So I find myself in Oklahoma at the National Shrine of the Infant of Prague. I have recounted how I was surprised to find myself attracted to the infant. I had never quite made the connection that beneath the dress up baby Jesus doll was a devotion to the child Jesus, and that this was connected with one of my favorite saints, Therese of Lisieux. OK, so the connection was made, and I prayed to the Infant Jesus for a special prayer request which is deep down and personal and by golly, the prayer has been answered amazingly.
Then last week I am in Florida with the eighth graders. We pay a visit to St Augustine Cathedral and after telling the kids about the architecture and murals and windows I let them prowl around the cathedral to light a candle and say their prayers. What a beautiful sight to see so many of them put their camera away and be awestruck by the beauty of the church. So many of them did stop and pray and light a candle, and did so with such a naturalness and lack of embarrassment…boys and girls alike. That in itself was a beautiful thing.
Then I make my way to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and there is a large, beautifully dressed Infant of Prague. I kneel down to pray and start laughing because I think God is laughing at me. The Infant of Prague! For me he was always kind of the extreme of Catholic devotion…a cultural mystery to me and while I never mocked, it is true that I never understood. Then suddenly before this image my experience at the Shrine in Oklahoma sweeps over me again. I can see it all, but can’t put it into words. Just to say that I experienced great joy and a great knowledge of God’s sense of humor. He’s almost saying to me, “Look you silly proud person. I was trying to get through to you all these years, and you didn’t even give me a second thought. I’ve got you at last, and it was through the Infant of Prague…that image and that devotion you looked down on as silly and sentimental and girly. Ha!! Gotcha!!”
It was a precious moment and I got up from my knees with a goofy grin of joy on my face and admitted to myself that I loved the Infant of Prague, that I thought him beautiful and I even liked his fancy outfit. I walked out of the Cathedral thinking about His beautiful embroidered robes and thought to myself…’to be clothed in His righteousness.’ Now wouldn’t that be something?