Sunday 18 July 2021

The Infant of Prague - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston - CTS Devotions

The Infant of Prague
Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784690045
eISBN 9781784693299
CTS Booklet D781

This is the twelfth volume from the pen of Glynn MacNiven-Johnston that I have read. I believe she wrote 5 biographies of saints and wrote or cowrote 6 prayer and devotions books. Over the last several years I have read over 200 books from the Catholic Truth Society. They are many great series, and books available from the CTS. And the CTS Devotions is among my favourites. The description of this booklet is:

“An exploration of the history of the devotion, and the statue itself, reveals its roots in a Christian love for Scripture and the Child Jesus. Prayers, the chaplet, Litanies and Novenas are included.

While devotion to the ‘Infant of Prague’ is widespread and longstanding, it is little understood, even dismissed, by many. This text investigates the intriguing history of the devotion, and the statue itself, and reveals its roots in a Christian love for Scripture and the Child Jesus. Many saints were associated with this devotion, especially among the Carmelites: Teresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux to name but two. Prayers, Litanies and Novenas have also been gathered to make this an excellent introduction and companion.”

The chapters in this booklet are:

The Infant of Prague Statue
Lost in War, Recovered in Peace
Devotion to the Child Jesus
Other Famous Images of the Child Jesus

This book was originally published in 2014 and the eBook edition released in 2017. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on ‘Other Famous Images of the Child Jesus’. I was well aware of the Infant of Prague, and we have a copy in our parish in Waterloo, Ontario. But I was unaware of much of the history of this devotion and it was a fascinating read. Reading about the history of clothes for states, and changing them to match liturgical season was something I was completely unaware of. The way this devotion developed and spread was fascinating. And the collection of prayers is wonderful. The prayers included in this book are:

Act of consecration to the Holy Child Jesus
Prayers by Fr Cyril of the Mother of God OCD
Prayer by Pope Benedict XVI
Prayer of St Thérèse of Lisieux
Morning Offering to the Holy Child Jesus
Chaplet of the Holy Child
Prayer to the Child Jesus
“Prayer in Affliction” to the Infant of Prague
Act of Thanksgiving to the Infant Jesus
A simple prayer to the Infant Jesus
Prayer of a sick person
Prayer for a sick person

Urgent Novena
Novena to the Child Jesus
Longer Novena

Litany of the Miraculous Infant of Prague
Litany of the Holy Childhood of Jesus
The Litany of the Infant Jesus

Prayer to the Santo Bambino di Aracoeli
Prayer to El Niño de Atocha
Prayer to Le Petit Roi de Grâce

Just shy of half of the volume is the collection of prayers. Making this a nearly equal mix of information and prayers. Some of the passages I highlighted while reading this book are:

“When Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine, he said that the image of the Infant of Prague reminds us of “the mystery of the incarnation of the all powerful God who became man” and lived in a family as a child. He prayed in front of the statue for parents, for families, especially those struggling with illness, suffering, infidelity and other crises, entrusting them all to the Infant.”

“Once again while in prayer, Fr Cyril heard the Child’s voice tell him, “Place me at the entrance to the sacristy and you will find the one who will have mercy on me.” This is what happened. Someone seeing the broken statue offered to pay for the repairs and a young artist was found who did the work. It is further said the young man was so moved when the statue was whole again that he left without asking for payment.”

“The Prague Carmelites discovered that, as the Child had said to Fr Cyril, the more they honoured the Infant, the more he helped them. When devotion to the Infant flourished, so too did the monastery. The fame of the Infant Jesus began to spread, first as a helper of the childless, and copies of the statue began to appear in other countries. He was also invoked by those in material need; especially the poor to whom this can be a life and death issue.”

“Devotion to the Infant of Prague, though popular, is quite recent to Ireland, a statue having been brought from Belgium to the Carmelite Monastery in Loughrea in 1890.”

One of the prayers I am particularly drawn to is:

Prayer by Pope Benedict XVI

 O my Lord Jesus,
 we gaze on you as a baby
 and believe that you are the Son of God,
 who became man
 in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
 through the working of the Holy Spirit.
 Just as at Bethlehem,
 we too, with Mary, Joseph,
 the angels and the shepherds,
 adore you and acknowledge you
 as our only Saviour.
 You became poor
 to enrich us with your poverty.
 Grant that we may never forget the poor
 and all those who suffer.
 Protect our families,
 bless all the children of the world,
 and grant that the love you brought us
 may always reign amongst us
 and lead us to a happier life.
 Grant, O Jesus, that all
 may recognise the truth of your birth,
 so that they may know
 that you came to bring
 to the whole human family
 light, joy and peace.
 You who live and reign
 with God the Father
 in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
 one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

This is another excellent volume from the pen of Glynn MacNiven-Johnston and from the Catholic Truth Society. To be honest it was not a booklet I had planned on picking up, until I realized it was the only volume from Glynn that I had not read. I am very thankful that I picked it up. It is an excellent little volume and I highly recommend it. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Glynn MacNiven-Johnston:
Maria Goretti Teenage Martyr
Pier Giorgio Frassati Inspiration for Students
Father Damien Apostle to the Lepers
Martin de Porres

Rita of Cascia 

Prayer Books:
Handbook of Novenas for Feasts and Seasons
Devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
The Infant of Prague
Handbook of Novenas to the Saints: Short Prayers for Needs & Graces
Handbook of Scriptural Novenas: For Various Needs and Intentions
Devotion to St Jude: Patron of Hopeless Cases

A Book of Novenas

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