INFANT OF PRAGUE NINE DAY NOVENA
[You may state
the Novena at the start
on the first day, or ask it anew each day.]
ORIGINAL PRAYER OF VEN. CYRIL TO THE MIRACULOUS INFANT JESUS OF PRAGUE
JESUS, unto Thee
Through Thy mother praying Thee
in my need to succor me.
Truly, I believe
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
Therefore, do my sins repent me;
From them breaking, I beseech Thee,
Jesus, from their bonds to free me.
Firm my purpose
Never more will I offend Thee.
Wholly unto Thee
Patiently to suffer for Thee,
Thee to serve eternally.
And my neighbor like to me
I will love for love of Thee.
The Prayer of Christ the King HERE.
[To be recited each day of the Novena, after that day's reflection: at the
end of each days' prayer the link is reprovided for your convenience so
you do not have to scroll back to the top of the page.]
Almighty, everlasting God, who didst will that all things should be made new in Thy beloved Son, the universal King, mercifully grant that all kindred of the Gentiles scattered by the ravages of sin may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule. Who liveth and reigneth with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Happily familiar to Catholics the world over is the little Infant of Prague. The dear and charming statues of Him, copied from the miraculous image in the capital of harassed Czechoslovakia, belong now to the whole of Catholicity. Today they can be found everywhere. Christ is a king, the King.
This fact we celebrate in the majestic, glorious Feast of Christ the King. But Christ is the King not only of power and might. He is the King not alone of terrible love, ruling from His Cross, the conquering monarch entering into the glory of His Heavenly kingdom.
He is also the Infant King, the king of Bethlehem and of the nursery in Nazareth . . . the king too small to defend Himself save by flight into Egypt . . . the king small enough to hide in the Host or in a human breast.
So before the little Infant of Prague we say:
Fundamental to Christianity and basic to our faith and hope is the fact that the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed trinity, became a Baby.
This was the wonder that exalted the early Christians and repelled the pagan monarchs.
Suddenly the best of good news broke over the horizon. The remote God was as near as Bethlehem. The great God had become as small as a baby. The hands that fashioned the universe were infant hands. The all-creative voice that had cried the stupendous "Fiat lux," broke into the cries of babyhood.
"We can pick up our God in our arms and hold Him as we hold a child." The thought made early Christians joyous as they took Him as their guest in the Eucharist.
To the pagan world the idea was repellent. A king must be powerful, aloof, threatening, crowned with awesome majesty. He must be reached through messengers and surrounded by the restraining pomp of courts.
So God became a Baby. Christianity was born with the birth of an Infant King. Christ's birth was a rebirth for human souls.
Before the Infant King we say:
It was given to Wise Men to see the kingdom of Infancy.
A million, million Christians have prayerfully and happily followed the Magi as they traveled from pagandom onto the very center of the Church.
Exultantly Catholics have seen these men, the wisest of their times, pierce the thin veil of babyhood and know that a Child could be a king, and God could in His quest of hearts assume the most heartwarming disguise.
Wise as only the holy are wise, they saw the majesty in humility and the strength in love. Before the Infant King they placed their royal treasures.
How like they were to those holy souls who in far-off Prague placed about the Infant King the trappings of royalty. The three Wise Men gave Him jewels to stud into a crown, and gold to beat into fine thread for His royal raiment, and the perfumes that were burned only in the braziers that sent clouds of sacrificial incense upward to God.
History repeats itself in glad insistence. The gifts that were laid at the feet of the Infant of Bethlehem, modern faith has duplicated for the Infant of Prague.
We join the Magi in saying:
Our age likes to think of itself as wise and grown up and sophisticated. Often we see our age for what it is, old and tired and faltering to an atomic grave.
It was the wisest of all teachers, Christ Himself, Who reminded us that unless we become as little children we shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Nicodemus was puzzled by the whole idea of rebirth, infancy, childhood. Christ explained to him, on that secret night of his abashed visit, the rebirth through Baptism. All His life Christ explained to the tired old world of His age the importance of the virtues that keep the world young.
Sin makes men old. Virtue keeps them immortally young. Sin speeds us to quick death. Virtue wings us to endless life. "Suffer the little children to come unto me . . . for such is the Kingdom of God" . . . men and women of childlike faith in their Father in Heaven . . . men and women unwearied by the dull pounding of sin . . .
How wise the Church to encourage us, of this weary old generation, to kneel before the holy Infant and learn once more the beauties of childhood and the virtues of a heart that never grows old.
Before the young King, the Infant God, we say:
"Unless you . . . become as little children . . ."
Who among us does not turn back to the happy days of childhood? The incredible moment of our first Holy Communion . . . the day when in Confirmation we became temples of the Holy Spirit . . . the years when mother and father were all in all to us and carried every burden and guarded us against all dangers.
Those were the days without worry or burden, without the demands of each day pressing hard upon us. The world was new and beautiful, and God was very near. We walked with our guardian Angel. We knew the Saints by their favorite names.
Sin had not put its lines on our soul. We loved purely, and we acted on warm, generous impulses. Why regret childhood? Saints grow old; but they are the happy children of God's tenderest protecting care, whatever their weight of years or mantle of responsibility. We might ask God to give us back the childhood of our souls, our simple faith, our untarnished love, our clear vision of the supernatural, our trust in our fellow men, our glimpses of Heaven all around us.
All this we ask of the Infant of Prague in:
In an age that depends upon adult cleverness, it is like God to work miracles before the statue of a little child.
The statue of the Infant of Prague has been a wonder-working statue. In itself it is, as all statues are, stone or plaster or wood. In its symbolism it is deep and precious and meaningful.
So it has been that near the feet of the Baby King the sick have found their health, the troubled their peace, the weary their rest, the doubting their faith, the despairing their hope.
Strangely enough it has been toward temporal affairs, the affairs that are constantly bungled and mismanaged by the wise adults of earth that the miracles have flowed most frequently. Why not? God has used the wisdom of the simple to confound the wise, as He used the Babe of Bethlehem to upset the wiles of Herod and brought into ancient Egypt the eternal Word of God, His Infant Son.
Miracles there will always be, but only for the trusting hearts. In a cynical world, only a humble heart shall be so blessed. So asking for simple faith, which is always the fountain of the greatest miracles, we say:
Before the Infant Christ was born into the world, childhood was not a precious thing. Life was cheap, and the attitude of the pagan world toward new life was contemptuous. Only those who were strong enough to enforce their demands had any rights.
Then came the Infant Christ, and for the first time childhood became precious. Every baby born into the world by God's hope and design was His child and heir. Christianity saw in strong, pure, religious youth the guarantee of strong, pure, religious nations.
Marriage was founded no longer chiefly upon the lust of man and woman, a love that was to ripen into the living symbol of love --- the newborn baby. The child completed upon earth the trinity of the home--- itself an incarnate spirit of love --- as the Holy Spirit of love completed the Trinity in Heaven.
Today, our nation and almost all of the nations of the world have once more spurned the precious gift of life and infancy, in its blood-lust for abortion and fetal experimentation. And once again men and women marry for lust and practice sterile sex through contraception. They violate their own dignity and know not what it is they truly do. We need the Infant of Prague and His innocence more than we ever have.
As we look upon the Infant of Prague, we are glad that God became weak so that we could learn tenderness and mercy to the weak. We are glad that the Infant in the holy house gave marriage its high dignity and the home its beautiful sanctity.
Conscious of the dignity of of childhood, we say:
Children give us an amazing opportunity to show our generosity. The decent adult cannot fail to feel a strong impulse toward giving when he sees the smile and the outstretched hands of an infant.
Infancy becomes and excuse for human generosity. Certainly infancy has the power to waken even in the most selfish breasts the desire to give. Christmas proves this power --- Christmas that centers around the Child in the manger and the children in our homes.
Those holy souls who bedecked the Infant of Prague manifested beautifully this response of human generosity to childhood.
They clothed the Infant as we love to clothe a child in rich robes. They placed upon His Infant head a jeweled crown.
Then they did in symbol what God had done in reality: They placed in the tiny hands of the Infant Christ the world, of which He is Creator and over which He rules, and the scepter, symbol of His dominion over all mankind. So does God impress on a worldly-wise and selfish world, the need of simple, generous love. And He commands our love in the guise of a baby.
Out of generous hearts we speak:
Christ is our King; of that there is no doubt. Though He was battered and broken, He could stand in the presence of Pilate, representative of Rome's powerful monarch, and accept the governor's wondering question about His royalty.
"You say ----- and rightly ----- that I am king."
No other king was ever more truly king in his own right than was Christ. As St. John points out in his glorious opening verses, the world is His, for He made it.
When He established the unending Kingdom of His Church, He took over the world, knowing that the Church would see kingdoms and empires, republics and democracies rise and fall while it went its calm way.
But most important He is King because a million, million men and women have freely and gladly accepted Him. He is the King of hearts, the Monarch of souls, the Ruler of men's lives, the Master of their destinies. He is the Sovereign Who never disappoints, the Emperor Who walks at the side of His humblest subject.
He Who said: "I will be with you all days even to the consummation of the world," has chosen to keep His promise to us in our day in the guise of an infant, if only to confound our worldliness.
Before the Infant King we say:THE PRAYER OF CHRIST THE KING