Above: the Holy Infant of Prague enshrined at Our Lady of Victory Church.
Below: Pope Benedict XVI presents a gold crown for the statue of the Infant.
Pope Benedict XVI has begun his three-day visit to the Czech Republic, and he went to the Church of Our Lady of Victory in Prague, where the famous image of the Holy Infant is enshrined. He presented a crown for the Infant, and spoke to the large number of families gathered there:
The image of the Child Jesus calls to mind the mystery of the Incarnation, of the all-powerful God who became man and who lived for thirty years in the lowly family of Nazareth, entrusted by Providence to the watchful care of Mary and Joseph. My thoughts turn to your own families and to all the families in the world, in their joys and difficulties. Our reflections should lead us to prayer, as we call upon the Child Jesus for the gift of unity and harmony for all families. We think especially of young families who have to work so hard to offer their children security and a decent future. We pray for families in difficulty, struggling with illness and suffering, for those in crisis, divided or torn apart by strife or infidelity. We entrust them all to the Holy Infant of Prague, knowing how important their stability and harmony is for the true progress of society and for the future of humanity.
The figure of the Child Jesus, the tender infant, brings home to us God’s closeness and his love. We come to understand how precious we are in his eyes, because it is through him that we in our turn have become children of God. Every human being is a child of God and therefore our brother or sister, to be welcomed and respected. May our society grasp this truth! Every human person would then be appreciated not for what he has, but for who he is, since in the face of every human being, without distinction of race or culture, God’s image shines forth.
This is especially true of children. In the Holy Infant of Prague we contemplate the beauty of childhood and the fondness that Jesus Christ has always shown for little ones, as we read in the Gospel (cf. Mk 10:13-16). Yet how many children are neither loved, nor welcomed nor respected! How many of them suffer violence and every kind of exploitation by the unscrupulous! May children always be accorded the respect and attention that are due to them: they are the future and the hope of humanity!
Dear children, I now want to say a special word to you and to your families. You have come here in large numbers to meet me, and for this I thank you most warmly. You are greatly loved by the Child Jesus, and you should return his love by following his example: be obedient, good and kind. Learn to be, like him, a source of joy to your parents. Be true friends of Jesus, and always turn to him in trust. Pray to him for yourselves, for your parents, relations, teachers and friends, and pray also for me. Thank you once again for your welcome. I bless you from my heart and I invoke upon all of you the protection of the Holy Infant Jesus, his Immaculate Mother and Saint Joseph.
This is an especially appropriate message for all of us, especially during the 40 Days For Life Campaign now underway. Pray for all families, and especially for all those children whose families are broken, or who have abandoned them. And remember, too, the children whose lives will be ended through abortion.