator, not from nature; it is the Holy Spirit's work that flesh is unable to comprehend. When there is no evidence of human involvement that is a sign of God's action. Where there is nothing with which we are familiar here on earth, everything then is ordained by heaven. What does not come from the world cannot be understood by the wise of this world.
When conception preserves the virginity of the Mother, and in giving birth she remains a Virgin, this is not human involvement and thus is generated by the divine. God walks where no trace of human traffic can be found; custom loses its force when miracles are accomplished. Such signs show no respect for customs, uniqueness does not admit of a precedent, as revealed by little children fighting divine battles.
The whole cohort that arose alongside its King was eager to die before its King rather than die with Him. But what do we say about the fact that the King Himself, Who ought to have stood fast, fled at the warning of His Father? This fleeing is a sign of the most intimate kind of love, it is not a sign of cowardly fear. If Christ had stood fast, the synagogue would have them as sons, and the Church would not have them as martyrs.
Explanation of the Feast
The great liturgist Dom Gueranger explains the meaning by today's Feast. We continue our lesson by reading from his reflections:
The feast of the beloved Disciple is followed by that of the Holy Innocents. The Crib of Jesus — where we have already met and venerated the Prince of Martyrs and the Eagle of Patmos — has today standing round it a lovely choir of little Children, clad in snow-white robes, and holding green branches in their hands. The Divine ... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
The Holy Innocents is part of the following course(s):