The young male babies who were murdered by the evil Herod in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus are honored as the first martyrs on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so he can tirelessly fight against the great evil of abortion and by building the Virtue of Defense so he always protects children from evil men and women.
Following Jesus’ humble birth in Bethlehem, Wise Men (the Magi) travel from the East (likely Persia), compelled by the supernatural sign of a star in the sky; this fulfills a 1200-year-old prophecy of the birth of the Messiah (Num 24:17). The Wise Men mistakenly disclose their mission to locate the Christ child to the evil King Herod. Warned in a dream by God of Herod’s evil intentions, after the Wise Men pay homage to Jesus, they avoid Herod and return to their homeland.
Herod’s grave threat to Jesus is also revealed to St. Joseph, the great and holy man God the Father chose as the Guardian of the Redeemer. Responding in faith, obedience, and urgency to the angel’s warnings about Herod’s murderous intent, St. Joseph immediately acts to protect the young Virgin Mother and the newborn babe Jesus. Waking from the dream in the middle of the night, St. Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt, an arduous and dangerous journey of several hundred miles. The Magi’s gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh sustained the Holy Family as St. Joseph sought work as a carpenter in Egypt. The Holy Family remained in Egypt until Herod’s death, returning to Nazareth when Jesus was a young child; this fulfills Hosea’s prophecy (Hos 11:1) which echoes Israel’s deliverance in the Exodus, and foresees Jesus’ own return from Egypt.
King Herod’s other monstrous evils are documented in non-biblical sources: he murders multiple wives and sons, and many others. Furious that the Wise Men did not reveal Jesus’ location, and paranoid about the threat of Jesus’ coming kingship, Herod had all the male children under the age of two, in and around Bethlehem, murdered. These Holy Innocents are the first martyrs of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by how Jesus ensures His own protection: Person of the Trinity, at the beginning of time, He creates angels who will intervene on His behalf during the Incarnation; Divine Knowledge, He anticipates the attacks of Herod, confirmed by the revelations of the prophet Hosea; Son of God, He creates and forms His own earthly father St. Joseph to protect the Blessed Virgin Mary and Himself from the attacks of Herod.
Tirelessly fight against the murder of children
Realize: Since the time of Jesus through today, Christ’s Holy Catholic Church has always valiantly sought to protect children: the Gospels mourn the loss of the Holy Innocents; God the Father intervenes and St. Joseph takes heroic action to protect the baby Jesus; the Didache, a summary of 1st century Catholic doctrine, forbids abortion and infanticide as violations of The 5th Commandment.
Believe: Reflect upon the abominable evil of Abortion (CCC 2270-2275, 2322).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I have Your supernatural help to courageously persevere in the opposition to Satan’s widespread promotion of child-murder.
Protect children from evil men and women
Realize: While most fathers would defend their children to the death from physical abuse, many Catholic fathers fail to protect their children from soul-destroying spiritual abuse which is promoted by evil men and women through the perverted media, violent games, pornography, bad “friends”, corrupt ideologies, materialism, etc.
Believe: Reflect upon the Duties of Catholic Fathers (CCC 5, 1653, 1656, 2221-2231, 2688).
Pray: St. Joseph, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Defense/Protection (a part of Justice) so I can better imitate you, and I fulfill my God-given duty to be a spiritual father who heroically protects my own children and others from the physical and spiritual attacks of evil men and women.