Lives of Saints - The Holy Infants Christianity - Books
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;'                but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.                If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.                'It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'                but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.                'Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows,'                but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;                nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.                Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.                But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.                'You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'*                But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.                If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.                Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.                Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.                'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor,* and hate your enemy.*'                But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,                that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.               
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Lives of Saints - The Holy Infants

The Holy Infants

Although St. Stephen is generally recognised as the first martyr, he was preceded by a host of innocent babes slaughtered by the infamous Herod whose fearful uncertainty drove him in panic to commit the most heinous of crimes.

It is not generally known that the barbarous Herod, who reigned over the Jews at the time when Christ was born, was not by descent a Jew himself, but a member of a tribe that had been absorbed into Judaism.

Hence, he zealously relished his role as king of the Jews under the Roman Empire. The news of the coming of a Messiah, so alarmed Herod that he hastily assembled about him his close associates, including priest and scribes from whom it was ascertained that the newborn king was coming into the world in the obscure village of Bethlehem.

Still sceptical, he consulted the wise men of the East and asked them to seek out this Christ child. However, these Magi, from various countries, not only venerated the Messiah and bestowed gifts upon them, but returned to their homelands rather than betray Him Who was the King of Kings.

Up to this point Herod had been guilty of atrocities of such vile nature that it came as no surprise that, in order to protect his position, he ordered the massacre of every Jewish male infant under the age of two not only in Bethlehem but for miles around. It is estimated that 14,000 infants were put to the sword.

These holy innocents were the first victims of a persecution that proved itself relentless for centuries.

Pilgrims to the Holy Land discover that entombed deep in the grotto of the Church of the Nativity are many of these Innocents, appropriately enough, beneath the now vanished stable where Christ was born.

At this sacred spot the Patriarch of Jerusalem conducts special commemorative services each year on the 11th of January, a day in which Christians of all denominations can- not fail to pause in respect, in whatever part of the world they might be.



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