THE HOLY INNOCENTS
Who is he? A cruel tyrant, known for the deaths he caused. In his own family alone the death roll comprises his own wife, two of his children, two of his uncles. Five days before his death, when his rotten body was already being eaten by worms, he ordered the murder of a third son of his. Herod is a clear example of how far a man can go when enslaved by passion. Heron was a victim of ambition; in his eyes all else was insignificant when it was a matter of upholding his throne and preserving his crown. As soon as he hears the news of the birth of a child-king, the thought of killing him flashes through his mind. And when he is let down by the Magi, he issues the terrible order to slaughter all children below the age of two.
Hear the wailing and screaming of those poor mothers. Try to picture the scenes of horror, of wrath and despair when the order was executed by the soldiers. See the blood of those innocent victims flowing abundantly. And try to imagine the anguish and fear of Mary. How would She press Her beloved child against Her heart in order to hide and protect Him, especially when She could hear the screaming of the mothers, when the butchery had already begun. You could imagine the hours of anguish through which she lived.
In front of this scene of blood and sorrow, reflect on the terrible consequences of passion, how far it can reach, what frightful results can follow. What a terrible evil is passion in spate! It totally blinds us and drags us to the abyss. It makes us fear what we need not fear and makes us disregard what we ought to fear most.
Herod fears a little Child whereas he does not fear the dreadful cruel sin he is committing. Passion can drag a man to anything, even to crime. Passion is never satisfied, never says enough. Moreover, when we yield to it, passion gives us nothing neither happiness nor contentment. What did Herod get out of that bloodshed?
Reflect on this, see how barren passion always is, how easily we let ourselves be overcome by it. Examine your soul; see whether any passion is trying to get the upper hand of you. Check it; clamp it down, lest it subdue you.
[Excerpted from 'MARIAN MEDITATIONS' Book by Rev. Dr. Ildefonso R. Villar, Salesian Philippine Province, Nihil Obstat; Imprimatur]