Merry 4th Day of Christmas! And welcome to Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival; this is a weekly gathering of Catholic bloggers who share their posts for the week in a spirit of right good fellowship. The main site is here, at This That and the Other Thing where our hostess RAnn calls us together around her wassail bowl to sing Christmas Carols into the night. Well, in a virtual way, anyway.
|The Flight Into Egypt by Bartolome Esteban Murillo|
Today we celebrate the Fourth Day of Christmas, which is usually the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This day commemorates King Herod’s slaughter of every male child two years old and younger in Bethlehem in an attempt to snuff out the Messiah that he learned had been born there. This year, however, since the date of Holy Innocents falls on the Sunday after Christmas, it is being suppressed to make way for the Feast of the Holy Family.
The Change certainly makes for a more upbeat post. Normally, I would make the connection between the murder of the Holy Innocents two thousand years ago and the wholesale massacre of unborn children through abortion today. I might also mention that even those youngsters who have dodged the abortionist are robbed of their Holy Innocence by our pornified pop culture, causing all manner of suffering throughout their lives, and contributing in a significant way to all sorts of social pathologies.
Happily, thanks to the Feast of the Holy Family, I don’t need to write that post. It is interesting, however, that the two different feasts are really different sides of the same coin. The Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus is a model of God’s plan for the family; the slaughter of the Holy Innocents underscores how far we need to go, right now, to adhere to that model. It is likewise interesting that one of the few places in Scripture where we see the Holy Family in action is the same passage from Matthew’s Gospel that describes the Holy Innocents:
And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they [the Magi] departed to their own country by another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. (Matthew 2:12 -16)
Joseph, like fathers and fatherhood itself today, is often overlooked and forgotten. In the passage above, however, he is clearly the leader of the family. Like his Old Testament namesake, and the Wise Men from the East, he is warned in a dream, and takes action; he has the vision to guide and protect his family. The family in our day and age is badly in need of guidance and protection. On this Feast of the Holy Family, we would do well to pray for the intercession of its head and guardian (see here for my discussion of the Litany of St. Joseph).
And now, on to the Snippets. We started this past week in the Anticipation of Advent, and ended amidst the Joy of Christmas:
Monday – One of the loveliest Advent songs, lovingly sung: “Frederica von Stade – ‘Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming’” [here]
Tuesday – A woman and her doctor couldn’t be wrong, could they? “Abortion Myth # 14” [here]
Thursday – Posted on Christmas Day – if this isn't already your favorite Christmas song, it might be after you see this video: “Merry Christmas – Beautiful Celtic Version of ‘O Holy Night’” [here]
Friday – We need to pay attention to Mater Ecclesia and her Liturgical Calendar: here I announce my intention to honor each of the Twelve Days of Christmas, each at its proper time: “Christmas Is Just Beginning!” [here]
and – The 2nd Day of Christmas gives us our first martyr – here’s why it’s still a time for rejoicing: “The 2nd Day of Christmas & Feast of St. Stephen: Joy, Sorrow & Triumph” [here]
Saturday – The 3rd Day of Christmas is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, the only one of the Twelve Apostles who did not die a martyr; he was also the only Apostle who stood at the Foot of the Cross, the Disciple whom Jesus loved: “The 3rd Day of Christmas & St. John the Evangelist: The Disciple Jesus Loved” [here]