Thursday, December 28, 2017

4th Day of Christmas: Holy Innocents and Babies Saved by Christmas Carols

  Today, the 4th Day of Christmas, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which commemorates the slaughter of all male children in Bethlehem under two years old by King Herod's soldiers.  Herod had learned from the Magi that the Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, and feared that this Messiah would depose him.  As it happened, the Messiah (Jesus) escaped, and Herod went to his eternal reward (whatever that may have been) while Jesus was still an infant. You can read my post on the Holy Innocents (and Holy Innocence) HERE at Nisi Dominus.

Massacre of the Holy Innocents, Ludovico Mazzolino

    My post on the other site explores the ramifications of this terrible event in more detail, including its reflection in the modern day abortion industry and our pornified culture. Here I would like to focus briefly on the connection of the Holy Innocents to an article on [Dec. 23rd, 2016], “Pro-life Christmas carolers save six babies in Orlando, more in other areas by touching hearts with their singing”.  The article details some amazing rescues, not only in Florida, but across the country:

Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler described for LifeSiteNews how three different couples turned around and walked away from abortion this year as carolers sang outside Family Planning Associates abortion center in San Bernardino, California.

A compelling feature of the story is that the Christmas Carols themselves seem to have been the decisive factor in changing the minds of people who had come to the clinics intent on aborting a child:

. . . At least one couple was greatly moved by the hymns.

“What impressed me about this report is they actually stopped to tell the caroler group that they changed their mind,” Scheidler stated.
“The couple told them, ‘It was because of your caroling that we decided to keep our baby,’” he said. “The singing was the only thing that happened to change their mind.”
A group in Illinois reports similar results:
"We're having a baby! We changed our minds," a woman called out joyfully to Northwest Families for Life group caroling Tuesday, December 20, in conjunction with Pro-Life Action League’s “Peace in the Womb” Caroling Days in Wood Dale, Ill.
When they met the couple at the car, the group’s co-founder, Maria Goldstein, told LifeSiteNews, the man said to them with a big smile on his face, "Thank you. You're doing a great job!"  
“What exactly was the "great job" we did?” Goldstein said. “We didn't counsel them on the way in; we didn't talk them out of the abortion; we weren't able to show them pictures of developing babies.”  
“All we did was show up, pray, and sing,” she continued. “Maybe they heard our carols inside and felt God tug at their hearts. I guess that really is a "great job!" We got to bring the power of God to this dark place. God is good.”
    God is indeed good.  These stories of the babies saved by carolers cast an interesting light on both the Nativity of Jesus and today’s Feast of the Holy Innocents.  The Incarnation and Nativity came about because, while our efforts are necessary  - “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17) - they are not sufficient.  In the end, we can’t save ourselves, or anyone else, all by ourselves: only the power of God can do that.  In the Life Site story, the Holy Spirit working through sacred Christmas songs changed hearts that were not moved by human arguments.
    The fate of the children killed by Herod’s soldiers in Bethlehem likewise illustrates this point.  Nobody was able to save them from unjust slaughter, they were too young to have any intellectual knowledge of God, and, since Jesus himself was still a baby, baptism was not available to them.  And yet the Church assures us that these little ones did not die in vain, and that they enjoy the reward of Heaven (you can read a short, concise explanation here). They were beyond the help of human agency, but “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  If we do our part, God will do the rest.
    An interesting aside: at one time, the story of these poor murdered children itself inspired a large number of songs.  The best known today (the only one, to my knowledge, that is still regularly performed) is The "Coventry Carol" (lyrics below), dating from the 16th century.  The spare, hauntingly beautiful rendition in the clip below is performed by Valeria Mignaco and Alfonso Marin.

1. Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.

2. O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

3. Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

4. Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child,
By by, lully lullay.

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