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TO MY LITTLE BROTHERS IN HEAVEN,
THE HOLY INNOCENTS.

“The Lord shall gather together the lambs with His arm, and shall take them up in His bosom.” Is. 40:11.

Happy those whom God regards as justified without works! for to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to debt.” It is, then, gratuitously that those who do no works are justified by grace, in virtue of the Redemption of which Jesus Christ is the Author. Romans 4: 4, 5, 6.

O happy little ones! with what sweet tenderness

The King of Heaven

Blessed you, when here below! How often His caress

To you was given!

You were the type of all the Innocents to come.

In dreams I know

The boundless joy the King gives you in heaven’s high home,

He loves you so!

Before earth’s bitter griefs, dear lilies of the Lord,

Had dimmed your eyes,

You had beheld the gifts, — how very beauteous! — stored

In Paradise.

O fragrant buds, soon plucked at day’s sweet dawning bright,

By God’s own hand;

His Sacred Heart is now the Sun by Whose soft light

Those buds expand!

What perfect care and oh! what ceaseless watchfulness,

What love alway,

Lavishes on you here our Mother Church, to bless

Souls of a day!

In her maternal arms, you were in holy rite

To Jesus given;

And through eternity, you will be the delight

Of His fair Heaven.

Dear little ones! you join the virginal court, in state

Following the Lamb;

And you the sweet new song shall sing (O privilege great!)

Unto His Name.

You to the conqueror’s palm, without the deadly fight,

Have safely come.

O charming victors: Christ from you has taken all blight,

And brought you home.

It needs no precious stones, all luminous and gay,

To deck your hair;

The lustre of your curls, sweet Innocents, to-day,

Makes Heaven more fair.

To you grand martyrs lend their palms; they give their crowns,

Your brows to grace;

Upon their knees you find, dear children, now your thrones,

In their embrace.

In splendid courts on high, with tiny cherub-throngs

Gayly you play:

Beloved baby-band! your childish sports and songs

Charm heaven alway.

God tells you how He makes the birds, the flowers, the snow,

The sunlight clear;

No genius here below knows half the things you know,

O children, dear!

From Heaven’s azure vault you tear the veils that make

Such mystery:

The glowing myriad stars in your wee hands you take,

Your toys to be.

Running Heaven’s highways, there, your tiny foot­steps leave

A silvery trace;

In the bright Milky Way, I think I see, at eve,

Each shining face.

To Mary’s welcoming arms, when your gay games are done,

How swift you hie!

Hiding beneath her veil your heads like Christ Her Son

In sleep you lie.

Heaven’s darling little pets! audacity like this

Delights our Lord;

And you can even dare caress and gently kiss

His Face adored.

That Blessed Lord has deigned you for my pattern here

To give to me;

O Holy Innocents, like you so pure and dear

I strive to be.

Pray, pray, that I may gain all childhood’s graces best, —

Your candor true,

Your sweet abandonment, your innocence so blest,

That charm my view!

Thou, of my exiled soul, O Lord! full well dost know

The ardent prayer.

Fair Lily of the Vale, on Thee I would bestow Earth’s lilies fair;

These buds of spring I love, and long to find for Thee,

Thou King adored!

Grant the baptismal grace to each one tenderly;

Then cull them, Lord!

My pains and my joys I offer with delight, —

For children’s souls:

Thus to augment Thy ranks of Innocents most white,

The while time rolls;

And, ‘mongst these Innocents, I ask Thee that it place

To me be given.

Grant to me, as to them, Thy kiss, O wondrous grace

Jesus! in Heaven.

February, 1897.

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