Imperfect ways of communicating with God, but communicating none the less…

… When I was a little girl my Abuela had a statue of the Divino Niño in her bedroom. She hand-made all His clothes, little gowns and velvet capes with cold fringe. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with cage styled statues. They were basically just a doll head or torso set on a frame and essentially “naked”. You dressed them yourself. It was a big deal to get them all gussied up in their finest robes and cloaks on feast days.

I had forgotten all about that strange little statue my grandmother had until I came across Terry’s post featuring a site that sells the caged statues, called bultos.

I was immediately reminded of a time I found Niño naked while visiting her. What happened to His clothes, I asked. Why was He naked? Apparently she was punishing Him for not answering a specific prayer by taking away all His pretty garments. Terry said this wasn’t uncommon. Old timers used to take away the bambino from St. Anthony statues when they felt their prayers neglected.

I know it sounds silly and juvenile. Like God or St. Anthony really cares one way or the other what you do with a statue. I suppose it probably sounds a bit more like pouting. I do that sometimes too… not say my evening prayers or a rosary because I’m in a foul mood at God for not addressing a need in a manner I think is timely enough.

Silly, maybe. But completely understandable if you have a fatherly relationship with God. He is God the Father and we are His children. And children pout and hold their breath and all sorts of things when they feel ignored or powerless to get what they want. If anything it at least acknowledges a level of two way communication between God and the Saints.

Also… if I knew how to sew I can see myself getting obsessive about making this a new hobby as well.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • shana oFs

    I inherited my grandmothers Infant of Prague and all his clothes that she and I made when I was very little. I mostly helped remove the big glass-headedpins from the fabric as it slipped uder the foot to be sewn so tha the needle ddin’t break and so Gram didn’t have to shift her attention from pushing the fabric under the needle to taking out pins. I love to dress the Infant up seasonally. He’s got it all rich greens, velvets and brocade an he just needs a new crown. Ibroke his old one. It was only lead with little glass ‘gems’ glued on. Any time it fell off it got bent and finally just snapped. Crowns his size, he’s a very large staue, are almost the cost of a whol e new statue in the catalogues. I’ll probably buy gold and sterling wire and make him a new one myself. There is also gold and sliver ‘clay’ that when baked in the proper kiln is nearly p ure metal and I’d like to learn to use tha stufr, but it is a costly hobby as the clay isn’t cheap and electric kilns can be costly to run. But I could make him one gorgeous crown out of sterling and gold if I could afford to buy the Art clay and the kiln and learn to do it myself. I don’t ‘punish’ the Infant when I don’t get my way. the plastic covering for his shrine has ‘the more you honor Me the more I will bless You” wirtten in gold over it the temptation is fierce. I always felt I would be dishonorhing Jesus more and that would be worse! but yea, I do neglect prayer, too, when I’m really hurt that necessities go unanswered. But I do try to rememeber to be thankful.

    I know from a Medieval Reader of source material that there is a very old story, 14th century I think, about a woman who stole the infant statue from the madonna at her church bbecause the Madonna didn’t answer her prayers. She took the infant and hid him at her house so HIs Mother coudln’t find Him and she offers to give Him back when the prayer is answered to her satisfaction. So that way of expressing disappointment has been around a long time! Yes, we are God’s children and like all children we don’t take ‘no for an answer with anything like grace. “

  • Karyn

    A sister once told me that in medieval times they used to taunt the saints. “You think your so great, St. Jude? I don’t think you’re so great. The only way you’d convince me is if you….” I like your abuela’s attitude. I think it’s honest. Who of us hasn’t prayed, “Thy will be done…and I’m sure you agree, God, that my way is the best.”

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Leah’s adaptation of the atheist Litany of Tarski seems appropriate:
    Lord, help me to believe that which is true, and to not believe that which is not true.