Matthew and Broken Hearts

It is Valentine’s Day evening. We are still celebrating the day of the heart. Tonight some hearts are rejoicing, some hearts are hurting. I hope yours is bursting with love, joy, and fulfillment. I am asking a prayer and some comfort for anyone whose heart is broken, especially if the suffering is related to this Gospel reflection.

Within the second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel is an insert from the Prophet Jeremiah (31:15). It reads:

A voice was heard in Rama,

    wailing and great mourning;

Rachel weeping for her children,

and she would not be comforted,

because they were no more.

How different the case of these Holy Innocents from those of our day! These children were desired by their parents; they were torn away by an insane and jealous king. The holy innocents today are unwanted, unwelcome by their parents and their society. Even though they are conceived, for the most part, out of pleasure, they are seen as an unwanted burden. Sometimes they even end up as a cause of shame. Every kind of reason is given in favor of the conceivers, but none are considered in favor of the conceived. We know who was saved by the loss of the male children of Bethlehem; we don’t know who is lost by the wanton destruction of our male (and female) children today.

I realize that not every decision to carry to term the life you created is an easy decision. However, it should not be made as lightly as the decision to have the pleasure which caused the conception.

And, of course, there are forced conceptions, and then the decision in favor of the child can be unbelievably difficult. However, the decision for or against is so very final. One would think it enough to pause quietly over those last few words of Jeremiah: She would not be comforted, because they were no more. How incredibly sad to have such an irreversible choice hanging over one’s conscience. How incredibly sad to imagine what could have been.

May God’s loving, understanding heart be the safe haven of those whose hearts are so wounded.