Friday, December 28, 2012

Holy Innocents and the Problem of Evil

Today, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, is especially poignant given the murder of the children in Sandy Hook, CT just two weeks ago. I lost my faith at the age of twelve when I learned about the Jewish Holocaust. I still struggle with the problem of evil, why God allows it. I know it has to do with free will, but my little mind cannot wrap around why it has to be. The serpent had to be ...

Perhaps many of you have a difficult time with this as well. Here is today's reflection in Laudamus Te from Mother St. Paul. It doesn't explain the problem of evil, but it can give us a model to live in the face of evil.

"Only one child escaped the cruel sword of Herod, and that one was Mary's Son. He was safe in the arms of His Mother, who was fleeing with Him into Egypt, with an anguish of heart so great that it constituted the Second Dolor. But no design of Herod, however powerful and clever, could touch the life before His hour was come. The Child knew it, and His Mother knew it -- yet they fled from those who sought His life; for in all things Mary's Son must be made like unto His brethren. He could have protected Himself, had He so wished, without giving so much trouble and anxiety to His parents. He heard Rachel bewailing her children; He heard the cry of each one of those little Innocents, who was giving his life for Him -- yet He did not raise a finger to prevent all the misery, because He had come to do His Father's Will, and He left all in His Hands, and also because He is our model, and He was showing us how to act. He wants us to have perfect acquiescence in God's will, a boundless confidence, a profound peace, and even joy, in the midst of the most trying and perplexing circumstances. He wants us to lie quiet in God's arms, as He lay in His Mother's, content to know nothing except that God's will is being done."

It is hard to sit and do nothing in the culture of death that surrounds us. Millions of children are murdered in the womb. How can we reverse this? Prayer is my weapon.

O God, whose praise the martyred Innocents did this day proclaim, not by speaking, but by dying, do so put to death in us all the malice of sinfulness, that our lives may also proclaim Thy faith, which our tongue profess. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who with Thee lives and reigns. Amen.

Before midnight Mass we sang the Coventry Carol. We can never celebrate the birth of our Lord without also remembering those who die for Him. The Christmas Octave is quite bloody.


Faith E. Hough said...

The story of the Holy Innocents upset me deeply when I was little...well, it still does, actually. Back then I felt for all the little children; now, of course, I weep for their mothers. But I wonder if Herod isn't the most to be pitied. How could he live with that kind of sin on his soul, having rejected the only one who could grant him forgiveness?
The Coventry Carol is one of my favorites, though the second verse is heartbreaking. Every so often I heard it sung at churches where they regularly only sing two verses of any hymn--but what an awful sentiment to end on! It needs the redemption and arc that verse 3 brings!
Anyway, have a happy and blessed 4th day of Christmas!

mirrorsandmagicfrogs said...


Mirka Breen said...

The problem of free will and evil... The Jewish Talmud says "the greater a man is, the greater his capacity for evil." It's a meditation of the law of symmetry.
This is the way I have accepted the possibility of the Holocaust, and all the holocausts that came before and since. It speaks of the depravity we are capable of at the same time as it points to the greatness possible in us.
I see that symmetry in the story of Herod also. From the Christian perspective, it is part of the ushering of Christ.

Tammy Theriault said...

very deep post. wow

Vijaya said...

Faith, you have a bigger heart than me. When I first understood the reality of hell, I hoped nobody would be in it ... but in the next breath I thought, what kind of a heaven it would be with Hitler or Stalin in it. Or Herod.

I didn't realize that two verses were the norm. That's really awful for this carol.

Mirka, thank you for sharing from the Talmud. Yes, it is the law of symmetry. It is this terrible capacity of man's inhumanity towards man that makes me wish we didn't have free will.