Honouring The Infant of Prague…

Comment:

From time to time, we enjoy a devotional thread, but customarily these have marked Feasts of Our Lady or other major Holy Days.  I can’t recall ever launching a thread on the devotion to the Infant of Prague, so let’s change that. 

I’ve heard stories of prayers answered, from friends who are devotees of the Infant of Prague – what about you?

If, until now, you’ve not had any devotion to the Infant of Prague, is that likely to change now?  Share your thoughts…  

35 responses

  1. Editor,

    This is strange – I saw a little Child of Prague statue for sale in the SSPX church in Edinburgh. I have never really paid much attention to it. I’ve only ever heard stories from Irish people who put the statue outside in the garden to bring good weather. Always seemed a bit superstitious to me.

    • Take it from me, Petrus, this is no mere superstition.

      Did you watch the video? Only 9 minutes long. Take the time to view – well worth it, to dispel the false notion of superstition where a love of Catholic custom/traditions should be!

        • Unfortunately, when copying the links, there’s no way of telling how big (or small) the finished product will be – more’s the pity!. Still, brightens our day… I hope!

          • Editor

            Like you, I come from an Irish background. I don’t find the Irish any more superstitious than anyone else. I do seem to remember the Child of Prague being put in the garden the day before a wedding to ensure the wedding day was dry. Perhaps that’s more along the lines of “God will reward public witness”?

            I remember singing “The Holiday Hymn” before the start of the summer holidays. It had a line, “Air that is soft and a cloudless sky, we would owe all to thee”. Clearly, a plea for good weather. It’s not something I’ve ever thought of praying about. I’m heading out to the sticks today to visit a friend, so perhaps I should start praying for good weather to ensure the bus makes it!

            Sent from my iPhone

            • I’m too from an Irish background, both my wife’s family and I, and I can say from having lived there, that it is much more superstitious than say Scotland.

              Putting the Child of Prague is the garden for good weather seems superstitious to me. Other ones like burying St Joseph upside down in your garden to help sell your house cannot be pleasing to God. In fact I recall getting a statue of St Joseph blessed by an SSPX priest and he actually asked me if I intended to bury it!!! (He was strictly against this malpractice)

              • Summa,

                Maybe it’s a “fine line” but little acts of devotion should not be misinterpreted as “superstition”. Great saints like Therese of Lisieux were big into such acts of devotion, but I’ve never interpreted them as superstition. One of Therese’s devotional acts was to exercise her imagination: She lived especially in the presence of her Blessed Mother when fulfilling the most important act of the day: receiving Holy Communion. This was her method: “I picture to myself my soul as an open field from which I ask the Blessed Virgin to remove the obstacles which are my imperfections.” And again, “At the moment of Communion, I sometimes imagine my soul is a child of three or four years, who has just come from play, hair disheveled, and clothes disorderly and soiled. These are the injuries that I meet in combating with souls…. Then comes the Blessed Virgin and in a moment makes me respectable looking and fit to assist at the Banquet of the Angels without shame.” (Autobiography, 254)

                Two of the Irish cousins from the same family I write about elsewhere on this thread both put a silver coin (forget the amount!) under a small statue of Our Lady as an offering in prayer for good weather for their wedding days. I think Our Lady would find such simple trust touching and evidence of a simple faith.

                I do find the burying of a statue of St Joseph upside down, a bit odd, and it’s not something that I would do, but I’m always slow to condemn particular devotions simply because they don’t attract me.

                In fact, one of our bloggers here has been absent for a while because she is in the process of moving and settling into her new home, which – I think I’m correct in saying – she is naming “St Joseph” as a result of his help in securing the sale and purchase of her homes – and I’m, again, almost certain that she mentioned what you term the “malpractice” of burying a statue of St Joseph upside down in her garden. I can’t recall if she did this herself, or merely recounted the custom, and I don’t know enough about it so I checked it just now using my friend Google Click here

                It makes an interesting read. I do think there’s a difference between devotional acts which may be interpreted as superstition and real superstition which attributes good fortune to the object. As you know, that is the essential criticism of Protestants against all Catholic devotions, and so I think we ought to be slow to use the word in regard to little customs. In Catholic thinking, placing flowers at statues or slipping a five pence coin underneath as an act of confidence that a particular prayer will be answered in a particular way, is only superstition if the belief behind it is that “this will work” and the result, if favourable, is attributed to the object. If it is merely a little act of love, of trust in a saint or in Our Lady or the Child of Prague, then that is not, in my considered opinion, the same as superstition. Any more than giving flowers and gifts to a parent should be misinterpreted as having some ulterior motive (although in my own case, that was sometimes true! 😀 )

                • A fine line, perhaps. I can only say that I know it is frowned upon (St Joseph example) by well formed priests of the SSPX.

                  The Protestant critique of Catholic acts of Idolatry are perhaps different. For example, using a statue as a focus of spiritual devotion where one may offer prayer, either vocal or mental, is beyond reproach.

                  But leaving a coin beside such a statue is in my mind leaving oneself open to charges of idolatry. There is no benefit or honour to the intended, whereas flowers on the other hand is a sign of honouring the real Saint/God whose image the statue represents.

                  • Summa,

                    Fair enough points – although I smiled at your “well formed priests of the SSPX”. I’m saying nothing!

                    As to leaving coins etc – I just ask myself if Our Lady or God Himself would see this as idolatry. That would settle the question for me, and so far, I think that, just as I am very touched when my little 4 years old Great-Niece says and does things to please me that are of dubious design (!), I tend to think that God thinks the same. He’s bound to think the same as me, don’t you agree? 😀

                  • Idolatry and superstition are in the mind – or soul. Leaving a coin because it’s traditional isn’t idolatry unless someone is actually expecting a favour from a statue. The money collected (at least in the good old days) would probably amount to quite a bit and would surely have gone to upkeep costs/poor etc. It’s the same as saying prayers of thanksgiving before receiving a favour requested – to show one’s trust in whoever you’re praying to. That could, in a different light, be seen as presumption. I do agree that some people mix genuine superstitions with their faith (if they have any at all) but that should be dealt with from the pulpit, so to speak. At the end of the day, if someone doesn’t have faith, even prayer could be deemed idolatrous because they’re presumably praying to someone or something other than the True God. Just my 2 cents – or 5 pennies – worth.

                    • Heloisa,

                      You’ve said it much more succinctly than I did, and you are right; such devotions as placing notes (petitions, e.g. Lourdes Grotto) and coins etc underneath or beside a statue, is only idolatry if the person thinks the statue has a power of its own. Not as a mark of devotion, to illustrate faith in that particular saint.

            • Petrus,

              Probably wiser to just pray that the bus is running and on time! Sometimes, I’m told, that DOES require divine intervention… whereas, these days, we’re in charge of the weather ourselves 😀

  2. I have had a love of The Holy Infant of Prague since doing a project at school – can’t remember why I chose this (or where the info came from – I may have found a book in the school library) but it was obviously meant to be. I’ll watch the video tomorrow.

    I’ve said the prayer over years and years – even when in the middle of terrible times emotionally and healthwise (and the NO or nothing) when I’ve said hardly any other prayers. That in itself could be an indicator of how Christ likes to be venerated under this name because it’s a miracle I’m back in the True Faith. I always add bits of my own to the prayers – sort of personalize them.

    INFANT OF PRAGUE NOVENA PRAYER

    O Jesus, Who has said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened,” through the intercession of Mary, Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.

    (Make your request)

    O Jesus, Who has said, “All that you ask of the Father in My Name, He will grant you,” through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask your Father in your name that my prayer will be granted.

    (Make your request)

    O Jesus, Who has said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass away,” through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

    (Make your request)

    Prayer of Thanksgiving

    Divine Infant Jesus, I know You love me and would never leave me. I thank You for Your close Presence in my life.

    Miraculous Infant, I believe in Your promise of peace, blessings, and freedom from want. I place every need and care in Your hands.

    Lord Jesus, may I always trust in Your generous mercy and love. I want to honor and praise You, now and forever. Amen.

    • Heloisa,

      That is very interesting, about your own experience – and thank you for posting the prayer, much appreciated.

      Since we all love miracle stories, if you feel OK with it, feel free to tell us something of your miracle return to the Faith.

      • Well, it didn’t include putting Jesus out in the garden……..!!! Although He’s most welcome to use it, of course….

  3. We have a small statue at home more out of tradition than regular devotion. My mother, God rest her soul, was very fond of this devotion.
    The Irish are the most superstitious folk I have encountered. 🙂

    • Summa,

      I’m from an Irish family and I’ve never encountered this “superstition”. I think some of the Irish may say “superstitious” things, but they know perfectly well that that is all they are. No truly educated-in-the-Faith Catholic can possibly BE superstitious – although that leaves a wide enough margin for the numpties among us!

      Here’s an example of where a cousin of my mother’s (Jean, now deceased) was accused of being superstitious. Setting: the north of Ireland; County Armagh. You decide – WAS Jean superstitious? Or was St Anthony sending a message?

      Jean kept a little St Anthony’s Bread box – you know the kind, people put money in and when the box is full, the money is (or was!) sent to the missions.

      Well, cousin Jean had a visit from one of her brothers-in-law, Patrick, who worked for a farmer. He’d dropped in for a cup of tea and mentioned that he’d lost a brand new spade which he’d bought for work. He couldn’t believe it. He’d hunted for it everywhere, just couldn’t find it.

      Jean suggested he promise St Anthony 50p for the missions box, and he would be sure to find the lost spade – St Anthony being the patron of (among other things) lost items. Patrick said that was “old superstition” and he would find the spade himself. I should have mentioned that I found out about this incident because another member of the family was telling me that Patrick had a reputation for being mean with money (I don’t think he was, by the way – he was always generous in my experience, but leave that aside…)

      Anyway, a couple of days passed and still no spade. Patrick was really worried, as he needed the spade for some task he was doing on the farm, presumably digging up a field or similar 😀

      Again, Jean encouraged him to promise the 50p, if only St Anthony would find the spade. Reluctantly, he agreed, having exhausted every possible hiding place for said spade.

      Soon thereafter, he called to announce that, to his amazement, he’d found the spade in one of the very first places he’d looked and he could swear he had searched thoroughly. Jean, of course, asked for the 50p for St Anthony’s Bread.

      “Ah, Jean, sure that’s a load of old superstition. I must have overlooked the spade the first time I searched there, but I found it eventually.”

      Jean was shock-horrified at his meanness. Not to mention lack of faith.

      Drum roll….

      Next day, Patrick called in to say that Jean would just not believe what had happened after he left yesterday. He’d gone straight to work, pushed his brand new spade into the ground … only to hear “snap!” It broke!

      Jean laughed and told him that he should not have broken his promise to St Anthony…

      Patrick’s reply?

      “All the same, I didn’t think he’d have done THAT on me!”

      Well, was Jean superstitious, or filled with a beautiful, simple, divine and Catholic faith? (Perhaps least said about Patrick, the better!)

      • I feel that for some reason I’m being hunted 😉

        Anyway, a couple of points…
        I do not think that anything to do with The Child of Prague is superstition.
        Lived in Co.Donegal for the best part of a decade, so I’m basing my comment on what I experienced. That was NOT religious superstition but folk superstition.

        I would ask that FOOF to go and read what I said in my post and not imagine a connection between two unrelated sentences.

        • Summa,

          Not “hunted” – just popular!

          I take your point and anyway, it’s good to discuss the differences between superstition and devotional acts and you have given us that opportunity.

          Petrus is also being hunted, I mean popular, on this! You are not alone!

  4. I would ask SUMMA above to go in and READ about the Child of Prague and then make superstitious opinions . Years ago like her we had a Child of Prague Statue I in my ignorance knew absolutely nothing about it or its origins. I didn’t even know it was Supposed to be The Child Jesus and the Globe in his Left hand was of the World which he was blessing and looking over us.

    Then ( one of those just by chance moments) I found this little booklet with the whole story on it and I was amazed at how it had survived ( like the iimage of Our Lady of Quadalupe ) throughout fire and tempest. Of course the just by chance moments which have occurred too many times in my life are now Godincences and not coincidences .

    It’s still amazing how so many non – or even Catholics who think and believe that us as Catholics pray or Worship an Image. The Infant Child Jesus Clothed in All his Glory by The Child of Prague is a great example of how we worship Jesus from the Beginning of his Life until the End . One other thing in regards devotion to The Child Jesus is there is no such thing as time with God as the Prophet said a day to the lord is like a thousand years . We also know that there are various ref to the living Jesus in the Old Testament. When David said ” and my Lord said to my Lord ” he was referring to God The Father and Christ The Son . Also it’s widely believed that Jesus was the extra person seen in the Fiery Furnace. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to The Holy Spirit . As it was in the Beginning is Now and Ever Shall Be One God forever and ever Amen . Holy Child of Prague Pray For Us .

    • FOOF,

      No need to read anything – if only folk would watch that simple, 9 minute video, narrated by a traditional priest.

      Then come on and talk about superstition, if you are still of that opinion.

      You won’t be…

  5. Thanks for posting this. It’s a beautiful devotion, which I believe originated with the Carmelite Order. The website of the Shrine of the Holy Infant of Prague is here:- https://www.pragjesu.cz/en/the-history-and-veneration-of-the-prague-infant-jesus

    I think that Our Lord wants His Sacred Childhood to be honoured – firstly because of this devotion, which has certainly stood the test of time, and also because in other Church approved apparitions, He has appeared as a Child, and Our Lord never does these things without good reason.

    He appeared as a Child at Pichincha to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres – part of the Quito / Our Lady of Good Success apparitions http://www.traditioninaction.org/OLGS/A003olgs%20Pinchincha.htm (PS – I don’t agree with a lot of stuff on TIA’s website so please exercise caution, but this is a good account of the devotion to the Child Jesus of Pichincha).

    Also, Our Lord appeared as a Child three times during the Fatima and subsequent apparitions to Sister Lucia. Firstly, when she saw the Holy Family while the Miracle of the Sun was taking place on October 13th 1917, and the Child Jesus and St Joseph blessed the world. Secondly, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia with the Child Jesus when they gave her the First Saturday devotion on December 10th 1925 at Pontevedra, and thirdly, Our Lord appeared as a Child to Sister Lucia again at Pontevedra, asking if she had done what had been requested regarding the First Saturdays. The second and third apparitions of Our Lord appearing as a Child to Sister Lucia are recounted here:- http://www.fatimacrusader.com/geof/iv.asp

    There is a lovely prayer to the Child Jesus of Pichincha. I suppose one could substitute the word ‘Pichincha’ with ‘Prague’ if one wanted to . . .

    Dear Child Jesus of Pichincha, I humbly kneel before Thee, worn and disillusioned by the world and all its empty pleasures and promises. I have left the warmth and joy of Thy house to eat husks with the swine.

    I beseech Thee to purify my heart and restore my innocence. I humbly beseech Thy Loving and Gracious Heart to forgive, and even forget, my past and to grant me the grace to begin anew. I beg not only for my restoration, but for that of the world, and above all, for that of our beloved Holy Catholic Church, which is so beleaguered and persecuted.

    Through the infinite merits of Thy Holy Childhood, I feel confident that my prayer will be answered.

    Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be…

    • Westminster Fly – this is a beautiful prayer and so suitable for these times and for so many of us individually. Innocence is something I pray to have restored to me but sadly I wonder how many 5 year olds have already had their innocence at least severely dented these days, given what one reads and sees in the papers etc. I have filed your prayer away on my laptop for use!

  6. I have a beautiful statue of the Infant of Prague atop one of my bookshelves, where He can watch over me while I practice the piano. Maybe I should apologize to Him for my sloppy playing!

  7. Thanks for this video and discussion. I have not read much on the Holy Infant of Prague and I would say that devotion to the Holy Infant is not as popular on this side of the pond as it may be in Europe. My eyes have been drawn to the Holy Infant statue in our church but I cannot recall ever seeing anyone giving devotion with prayer or even flowers before this Holy Infant.

    There are many devotions to Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and the Saints of heaven. The popularity of various devotions vary in time and place. I’ve noticed, for example, that devotion to St. Michael and St. Raphael are much more popular in Europe than here, where they are almost forgotten. As well, devotions popular in a particular place can travel as immigrants take those devotions with them.

    I will read more about the Holy Infant of Prague and begin prayers. Maybe, if I’m fortunate, I’ll be able to visit the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague one day. I will also ask Father where I might buy a statue.

    • LaotzuThomas,

      You are right – there are not many churches with a statue of the Infant of Prague and it’s not a devotion that receives much attention. I have to admit, although we’ve had a small statue for a while, I’ve not paid much attention myself until now, but I’m touched by the many miracles I’ve read about which are attributed to this devotion, so I’m mending my ways!

  8. My parents had a small statue of the Infant of Prague many years ago. I admit that I too have not paid much attention, it has been worth while bringing to my attention, just to hear of the miracles attributed to this statue.

    Wendy,

    I have also signed the petition.

  9. Very happy to see this thread! My mother had a great devotion to the Infant of Prague. I remember saying the ‘flying novena’ on Thursdays for special intentions! I think this thread has been a gentle reminder for me to return to this devotion – I could start by honoring the Infant on Thursdays.

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