Friday, December 23, 2011

Fleeing the New Herods

The slaughter of innocent children is probably not something you want to read about on Christmas Day. But a few days after celebrating Christmas, the Church liturgically remembers the slaughter of a particular group of innocent children. The Feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec. 28) reminds us that the most helpless and defenseless were the first to die for Christ, and in fact, died in his stead.  

The Second Chapter of Matthew tells us that upon realizing he had been tricked by the Magi, Herod “ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia estimates that given the population of Bethlehem at the time, Herod probably killed several dozen children. In the United States, abortion kills about 3 children per minute, so we probably kill an equal number of “Innocents” every 15-20 minutes. On Guam, we do that every 40 days or so. And history casts Herod as a monster?

As Matthew records, the child Jesus was saved through the message of an angel who told Joseph to “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.”

At the recent Rally for Life, we learned about two other “Innocents” whose lives were saved from what we might call the “New Herods of the Culture of Death”, and perhaps also by angelic intervention.

Speaking while holding a baby who had been saved from abortion, a young adoptive mother shared the pain of being unable to conceive a child with her husband and the joy of receiving a child to love. The new "mother" shared her passion to love and care for even more children: “Give the child to me”, she said, quoting Blessed Mother Teresa’s Clinton-era challenge to the United States to not abort its children.

An adoptive father, a Vietnam veteran and a retired Marine, spoke as well of his and his wife’s inability to conceive and the joy of adopting a baby girl who had survived a chemical abortion. The new "father" shared how, through a series of miracles, the tiny premature baby girl came into their lives and has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, athletic, heart-warming six year old daughter who has been a great blessing to him and his wife.

These adoptive parent's stories are but a few of many such accounts that quietly occur. For obvious reasons of privacy, most of these adoptive parents and those who work to save children from abortion, do not pose for a photo-op every time a home is  found for a previously unwanted child.

While listening to these accounts I couldn’t help but think back to recent public hearings. Upon sharing supporting testimony for legislation that would allow more such lives to be saved, pro-life advocates were hammered with criticisms by certain senators who felt it was their job to lecture us for focusing too much on abortion and not doing enough about disadvantaged and homeless children.

Such lectures are an absolute display of ignorance. The people being criticized by these senators are the very people who are constantly working to save children - born or unborn, provide care for them, and match them with loving parents when possible. And they do this quietly with no pay, with no recognition, and with no help from those who criticize and lecture them.

In response to the candidate survey conducted by The Esperansa Project prior to the 2010 election, a certain senator publicly scolded abortion opponents by saying they should “look beyond abortion” and "...understand the plight of (disadvantaged) children and step up to the plate".

Too bad he didn’t hear the stories of the new adoptive parents or the many like them who not only stepped “up to the plate”, but have committed, usually at great personal cost, to put food on that “plate” for their adopted children for many years to come.

Perhaps all the people who have stepped “up to the plate”, as Senator X scolds us to do, should show up at the next public hearing of a pro-life bill with adopted children in tow and babies saved from abortion in arms.

But these parents are usually too busy with the joys and pains of raising the children they have lovingly accepted, to answer the self-serving, uninformed, cliched criticisms by the likes of Senator X. Such political banging is simply distant noise amidst the cries and laughter of deliberately chosen parenthood.

And due to the circumstances by which most of these children came to them, adoptive parents perhaps have good reason for fleeing with their children to the “Egypt of anonymity”, lest the New Herods find them. Merry Christmas and may 2012 be different.
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