There are some things about the “popular culture” of Roman Catholicism that I will never understand. Among the foremost is the devotion to the Infant of Prague.
The original, supposedly given to a Spanish noblewoman by Teresa of Avila, was presented to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague by the wonderfully named Princess Polyxena von Lobkowicz in 1628.
During the Thirty Years War, the friary was attacked and the statue thrown onto a trash heap. Its hands broken off, it lay behind the altar for seven years until rescued by a Father Cyrillus. One day, while praying before the statue, he heard a voice say, “Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honor me, the more I will bless you.”
From there a worldwide devotion began.
But where does the practice of changing the statue’s clothing several times a year come from? Why do so many people find this devotion important and meaningful?
It completely baffles me.
Is there something about Catholic culture that confounds you?
[Image by Jorge Royan under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license]