"And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us". (John 1:14)Our most reliable resource on the Holy Infancy and Childhood of Our Lord is Sacred Scripture. The Gospels of Saints Matthew and Luke both record certain key events in Jesus' early life. You can read them in the next article: The Christ Child in the Holy Gospels
Certain early Christians and Gnostics composed apocryphal works, called "Infancy Gospels", which purport to narrate events in Jesus' early life. They are full of fanciful folklore; some are reverent while others border on blasphemy (particularly the Gnostic ones). The Church has never considered them inspired Scripture or even reliable sources, so I do not recommend that one read them as though they are historically true.
Catholic Devotions to the Holy Infancy of Christ
Devotion to the Child Jesus is devotion to the reality of the Incarnation. A few of our separated brethren may object that "Jesus isn't a helpless little baby anymore", so we shouldn't depict Him as such or have a devotion to His Infancy. But the fact is that our God did become truly human and entered this world as a baby. This is how He chose to begin His saving mission on earth. St. Paul marvels at how Christ "emptied Himself" in the Incarnation, and we who love Him marvel as well. That is why we celebrate His Holy Infancy alongside His Death and Resurrection; the former made the latter possible!
Saints depicted in art holding the Christ Child:
Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Christopher, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Rose of Lima, St. Cajetan.
Liturgical Feasts relating to Christ's Infancy:
The Holy Infant Jesus of Prague
"The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you."The Infant of Prague statue depicts the Christ Child at about three years of age. He is dressed as a king, not because Catholics think He actually dressed this way while a child on earth (in fact, the Holy Family was much too poor to afford such garments!). Rather, this statue reminds us that, even as an infant or toddler, Jesus was truly Christ the King, the Sovereign Lord of all Creation. Like most religious art, this image conveys a spiritual truth and not just an earthly historical reality.
According to the Catholic Community Forum, the Infant of Prague is Patron of the following: children, colleges, family life, foreign missions, freedom, good finances, health, peace, schools, travellers, universities, and vocations.
Here is a page which gives the History of the Infant Jesus of Prague.
"Holy Infant Jesus, bless and protect us."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)Prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague
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)
O Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of the Universe, you chose to humble yourself and come into the world, not as a powerful ruler, but as a helpless infant; grant us the grace of humility and gentleness before you and our brothers and sisters. Grant, too, O Lord, that we may always strive to achive the virtue and innocence of your own Holy Childhood. Instill in us a growing faith you, O Lord, and the strength to resist temptation in a world which so widely rejects you. Look upon us with compassion and forgive us our sins. Fill our hearts with kindness and understanding, especially for children, the aged and those we dislike or who dislike us.Prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague
O Jesus, who so loved children that you admonished us, "Unless you become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven," grant us a child-like faith and purity of heart. Give us the grace not only to pray fervently, but to help spread your Gospel by deed as well as word. Amen. (from Franciscan Mission Associates pamphlet)
O Infant of Prague, who said, "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you," give us the strength to bear the burden of daily life in this sinful world. Give us a firm prupose of amendment and a resolve to lead a better life. Help us endure our afflictions and sorrows with patience and courage. Finally, O beloved Infant King, if it be your will grant my petition (make your request). But whatever you choose, give me the strength to submit to your will in all things. Amen. (from Franciscan Mission Associates pamphlet)
Prayer to the Divino Niño In Difficult Times
Divine Child Jesus,Prayer in Affliction
In my difficulties: help me
From the enemies of my soul: save me
In my errors: enlighten me
In my doubts and pains: comfort me
In my solitudes: be with me
In my diseases: invigorate me
When others despise me: encourage me
In temptations: defend me
In difficult hours: strengthen me
With your maternal heart: love me
With your immense power: protect me
And, into your arms, when I die: receive me
O Dearest Jesus, tenderly loving us, Your greatest joy is to dwell among us and to bestow Your blessing upon us. Though I am not worthy that You should behold me with love, I feel myself drawn to You, O dear Infant Jesus, because You gladly pardon me and exercise Your almighty power over me. So many who turned with confidence to You have received graces and had their petitions granted. Behold me, in spirit I kneel before Your miraculous image on Your altar in Prague, and lay open my heart to You, with its prayers, petitions and hopes. Especially the affair of (make your request), I enclose in Your loving Heart. Govern me and do with me and mine according to Your holy will, for I know that in Your Divine wisdom and love You will ordain everything for the best. Almighty gracious Infant Jesus, do not withdraw Your hand from us, but protect and bless us forever.Prayer Revealed by Our Lady To Ven. Father F. Cyril OCD
I pray You, sweetest Infant, in the name of Your Blessed Mother Mary who cared for You with such tenderness and by the great reverence with which St. Joseph carried You in his arms, comfort me and make me happy that I may bless and thank You forever from all my heart. Amen.
O Infant Jesus, I have recourse to You and ask You through the intercession of Your Holy Mother to help me in my need, (make your request) for I firmly believe that Your Divinity can help me. I hope, in complete trust, to obtain Your holy grace. I love You with all my heart and with all the strength of my soul. I am truly sorry for all my sins, and beg You, O good Jesus, to give me strength to conquer them. I shall never offend You and I am ready to suffer rather than to cause You pain. From now on I want to serve with complete faithfulness and for love of You, O Divine Child, I will love my nieghbour as well as myself. Omnipotent Child, Lord Jesus, again I implore You, help me in this need of mine (mention it). Grant me the grace of possessing You eternally, with Mary and Joseph and of adoring You with the holy angels in Your heavenly court. Amen.-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Images of the Infant Jesus Around the World
The first two pictures of saints holding the Christ Child are my personal scans; the rest come from the Catholic Community Forum.
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