Devotion to the Holy Childhood of Jesus

Today is the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen but I don’t think they will mind if I usurp their feast day to talk about the Holy Childhood of Jesus. 🙂

Infant of Prague

Image by Vassil (2008) via Wikipedia, the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

One of the things I like to do each year is grow in my understanding and appreciation for the many traditions (with both the “big T” and “little t”) that are held dear in our Catholic Faith. I know for myself, I can take for granted all riches and graces and beauty of our faith. So in that vein, I want to share a little about the devotion to the Child Jesus.

January has always been dedicated to the Holy Childhood of Jesus. It is a devotion that dates back to the 300’s AD – and even earlier.

I confess that I never had any particular devotion to the Childhood of Jesus; however, I do remember my Aunt Pat giving me a statue of the Infant of Prague. She always said that if I kept a dollar bill under the statue I’d always have money. (Is that because there’s always a dollar under the statue or because the Lord is watching over me, or a little bit of both?!) I still have that statue and it sits on the dresser in my bedroom. I see it every time I enter the room and it makes me think about my Aunt – and this devotion.

As I searched for information about this devotion to the Holy Childhood, I didn’t find tons; nevertheless, if you’d like to explore the history and practices of devotion to the Childhood of Jesus (and the Infant of Prague), you can check out the sites here, here and here.

I also found a prayer that I sometimes use as a novena. If you would like to do the same, here it is:

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 achieve 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.

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)

(Found the prayer here.)