Wednesday, December 28, 2016


"Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning: Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." From the Gospel of St. Matthew, read on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The Feast of the Holy Innocents has been celebrated since at least the 5th Century. There are other martyr's feasts during the 12 days of Christmas, of course, but this particular feast has always seemed to be to be particularly sorrowful. It is not on account of the little martyrs - they went to Heaven, to sit beside the Christ Child, giving their own lives that He might live to give His. No, it is on account of the quoted prophecy, "Rachel bewailing her children and would not be comforted, because they are not." The poor mothers. There cannot be many phrase containing so much grief and heartbreak in so few words. Indeed, in Rome, it was originally kept as a day of fasting in penance, and the Alleluia and the Glory are not sung during the Mass - the only day during Christmas when this occurs. 

However, a number of cheerful and even mad-capped traditions eventually became associated with the day - some of which have continued into modern times. A very good account of them may be found here. At the very bottom of the page there is also the fascinating reminder that the Novena to the Magi starts today. I had no idea that there was such a novena! I think I shall say it, with all do solemnity. 

Originally, I had rather wanted to post something new as far as songs go - but the Coventry Carol is the only carol I have come across for this day, which does make sense. I cannot decide which version I like better, so you are getting one by John Denver, because he's one of those classy old singers who doesn't feel as if he needs to torture the tune to make it "his". He just sings it, and it is refreshing. You are also getting it in Aramaic, because.... why not? It seemed fitting. 

No comments: