Devotion to the Divine Infant

It was Christmas Eve in the old Monastery of Les Feuillants and Sister Josefa Menendez was at Mass,

"Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!"
“Have no fear, draw near to Him: He is all love!”

“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).

Devotion to the Holy Infant is complementary to that of Fatima. It has been rightly called the way of spiritual infancy. I believe that 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 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.

Continue reading “Devotion to the Divine Infant”

Devotion to the Divine Infant Jesus

It’s been very rainy and bleak here, a perfect backdrop for the ongoing spiritual chastisement we are suffering under Francis the Humble®.  A devotion which offers solace in these times is that of the Divine Infant Jesus, Who draws us by His perfect humility and loving obedience to Our Father in Heaven.

Devotion to the Holy Infant is complementary to that of Fatima. Both call us to mortification, true humility and perfect obedience. And devotion to the Divine Infant is a necessary part of the devotion recommended by St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, the beloved Little Flower.

Devotion to the Infant Jesus originated in Spain and then spread to many countries in a variety of manifestations. Many saints have been favored with this devotion, notably St. Anthony of Padua/Lisbon, St. Teresa of Avila and St. St Thérèse of Lisieux and Sister Lucia of Fatima.

Here’s a bit of background on just a few of the numerous devotions to the Holy Infant Jesus:

Santo Niño de Atocha

According to tradition, devotion to the Santo Niño de Atocha originated in devotion to Our Lady of Antioch and her Divine Child and “Atocha” derived from “Antioch” over many centuries. The original statue is said to have been sculpted by St. Luke the Evangelist and so dates to very early times. By 1162, the devotion had spread to Spain and became immensely popular. The following story is taken from the site El Santo Nino de Atocha:

Santo Nino de Atocha, save our families!
Santo Nino de Atocha, save our families!

The pious legend of the wonder working little Santo Niño is set in Spain.
In Atocha, a suburb of Madrid, many men were imprisoned by the Moors (Muslims) who terrorized the Christians there because of their faith. The prisoners were not fed by their jailers, so food was taken to them by their families. The caliph issued an order that no one except children twelve years old and younger would be permitted to bring food to the prisoners. Those with young children would manage to keep their relatives alive, but what of the others?

The women of the town appealed to Our Lady, begging her to help them find a way to feed their husbands, sons, and brothers. Soon the children came home from the prison with a strange story. Those prisoners who had no young children to feed them were being visited and fed by a young boy. None of the children knew who He was, but the little water gourd He carried was never empty, and there was always plenty of bread in His basket to feed all the hapless prisoners without children of their own to bring them their food. He came at night, slipping past the sleeping guards or smiling politely at those who were alert.

Those who had asked the Virgin of Atocha for a miracle began to suspect the identity of the little boy. As if in confirmation, the shoes on the statue of the child Jesus were worn down and dusty. When they replaced the shoes with new ones, those too were quickly worn out. After Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors from Spain in 1492, the people continued to invoke the aid of Our Lady of the Atocha and her Holy Child.

And so we see in the foregoing the miraculous intervention of the Holy Virgin and Child to assist Catholics against muslim persecution. Perhaps a useful devotion for our present times, isn’t it?

Santo Niño de Atocha in Mexico and New Mexico

In Mexico, the devotion to  was brought by the Spanish and carries on the tradition of devotion to the little pilgrim Child Jesus. A major shrine is in the state of Zacatecas in Fresnillo/Plateros, where many miracles were attributed to the Holy Infant Who miraculously saved miners who had been trapped in an explosion in the Fresnillo silver mine. In New Mexico, the Shrine is near the Sanctuary of Chimayo. Among the many veterans of World War II, were the brave New Mexicans who survived Corregidor, the Bataan Death March and internment in Japanese prison camps. When they returned, some 2,000 made a pilgrimage to the Holy Infant of Atocha at Chimayo, many walking barefoot.

The Holy Child Jesus is believed to travel through the countryside, seeking poor sinners to heal and help. In some areas, He is thought to be absent from the church at night, due to His peregrinations in search if souls to save.

Santo Niño de Cebú
Santo Nino de Cebu

In the Philippines, devotion to the Holy Infant Jesus known as  “Santo Niño” was brought by the Spanish to Cebu in about 1521 when a member of

Magellan’s crew gave the local queen a statue of the Santo Niño as a baptismal gift. The little statue has a wonderful, miraculous history and has been known to survive many calamities, as far back as 1565, when, after a battle in which the then-village of Cebu burned to the ground, soldiers found the wooden box containing the sacred statue unscathed amongst the ruins.

And again, during World War II, when the Santo Niño Church was bombed,  the statue of Santo Niño de Cebú was found to be completely undamaged. There are many other such miracles both for the statue and for the devout Filipinos  who treasure devotion to the Holy Infant Jesus of Cebú.  Devotion to the Holy Infant is an excellent example of humility, and is the basis for the practice of spiritual childhood .

In the Philippines, according to site, SantoNinodeCebu.org, the Feast day of El Santo Niño is celebrated on the third Sunday of every year and many Cebuanos and Filipinos in general, do not consider the Christmas season over until the Feast of the beloved  Santo Niño.

 

Continue reading “Devotion to the Divine Infant Jesus”

Divine Infant of Prague

Devotion to the Infant of Prague is an excellent help to return fallen-away Catholics to the faith. So many of us today have family members who have lapsed from the Faith and it is a continuous source of distress to know that those we love reject the only truth that can save them. Here is a most efficacious prayer to the Divine Infant Jesus for the return of lapsed Catholics. This prayer makes a very good novena as well.
Divine Infant of Prague, bless our families, bring them home to the Faith! Amen.
Holy infant of Prague, bless our families, bring them home to the Faith!

Prayer to the Holy Infant of Prague for Families

O Most Holy Infant of Prague, so generous to those who turn to Thee in need, be attentive to our supplication on behalf of our loved ones who have chosen to separate themselves from Thee, Who alone art their salvation.
 
Dearest Jesus, remember the sorrow with which Thy Mother and St. Joseph sought Thee when Thou taught in the Temple. Remember their joy as they found Thee after three days! By the tears they shed and their joyful embrace at finding Thee, we beg Thy mercy for our separated families, grieving the loss of faith of their loved ones. By the joy of Thine reunited Holy Family, we beg Thee, reunite our family in the one, true Faith.
 
Most Holy Infant, with firm conviction of soul, we repent our sins that have contributed to the loss of our loved ones’ faith and  earnestly desire to make amends. O Jesus, Who desires not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and saved, have mercy on our loved ones and return them to the faith. With joyful heart and confident hope, we entrust our loved ones to Thee, O merciful Infant. And when we are reunited once more in faith, we shall proclaim always and everywhere Thy great goodness and mercy, calling all poor sinners home to Thee, most loving Child Jesus! Amen.
 
Holy Infant Jesus, have mercy on us all!
Holy Family bless our family.