Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

December 26, 2007

Prayer for the Holy Innocents


Many Catholic high schools sponsor worthwhile awareness events to highlight the tragedy of abortion. The Respect Life Club of Quigley High School in Baden, Pennsylvania raises money to sponsor assemblies with pro-life speakers. Besides awareness, many Catholic high school students are also involved in active prayer and protest. This January The Pro Life Club at McGill Toolen High School in Mobile, Alabama plans on sending a group of students to the annual Right to Life March at Washington D.C.

The week of Christmas is an appropriate time to remember these efforts of Catholic high school students on behalf of the unborn. Appropriate because December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the first innocent children to give their lives for Christ.

The Gospel of Matthew details much of their fate at the hands of King Herod, one of the cruelest rulers in all history. During his reign from 3o 4 B.C., Herod executed anyone he deemed a threat to his rule. He drowned his brother-in-law. A few years before the birth of Christ, Herod had two of his own sons and nearly 300 court officials who sided with them killed.

Herod felt endangered by the report of a newborn king of the Jews. He sent three magi as spies to Bethlehem to get information about Jesus. When the magi never returned and Herod realized he had been deceived, he became furious and "ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under" (Mt 2:16).

Who knows how many children were actually murdered? Given that Bethlehem was a small village of about 2,000 people, there were likely at least 30 boys of that age who were murdered.

Today, besides the thousands of unborn killed each day, there are many other innocent children who are remembered in prayer: the uncared for, unloved, and starving children who continue to live in our world.

Remember all of the Holy Innocents—those in Bethlehem and those today—this week in prayer. Think of other ways your school, perhaps through your campus ministry, can continue to offer support to the gift of life for all.

A PRAYER FOR THE UNBORN

Heavenly Father, in Your love for us, protect against the wickedness of the devil, those helpless little ones to whom You have given the gift of life.

Touch with pity the hearts of those women pregnant in our world today who are not thinking of motherhood.

Help them to see that the child they carry is made in Your image, as well as theirs, made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear of selfishness and give them true womanly hearts to love their babies and give them birth and all the needed care that a mother can give.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

Amen.

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