"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise Men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, from two years old and younger." Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah, "In Ramah there was a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." The slaughter of the Holy Innocents was a tragedy that defies an easy explanation: how could a loving God allow such a thing to happen? After all, these tender young infants could not have done anything to deserve such an untimely death. Unlike the Holy Martyrs down through the ages, these tender infants did not voluntarily choose to accept torture and death in order to bear witness to Christ.
And yet.... Was not our Lord Himself as an innocent lamb led to the slaughter? He ascended the Cross and suffered, shedding His precious blood for the sake of the salvation of the human race. As for you and I: for what purpose have we been born into this vale of tears? Is it that we might attain to happiness and a carefree life? God forbid! It is, rather, only through sacrificial suffering in union with Christ that we may hope to be deemed worthy of salvation in God's eternal Kingdom.
Indeed, our very life in this fallen world is interwoven with tragedy... and death itself is the greatest tragedy of they all. The slaughter of the Holy Innocents was, after all, a one time event... and through the eyes of faith, the believer behold those martyrs interceding on our behalf before the Throne of God! What, then, shall we say concerning the ongoing murder of infants still in the womb--cut off before they have even seen the light of day? This is a tragedy of immense proportions--yet so many in our "enlightened" culture consider the evil of abortion to be of no consequence.As Orthodox Christians, however, we are obligated to speak out against this abomination--thought we may be no more than a voice crying out in the wildness: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord."
According to the testimony of Scripture and the Holy Father, every soul--born or unborn--exists before the ages in the eternal memory of God. Even those souls which have yet to be conceived are precious in the Lord's sight and have been given a name that shall not be fully revealed until the end of time. Moreover, for each and every one of us He has prepared--according to His providential wisdom--a unique destiny that belongs to no other. All that is required is that we voluntarily take up our cross of sacrificial suffering--and follow Him.