When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Matthew 2:16
Mother Mary was well aware of the fury of Herod. She was aware of the fact that countless innocent children suffered death on account of her own Son. She and Saint Joseph had fled to Egypt to protect Jesus, and when Herod found out, he issued orders for a massacre of all those precious children.
The evil that some are capable of is shocking and overwhelming. How could Herod do such a thing and how could he do so on accountof Mary’s own Son, Jesus? This massacre was the first clear sign to her that her life and that of her Son would be marked with suffering and pain.
But the martyrdom of those holy children should not leave us with shock and sorrow alone. We must look beyond their suffering and see their witness. They suffered on account of the Son of God. They were martyrs in the truest sense.
The suffering of those innocent children should teach us that the full embrace of suffering is a holy calling. This is especially the case when we are innocent in our suffering. So often, when we encounter the malice of another, we tend to revolt, get angry and rebel as we profess the injustice inflicted upon us. But this is not what these innocent martyrs did.
Many years later, as Mother Mary stood before the Cross of her Son, she would have been aware of His full and willing embrace of martyrdom. What He was saved from many years before was now coming to fruition. She would have pondered the deaths of those innocent children so long ago as she pondered the freely embraced sacrifice of her Son on the Cross.
Reflect, today, upon the difficult truth that you are called to give witness to Christ. You are called to give witness by embracing every form of unjust suffering you endure in life. You are called to embrace it freely, without anger and without opposition. Seek to understand the form of martyrdom that our Lord is calling you to embrace. As you do, rejoice that you are counted worthy to share in such a glorious witness.
Dearest Mother, your strength is glorious. You witnessed so much brutality in your life, yet you never wavered in faith. Your martyrdom was a martyrdom in spirit and it was the result of your unwavering love.
Help me, dear Mother, to never give in to anger or despair as I see the evil of the world around me. Help me to remain steadfast in faith and in hope, trusting always in your motherly intercession.
Dear Lord, You allowed the innocent to suffer on account of Your own presence in the world. When You allow me to suffer, give me the strength and grace I need to accept these martyrdoms with confidence and hope. May I follow Your own glorious example and that of those holy innocents.
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