The holy season of Advent is the perfect time to renew our devotion to the Divine Infant Jesus. Today we focus on devotion to the Infant of Prague.
Devotion to the Holy Infant is complementary to that of Fatima. It has been rightly called the way of spiritual infancy. Since the revelations to Sister Josefa occurred right after those of Fatima, there is a strong connection, calling us to deepen our understanding of the essential unity between devotion to the Divine Infant, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Indeed, it is impossible to read the autobiography of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and the writings of Sister Lucia and not see the similarities in the total, childlike devotion and trust in Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. This spiritual infancy was also clearly exemplified by St. Therese, the Little Flower and is notable in the life of Sister Josefa Menendez, for example:
It was Christmas Eve in the old Monastery of Les Feuillants and Sister Josefa Menendez was at Mass,
“I was in the middle of the Chapel, on my way to Communion, when I saw Our Lady coming towards me. In her arms she was holding the Child Jesus, covered with a white veil which she took off as soon as I had communicated. His little garment was white and His hands were crossed on His breast. Then I did not see Him any more … When I had reached my place in the chapel, Our Lady came again quite close to me. She lifted the Child slightly; He was lying in her arms. Little Jesus stretched out His hands and fondled His Mother. Then with His tiny right hand He seemed to be asking me for mine and I gave it to Him. He seized hold of my finger and held it tight, and all around both of them floated an unknown but delicious aroma. Our Lady was smiling, “My daughter”, she said to me, “Kiss the feet of your God, Who will be your inseparable companion if you wish. Have no fear, draw near to Him, He is all love.” I kissed His little feet; He looked at me and then He crossed His hands on His breast and Our Lady wrapped Him in her veil. I asked her to bless me which she did and then they vanished.”
On another day, Our Lady appeared to Sister Josefa Menendez and spoke of her sorrows.
“I asked her,’ wrote Josefa naively, ‘if the presence of the Child Jesus, so small and so lovely, had not been the best of consolations?’ Our Lady then asked her to imagine the anguish she felt when contemplating the Divine Infant,
‘I kissed those little hands, and felt my lips already stained with the Precious Blood that one day would gush from their wounds. I kissed His feet, and already saw them nailed to the Cross. And as I carefully tended His hair, I pictured it all clotted with blood and entangled in the cruel thorns. And when at Nazareth, He first ventured on a few steps, hastening with outstretched arms to meet me, my tears fell as I pictured them extended on the Cross on which He was to die. When He reached boyhood, He was so divinely beautiful that none could contemplate Him unmoved … yet in my heart, the heart of a mother, the sword was turned at the thought of the tortures that were to be inflicted on Him, of which I felt beforehand the savage recoil.” (“The Way of Divine Love” Kindle Edition).
And now, as we approach Christmas, we offer the well beloved Novena to the Divine Infant of Prague. This Novena begins on December 16, that is, we will begin it this year on the Third Sunday of Advent, and the Novena concludes on Christmas Eve.
Each day, we pray:
Novena Prayer to the Infant of Prague
O Dearest Jesus, tenderly loving us! Thy greatest joy is dwell among us and bestow Thy blessings on us! Although I am not worthy that Thou should look upon me with love, I am drawn to Thee dear Jesus because of Thine infinite mercy and beg Thee to exercise Thine almighty power over me.
So many who turned with confidence to Thee have received graces and had their petitions granted. Look upon me with pity as I kneel before Thee and lay my heart open to Thee, with all its prayers, petitions and hopes. In particular, I entrust to Thy loving and merciful heart _____.
Govern me and do with me and mine according to Thy holy will, for I trust that in Thy Divine wisdom and love, Thou will ordain everything for the best. Almighty and gracious Infant Jesus, do not withdraw Thy hand from us, but protect us and bless us forever.
I pray Thee, sweetest Infant, in the name of Thy blessed Mother Mary, who cared for Thee with such tenderness, and by the great reverence with which Saint Joseph carried Thee in his arms: grant me and mine the graces necessary to serve Thee ever more faithfully, that I may bless and thank Thee forever with all my heart. Amen.
For my own Novena, I add the beautiful Prayer of Venerable Father Cyril of the Mother of God, OCD, to the Divine Infant of Prague daily:
JESUS, unto Thee I flee,
Through Thy mother praying Thee
in my need to succor me.
Truly, I believe of Thee
God Thou art with strength to shield me;
Full of trust, I hope of Thee
Thou Thy grace wilt give to me.
All my heart I give to Thee,
Therefore, do my sins repent me;
From them breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus, from their bonds to free me.
Firm my purpose is to mend me;
Never more will I offend Thee.
Wholly unto Thee I give me,
Patiently to suffer for Thee,
Thee to serve eternally.
And my neighbor like to me
I will love for love of Thee.
Little Jesus, I beseech Thee,
In my need to succor me,
That with Joseph and Mary
And the Angels, I may Thee
Once enjoy eternally. Amen.
We also offer this lovely Litany for the Infant of Prague:
LITANY OF THE INFANT OF PRAGUE
(For private devotion only)
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
Deliver us, O Jesus.
We beseech Thee hear us.
God the Father of heaven. have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost. have mercy on us.
O miraculous Infant Jesus,have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, true God and Lord, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose omnipotence is manifested in a wonderful manner, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose wisdom searches our hearts and reins, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose goodness continually inclines to aid us, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose providence leads us to our last end and destiny, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose truth enlightens the darkness of our hearts, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose generosity enriches our poverty, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose friendship consoles the afflicted, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose mercy forgives our sins, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose strength invigorates us, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose power turns away all evils, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose justice deters us from sin, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose power conquers hell, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose lovely countenance attracts our hearts, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose greatness holds the universe in its hand, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose love-inflamed Heart kindles our cold hearts, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose miraculous hand raised in benediction fills us with all blessings, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose sweet and holy Name rejoices the hearts of the faithful, have mercy on us.
Infant Jesus, whose glory fills the whole world, have mercy on us.
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all distrust of Thy infinite goodness, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all distrust of Thy infinite goodness and miracles, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all lukewarmness in Thy veneration, deliver us, O Jesus.
From trials and misfortunes, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through the mysteries of Thy holy childhood, deliver us, O Jesus.
We sinners, beseech Thee to hear us.
Through the intercession of Mary, Thy virgin Mother, and Joseph, Thy foster father, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst pardon us, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst bring us to true repentance, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst preserve and increase in us love and devotion to Thy sacred infancy, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst never withdraw Thy miraculous hand from us, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst keep us mindful of Thy numberless benefits, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst inflame us more and more with love for Thy Sacred Heart, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst graciously deign to hear all who call upon Thee with confidence, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst preserve our country in peace, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst free us from all impending evils, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst give eternal life to all who act generously toward Thee, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst pronounce a merciful sentence on us at the judgement, we beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldst in Thy miraculous image remain our consoling refuge, we beseech Thee to hear us.
Jesus, Son of God and of Mary, we beseech Thee to hear us.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Jesus.
Jesus hear us.
Jesus graciously hear us.
Our Father, etc.
LET US PRAY
O miraculous Infant Jesus! prostrate before Thy sacred image, we beseech Thee to cast a merciful look on our troubled hearts. Let Thy tender Heart, so inclined to pity, be softened at our prayers, and grant us that grace for which we ardently implore Thee. Take from us all affliction and despair, all trials and misfortunes with which we are laden. For Thy sacred infancy’s sake hear our prayers and send us consolation and aid, that we may praise Thee, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen.
Nihil Obstat: BERNARD O’CONNOR, Diocesan Censor. Imprimatur: DANIEL MANNIX, Archiepiscopus Melburnensis. Melbourne, 8/1/1963.
Thank you for reading! I pray for you always and trust that you will continue to pray for each other who read these pages. For, in addition to praying and reparation for sinners, it is good for us all to support each other in prayer.
NOTE: Our older Advent Novena to the Holy Ghost has been updated a bit and is available here.
† Infant Jesus, whose truth enlightens the darkness of our hearts, have mercy on us and on Pope Francis.
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!