Because They Are No More

Today the church remembered the “slaying of the holy infants”, a voice heard crying in Ramah. Today living in as we are in the period of late modernity in the shadow of the great ideological killings of the 20th century (and likely waiting in the lull before the great ideological murders and atrocities of the 21st) this remembrance has no little relevance to our life today.

A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.
– Matthew 2:18

Recently I viewed the Polish film-maker Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyn. Like the verse above (and unlike much of the remembrance of the atrocities of the 20th century) the focus is not on the event and the slaying but on the impact on the families and specifically the mothers (and women married to those ) who were killed.

This raises for me a question, to which I will not offer any answer. When we remember the slain would it be better for our remembrance to concentrate our attention not on the specific details of those slain and their particular lives but to focus instead our attention on Rachel, i.e., the mothers and wives of those slain. For example, in our recent US history, the 9/11 monument and memorials to not denote and focus on those who were killed but those who mourn and are left behind?

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