Holy Innocence

I returned to work in Twinsburg, Ohio.  Still reflecting, there will be more to say on this during the coming weekend.  For now, my thoughts go to reuniting, a coworker specific.  I learned his six-year-old daughter suffered immensely, the grace of mystery touching allowing the sorrowful opportunity for expanding faith, hope, and charity.  Her illness started as strep throat, then advanced to a flesh-eating virus that attacked her back and one leg severely.  The poor thing lost her leg just above the knee.  A solid Christian family, loving and intact, thoughts seem to linger regarding the reality.  It reminds me of words from a novel ‘The Dry Wood’ by Caryll Houselander.

“They had put Art’s misshapen infant into his own hands to hold, and he felt sure that they would not have done that if they meant him to live.  It was only for a moment, however, and then the nurse took him.  That was a black, agonized moment for Art Jewel.  In it something fierce and primitive awoke in him which afterwards never died.  He desired his son’s life as a thirsting man desires water.

And that son’s life was a tiny atom, a spark against which the whole force of what we call civilization conspired, the whole force of it, past, present, and future.  Out of the past a towering mass of evil cast long shadows across him—the greed, the selfishness, the cruelty, the lust, the infidelities, of generations of human beings.  A multitudinous procession of murder and innocence cast its fire and shadow on the wizened little face, as on the face of all children born into our world.

First of all, as if they swept past the Christ Child sleeping in the stone manger, the flock of Holy Innocents with jubilant cries like wild birds migrating, wild birds winging to the sun of the eternal light; the first martyrs, baptized only with the baptism of blood, with crimson stars tangled in their burning hair.  After them, all through the ages, came the martyrs whose death and resurrection seem the inevitable co-incidence of Christ’s birth, of the birth of life into the valley of the shadow of death.  And always dark on the burning brilliance of martyrdom, the shadow of murder, of the sevenfold evil that is death in man’s heart fighting against life.”

Caryll Houselander as a child.


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