28 December 2009

Martyrs for the Church, not sons of the synagogue

This short reflection from Saint Peter Chrysologus explains that the mystery of the slaughter of Holy Innocents is far too complicated for human understanding. But it is Christ’s love for His Church which mysteriously permits such a horrific act by Herod. It is our loving Lord granting them His victory.

Brothers, our human understanding cannot explain the mystery of the Virgin birth. What nature does not possess comes from the Creator, not from nature; it is the Holy Spirit’s work that flesh is unable to comprehend. When there is no evidence of human involvement, that is a sign of God’s action. Where there is nothing with which we are familiar here on earth, everything then is ordained by heaven. What does not come from the world cannot be understood by the wise of this world.

When conception preserves the virginity of the Mother, and in giving birth she remains a Virgin, this is not human involvement and thus is generated by the divine. God walks where no trace of human traffic can be found; custom loses its force when miracles are accomplished. Such signs show no respect for customs, uniqueness does not admit of a precedent, as revealed by little children fighting divine battles.

The whole cohort that arose alongside its King was eager to die before its King rather than die with Him. But what do we say about the fact that the King Himself, Who ought to have stood fast, fled at the warning of His Father? This fleeing is a sign of the most intimate kind of love, it is not a sign of cowardly fear. If Christ had stood fast, the synagogue would have them as sons, and the Church would not have them as martyrs.