Infant Jesus of Prague
Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague began in the 17th century by the Carmelites in the city of Prague, Bohemia. Princess Polyxenia of Lobkowitz received the Infant Jesus as a wedding gift from her mother. Brought to her from Spain, the statue measured 19 inches in height and was made of wood, wax, and cloth. Our Lord was adorned with a king's crown and was dressed in robes fit for royalty.
After the death of her husband, Princess Polyxenia committed herself to a life of charitable works, which included supporting the Carmelites based in Prague. By 1628, when the Carmelites were in dire need, she gave her beloved statue to them, saying, “I give you what I prize most highly in the world; honor and respect the Child Jesus and you shall never be in want.” In appreciation to her, the Infant Jesus statue was positioned in their Carmelite oratory. Before long, the Princess’s words manifested to be true. As long as the Carmelites maintained their devotion to the Infant Jesus, they received a plenitude of divine favors.
A few years later, a war broke out in Prague, and the Carmelites were forced to flee from the city. Amidst the upheaval, they were not able to take the statue with them as they fled. When invaders raided their monastery, they seized the statue and threw it into a pile of rubbish. By 1635, peace was restored to Prague, the Carmelites returned to their home, and the statue was recovered by Carmelite Father Cyril. In the past, Father Cyril had received tremendous spiritual favors which stemmed from his devotion to the Infant Jesus. So, as the statue was restored to its original location in the monastery oratory, he knelt down before it in prayer and meditated on the greatest event in human history: the Incarnation of Our Lord.
As Father Cyril prayed before the Infant Jesus of Prague, he was struck in awe as he contemplated how Our Blessed Lord became a child simply because of His love for us and His desire to teach us how to be before Him: childlike. All of a sudden, the statue spoke to Father Cyril and stunned him as he heard these promised words:
HAVE MERCY ON ME, AND I WILL HAVE MERCY ON YOU.
GIVE ME HANDS, AND I WILL GIVE YOU PEACE.
THE MORE YOU HONOR ME, THE MORE I WILL BLESS YOU
Upon hearing these words from the Infant Jesus of Prague, Father Cyril became startled and began to examine the statue. As he drew aside the mantle covering it, he discovered that both hands of the statue were broken off. Through the generosity of an Infant Jesus devotee, the hands were later restored.
For over three centuries since then, the promised words have sparked a worldwide devotion to the Infant Jesus. The original Infant Jesus statue is currently preserved in the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague. Today, several replicas of the statue exist and are honored around the world. There is an endless list of blessings promised to Infant Jesus of Prague devotees: restored health, financial problems resolved, gifts of peace of mind and soul, spiritual and physical healing, and much more.
The Infant Jesus is the Patron of Carmelite novitiates.
Infant Jesus of Prague, have mercy on us!