The day commemorating the tragic death of Bethlehem's youngest challenges us with important questions today.
The Holy Innocents of today are all the little children who die victims of the selfishness and pride of their elders: children deprived of love, deprived of food, children mistreated or massacred in all the wars on the planet, children who are aborted. Let us teach our children to pray and to be builders of justice and peace wherever we are. Let us be careful not to waste anything: neither food, nor our time, nor our talents. Let us spread peace around us: if war is contagious, peace is even more so. We can all reduce war and misery, regardless of our age or social position. Sooner or later (often very early) our children will be confronted with this reality and this imposes obligations on us.
First task: Teaching through grace
It is less a question of transmitting knowledge than of transmitting love. That’s why parents are in the best position to talk to their children about this subject, even if they are not biologists or doctors. That’s why all “sex education” classes will never replace a one-on-one conversation with mom and dad. The most important thing for a child is to understand that he or she is a unique person, from the moment of conception. Telling our children about the beginnings of life is not a natural science class: it is contemplating with wonder what was their own story. “I bless you, Lord, for the wonder that I am!”
Second task: Be available to answer any questions your children may have
If parents don’t answer all of their children’s questions, they will look for answers elsewhere. Of course, it’s not always easy to find a good answer because we don’t know everything, some things are too hard and can only be delivered with a lot of tact. What’s more, children have the knack of asking the most delicate questions at the wrong time — like in the check out line at the grocery store, or right before you go out to dinner with friends. But if you wait to listen or answer your children, you can miss an important window of opportunity.
Third task: Do what you can for unborn children and their mothers
When it comes to defending the smallest and most vulnerable in life — the unborn — it is terribly tempting to give up. “It’s a lost cause, it’s too much for us,” we may think. This is not true. We are weak, but as St. Paul says, it is when we are weak that we are strong. Our strength isrisen Jesus. To give up would be to act as if death had triumphed over Jesus. We can all pray, which is no small thing. We can fast because “there are demons that are only defeated by fasting and prayer. We can all ask ourselves the question: what can we do, specifically, today? Let’s not look for complicated things. Let us remember the words of Mother Teresa: “If I looked at the crowds, I would never begin. I never treat crowds, only one person.”
Within the ‘people of life and the people for life,’ the family has a decisive responsibility. This responsibility flows from its very nature as a community of life and love, founded upon marriage, and from its mission to ‘guard, reveal and communicate love’” – St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, March 25, 1995