RORATE CÆLI: Christmas Octave: Devotion to the Child Jesus First part

The devotion to the Child Jesus

Fr. Alban Cras, FSSP – Conference

The devotion to the Child Jesus goes back to the very origins of Christianity. There are somewhat legendary depictions of the Child Jesus in the Apocryphal Gospels (cf. Infancy Gospel of Thomas, that presents a super-hero Child Jesus). We then see the Child Jesus appear notably to Saint Jerome, and also to Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

In the Middle Ages, the entire world is aware of the closeness between Saint Anthony of Padua and the Child Jesus. But it was in the 16th century that the devotion to the childhood of Christ received a great boost thanks to the Theresian reform; therefore, it was mainly the Carmelite spirituality that favored it. In all her travels, Saint Teresa of Avila took with her a statue of the Child Jesus, and she placed a new one in each new Carmel. It was thus that the Child Jesus was considered the true founder of each new monastery.

You are aware perhaps of the famous apparition of the Child Jesus to Saint Teresa of Avila, whose name in religion was Teresa of Jesus. The Child Jesus appeared to Teresa on a staircase in the monastery of the Incarnation, and told her: “You, you are Teresa of Jesus, and I am Jesus of Teresa.”

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Pope’s childhood letter to Baby Jesus shows his faith :: EWTN News

A Christmas letter that Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Baby Jesus when he was seven years-old demonstrates his devotion to the Sacred Heart and his desire to be a priest.The letter is on display this Advent in the village of Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, where he was born.

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Happy Holidays? Yeah, Right!

Editor’s Note: Each year around Christmastime we post a slightly updated version of the following personal Christmas reflection which offers an alternate custom to the celebration of the great Feast. I wrote it some years ago, and every year since I receive email from new visitors to this site gently chastising The Remnant for not posting it earlier in Advent so as to allow time for families to adopt as their own some of the customs herein suggested.

Over the years many Catholic families have adopted the old Christ Child tradition, believing it to be a beautiful means of restoring the true meaning of Christmas while strengthening Catholic identity in children. And it can be gradually implemented, of course.

Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), for example, can still be invited to visit the Catholic home on Christmas morning but in a dramatically reduced capacity, perhaps leaving a few stocking stuffers above the mantle and moving on.

As it was in Catholic homes throughout Christendom, Christmas must become all about the Christ Child once again. And a truly merry Christmas remains forever predicated on careful observance of Advent. No Christmas trees, no lights, no good things to eat until December 25, when the time of waiting comes to an end and all of Christendom rejoices at an event so magnificent even a two-year-old gets it. Christ is to be born—and the world, the flesh and the Devil will never change that reality, no matter how hard they try.

Happy Holidays? Yeah, right! It’s time to take Christmas back, and here’s one suggestion for how to do it, based on traditions as old as Christendom itself. MJM

Read this at Reclaiming Christ at Christmas