Salvete flores martyrum, – Hail Martyr Flowers
quos lucis ipso in limine – On the very threshold of the dawn (of life)
Christi insecutor sustulit – Christ’s persecutor destroyed (you)
ceu turbo nascentes rosas. – like the whirlwind does the budding roses.
Vos prima Christi victima, – You, Christ’s first fruits
grex immolatorum tener, – A flock of tender sacrificial victims
aram sub ipsam simplices – right up by the very altar
palma et coronis luditis. – now play with your palms and crowns.
Iesu, tibi sit gloria, – Jesus to you be glory
qui natus es de Virgine, – who were born of the Virgin
cum Patre et almo Spiritu, – with the Father and loving Spirit
in sempiterna saecula. Amen. – unto to eternal ages. Amen.
Translation by Msgr. Charles Pope
Herod the Great ordered the massacre of the Innocents in order to eliminate the Christ Child, Who he feared would deprive him of his kingdom. Herod was a great murderer in general, particularly of his own children: the Emperor Augustus is said to have remarked that he would rather be Herod's pig than his son. Not long after the birth of Christ, according to the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Herod died a disgusting, excruciating death in Jericho -- a city that, in Scripture, symbolizes the world that is opposed to the kingdom of heaven.
Herod -- who was killing people right until the end, and even tried to have the murders continue after his death -- was punished in this life by colon pains, convulsions, terrible itching all over his body, fever, and the putrefaction and infestation by worms of his private parts. What kind of punishments can we expect, who have outstripped Herod's homicidal assaults on babies in both numbers and brutality, even going so far as to enshrine the murder of the unborn in our laws as a constitutionally guaranteed "right"? When have we ever hated children more than in this present day?
Holy Innocents, pray for us.