Friday, December 28, 2012

Feast of the Holy Innocents - 4th Day of Christmas

Over the last few years I have tried to share about the 12 Days of Christmas in both the whole as well as the  parts of this section of the Liturgical year.

Today being the Feast of the Holy Innocents is especially dear to my heart as we live in the culture of death and we see the murder of innocents each day and yet still our culture does not value these precious innocent lives.

Even with the passing of time, it seems we do not learn anything from the past. Still it seems that people will choose to not see fact that if we as a culture refuse to protect those who are the weakest and most in need of protection then surely we can see the fact that it will not be long before the question arises about who actually is worthy of life, and that no life is sacred at all unless it can be justified to those in power.

Sadly this is a wide held belief in our society and it is essential that we revere the lives of our holy innocents and thus preserve our society and thus the sanctity of ALL LIFE.

"During this octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the memory of the small children of the neighborhood of Bethlehem put to death by Herod. Sacrificed by a wicked monarch, these innocent lives bear witness to Christ who was persecuted from the time of His birth by a world which would not receive Him. It is Christ Himself who is at stake in this mass-murder of the children; already the choice, for or against Him, is put clearly before men. But the persecutors are powerless, for Christ came to perform a work of salvation that nothing can prevent; when He fell into the hands of His enemies at the time chosen by God it was to redeem the world by His own Blood.
Our Christmas joy is tempered today by a feeling of sadness. But the Church looks principally to the glory of the children, of these innocent victims, whom she shows us in heaven following the Lamb wherever He goes." Catholic Culture
One of the traditions that is promoted this day is the blessing of children.
As our children go to bed or as they leave to walk out our door or as we go out the door we  draw a cross upon each child's forehead and say "God Bless you"

Here is information about the blessing of children~

If you do not as yet have the custom, this is the day to begin the beautiful practice of blessing your children. There is a traditional Blessing of Children given by the priest in church on this day. If it is not a custom in your parish, perhaps it could become one if enough parents inquired about it. This is the way it reads in the new English Ritual [Editor's Note:: This is actually from the older version of the Roman Ritual. See the newer blessings.]
Let us pray. O Lord, Jesus Christ, Who didst embrace and lay thy hands upon the little children when they came to thee, and didst say to them: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs, and their angels always see the face of my Father," — look with a Father's eye upon the innocence of these children and their parents' devotion, and bless them this day through our ministry. By thy grace and goodness let them make progress in desiring thee, loving thee, fearing thee, obeying thy commandments — thus coming to their destined home, through thee, Saviour of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.
For parents there is the beautiful blessing of children for use at home: "Bless you, my child, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." It is a custom to add some loving petition such as "and may you have a sweet sleep"; or if a child is sick, "and may you be better by morning"; or if a child is anticipating some special occasion, something like "and may you have a lovely feast day tomorrow."
The father or mother places one hand on each side of the child's head as the words are pronounced and accompanies the invocation of the Trinity by making the Sign of the Cross with the right thumb on the child's forehead. It makes a beautiful end to a day, and it is an added source of confidence when starting on a journey, off to school, before exams, to the doctor, to the dentist — anywhere. Let us who are parents ask our parents to give us their blessing. ~ Catholic Culture

Blessings to you and your homes,

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