|The Infant in Prague|
Devotion to the Infant King became particularly popular in the Middle Ages with great saints like Bernard of Citeaux and Francis of Assisi. Their love for the Sacred Humanity of our Lord found expression in hymns, poems, songs, and sermons that attracted others to this devotion.
|The Church at first glimpse|
The Infant Jesus of Prague is a 16th-century Roman Catholic wax-coated wooden statue of The Child Jesus holding an orb topped with the Cross which symbolizes Christ's (the cross) dominion over the world (the orb). It allegedly holds miraculous powers especially of healing which is how I came across it recently, looking for the patron of knee ailments (more on this later).
The statue's two fingers raised in a blessing gesture symbolizes the two natures of Jesus Christ (God and man) and the three folded fingers represent the Holy Trinity.
The exact origin of the Infant Jesus statue is not known, but historical sources point to a small 19 inch high sculpture of the Holy Child with a bird in his right hand presently located in the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria de la Valbonna in Asturias, Spain which was carved around the year 1340. Many other Infant Jesus sculptures were also carved by famous masters throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Often found in early medieval work, the significance of the bird symbolizes either a soul or the Holy Spirit.
|Red for Martyrs|
Upon presenting it, the pious Princess Polyxena is said to have uttered a prophetic statement to the religious: "Venerable Fathers, I bring you my dearest possession. Honor this image and you shall never want". The statue was placed in the oratory of the monastery of Our Lady of Victory, Prague, where special devotions to Jesus were offered before it twice a day.
In 1630, the Carmelite novitiate was transferred to Munich. With the transfer of novices, Prague lost its most ardent devotees of the Infant. Disturbances in Bohemia due to the Thirty Years War brought an end to the special devotions, and on November 15, 1631, the army of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden took possession of Bohemia's capital city. The Carmelite friary was plundered and the image of the Infant of Prague was thrown into a pile of rubbish behind the altar.
|Elegant dress in European style|
Amazingly enough, after a month in Eastern Europe and the area, my last Mass was again at this Church, so I was able to say "sbohem, děkuje" (goodbye and thank you).
The Infant's patronage is especially sought for vocations, health, financial well-being, good family life, schools, the welfare of children, freedom and peace, the missions and safety in travel.
In this day and age, when young children are exposed to so much that is "scarey" for them, it would not be a bad idea to reintroduce this wonderful devotion of the Child who watches over them.
|Inside the Church in Prague|