Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The First Station~Jesus is Condemned to Death~Innocence

There in the blameless Lord, made subject to men, illimitably patient, silent when He is mocked, silent before Herod, silent when Peter denies Him, are all those innocent children who are so commonly patient and inarticulate in suffering, and whose suffering and death baffles and scandalizes us--" . . . you will all be scandalized in me!

Caryll Houselander, The Way of the Cross

Caryll Houselander frequently speaks of the Holy Innocents. In a letter to Mr. St. George of the St. John Chrysostom Society with whom she shared a concern for Russian refugees she writes:

It is so astonishing that the very first martyrs were the little innocents slain by Herod as soon as Our Lord was born into the world. And it is true that whenever evil rises up and there are wars etc., the first sufferers are innocent little children, as if the bright fire and perfection of children were something essential to the rebirth, to the renewing, and to the new forgiveness of Christ in the world.

"How can she think this?" we wonder, "What could be more scandalous?" And yet, we know it happens; it always happens. At least in this estimation, it does not happen in vain.

And so, in the First Station, we see the Holy Innocent condemned to die. Who of us can remember what it is like to be truly innocent? We may occasionally be innocent of something of which we are accused, but even then we may have triggered the false accusation by some past lack of charity towards our accuser. And on the occasions when we are truly innocent of one action, we always know that in our hearts there resides a company of faults waiting to rise up and accuse us. And what does Innocence do in the face of the accuser? There is nothing He needs to do--no defense, no excuses--silence.



  1. I've sort of edged up to this thought about the suffering of children, but backed off, feeling like I really didn't have the right. But "at least in this estimation"--true. We recognize that God's ways are not ours but I don't think we're generally very well-prepared to face just how much they're not.

  2. I really thought twice, three times, maybe ten times, about posting this. I think if anybody else had made that statement, I wouldn't have posted it, but CH knew so much about the suffering of children. For one thing, she suffered so much in her own childhood. And then, she worked with so many troubled children. Psychologists and psychiatrists would call her in to help them with children even though she had no education in that field. So, I'm sure that she doesn't say that lightly, or dismiss how horrible it is for them to suffer.