Day Four — Saturday 28 December 2019 — The Holy Innocents

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia


Jeremiah 31.15-20 | Psalm 124 | 1 John 1.5-2.2 | Matthew 2.13-18 |


An innocent slaughtered, near Dar El Shifa hospital in Aleppo, 3 October 2013. Photograph: Manu Brabo.


We remember today, O God, Herod's slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem. Receive into the arms of your mercy all victims of violence, by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants, and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Impulses of Deeper Birth
Felicity Currie

Where can the persecuted find a berth,
A stable land that can be called a home?
No company of shepherds or of cattle,
Just bombs and drones that give birth to death’s rattle.
Grave beckons whether you lie still or roam—
You might as well be born under the earth.
Whether we choose to celebrate or mourn
No meaning lives unless Life is reborn.

A Life that rescues the lost birth of good,
Gives truth and justice hope and strength to be
And recreates a world of could and would:
The will that conquers power and will bring
A birth that lasts and changes everything—
A birth not of the self, but empathy.
—December 2012

Michael Haydn, "Salvete Flores" from Vesperae pro festo SS Innocentium KL IV/5 (1793).
Latin hymn text from 16th century or earlier

Salvete flores Martyrum
Quo lucis ipso in limine
Christi in secutur sustulit
Ceu turbo nascentes rosas. Vos prima Christi victima
Grex immolatorum tener
Aram ante ipsam simplices
Palma et coronatis luditis. Jesu tibi sit Gloria
Qui natus es de Virgine
Cum Patre et almo Spiritu
In sempiterna saecula.

All hail, little Martyr flowers,
Sweet rosebuds cut in dawning hours!
When Herod sought the Christ to find
You fell as bloom before the wind.
First victims of the martyr bands,
With crowns and palms in tender hands,
Around the very altar, bright
And innocent, you seem to play.
All honour, laud, and glory be, O Jesu, Virgin-born to thee; All glory, as is ever meet To Father and to Paraclete.

May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.