Friday, December 28, 2007

the palm of victory

Saint Quodvultdeus, Bishop at Carthage from 437-453
Second sermon on the Creed; PL40, 655

Children, but witnesses to Christ


Why, Herod, do you fear when you hear a king is born? He has not come to
dethrone you but to overthrow the devil. But you fail to understand, you
take fright and fall into a fury. Because you lost the single child you
were seeking, you become the cruel murderer of the many. Neither the
weeping mothers’ love, nor the mourning of fathers weeping for their sons,
nor the screams and howling of the children themselves hold you back. You
massacre these little ones in their bodies because fear is killing you in
your heart. And you think that, if you achieve your end, you will live on
for a long time, whereas it is life itself you are trying to kill! He who
is the source of grace, who is both small and great, who is lying in a
manger, causes your throne to topple. He accomplishes his design through
you without your knowing it. He gathers together the children of your
enemies and makes of them children of adoption. These little ones died for
Christ without knowing it; their parents weep for the death of martyrs.
Although they were unable to speak, Christ made them capable of being his
witnesses. See how this King reigns. Already he is setting free and
bestowing salvation. But as for you, Herod, you are oblivious of what is
happening; you take fright and fall into a rage. And when you get annoyed
with a little child, you are already placing yourself at his service
without realising it. How great the gift of grace is! What are the merits
by which these children won the victory? They could not yet speak but
already they are confessing Christ. Their little bodies are as yet unable
to engage in combat but already they are carrying off the palm of victory.

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