28 December 2008

Family and Children

Today is the feast of the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph provide the model for all family life--a loving mother and father, a holy and obedient child. This model of family life is under attack in modern times in a way it never was in the past, from parents who neglect or abandon their children, from children who do not honor their parents or care for them in their old age, from people who think that children do not need both a mother and a father, from married couples who decide never to have children, and from society in general that does not value or support true childhood, motherhood, or fatherhood.

In the light (or darkness) of the recent election, and the looming threat of the Freedom of Choice Act, it seems somehow appropriate that the feast of the Holy Family should fall on December 28th this year, a day on which we usually remember the innocent baby boys that were slaughtered on Herod's orders: the Holy Innocents.

This year, because today is a Sunday, the blood of the Holy Innocents is, as it were, washed away by the Holy Family. This can happen in real life, too. Only if we as a society truly esteem and celebrate family life can we ensure that the slaughter of millions of modern innocents in hospitals and abortion clinics around the world will cease. When I was younger, I used to joke about the feast with which I share my birthday, saying that it was a good day to be born a girl, since all the Holy Innocents were boys and Herod's minions would not have come after me. But today's massacre knows no sex--boys and girls alike are killed in their mothers wombs, and in some countries, many more girls than boys fall victim. I don't joke about it anymore. Rather, because of the day on which I was born, I feel a special call to pray for an end to the needless deaths of innocent children. There are many other people who ought to have been turning 24 today, just like me, but who never had a birthday because their mothers thought abortion was the only way out of a difficult situation.

Pray with me. Pray for the intercession of the Holy Family. Jesus, have mercy on us. Mary and Joseph, pray for us.

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