Monday, 28 December 2009

On the feast of the Holy Innocents

"A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, for they were no more."

I read a piece today that was linked to on MommyLife.
It is the response of a Rabbi to a question from a mother who has learnt that the baby she is expecting has Downs syndrome. She wonders whether she should end the pregnancy.
It is a beautiful response. This especially touched me:

Since this will be the soul of a child who will need special care and who will know the world differently than others, she has a special mission. She is chosen to ignite the kindness that lies dormant in people's souls and plant the seeds of empathy in their hearts; to teach caring, patience and tolerance in a way no other teacher could. She will enter the world armed with lessons and tests for all who will come to know her—and she will leave it a much kinder world, a world blossoming with compassion, a world where people can feel for one another and put aside their own concerns and comfort to run to help. She will leave behind a touch of the heaven from whence she came."

Read the rest here.

Today the church honours the memory of the infant victims of King Herod.
It's a sombre reflection, and it would be hard to believe that such savage cruelty would be possible, were it not for the daily reporting of similar horrors. Horrors against which we mostly become inured in order to protect our hearts and perhaps also to preserve our sanity.
The normal instinct responds protectively to weakness and vulnerability.
Where we see innocence, we sense something delightful, liberating and true.

When power is turned
against the helpless, rather than in defence of them, our hearts are unsettled. Sometimes it is simply too much, too intractably difficult, too sad for us to contemplate.
And we turn away.

Today, I am thinking about the weak, the vulnerable and the innocent.
My prayer is that they inspire in me always an impulse to cherish, to protect and to humbly learn from "the least of these".

I am thinking also, of those parents who have known the loss of a child. My prayer for them is that they have the assurance and comfort that God gives to the completely weak and defeated.

I am thinking especially today of Olivia, my own 'holy innocent'. Whose short life wrung out my heart.

The pangs of sorrow are immeasurably eased by the blessing of Marie-Aibhlinn. Nonetheless, I miss her. And I know that without her, inwardly, I will always be walking with a little limp.

Dear Olivia, loved and carried always in my heart, until we meet in heaven, pray for me.