The Word Among Us

Personal Spirituality Resources

Remembering the Innocents

. . . and praying for every child of God

Remembering the Innocents: . . . and praying for every child of God

Just over three weeks ago, the Church observed the feast of the Holy Innocents, remembering the male children aged two or younger that were martyred on Herod’s orders in Bethlehem and its surrounding area.

On January 22, we will observe a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. In any age, the murder of innocent, defenseless children is an unspeakable horror. Who of us could not be moved to great sorrow—even anger—by such acts of violence? How could Herod order such an abominable act?

The truth is that sin and evil are harsh realities of our world. It is just as true today as it was in Herod’s time. Even today, despots like Herod terrorize their own people. And even today, innocent children are being killed throughout the world through abortion. Thousands die each day. How could such destruction of life be legal today, and how will this horror ever be stopped?

Prayer. More than anything else, we need to be asking the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of people so that they will see the horror of abortion and work to end it. Laws can go only so far. It is only when the Holy Spirit touches a person that a real transformation happens. That’s when someone turns from darkness to light, embracing the truth about the dignity of every human life.

As we seek God about ways to overcome the murder of innocents in our day, it is important to remember that those who are complicit in this tragedy are children of God no less than those who cherish all life. While abortion is a great evil, we must remember that every person who participates in this evil is still deeply loved by our Father in heaven and endowed with great dignity.

Remember: it was Jesus’ unbounded mercy that melted the heart of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50). It was the father’s extravagant love that welcomed the prodigal son back home and bestowed him with great honor (15:11- 24). And it was the look of love in Jesus’ eyes that moved Peter to weep tears of repentance after he denied the Lord (22:60-62).

May we too look upon everyone around us as our brother or sister. May we look upon them with the same mercy and compassion with which Jesus does. And may the witness of our humble love, our peace in every circumstance, and our joy in life help soften hardened hearts!

“Lord Jesus, please pour out the Holy Spirit upon every person who needs the grace of conversion in order to see the preciousness of each human life.”