Devotion to the Infant Jesus.
Popular devotions are recognized as part of Catholic piety. They have significance in the life of the people who flock in large numbers to the devotional centers and shrines. The Church encourages popular devotions in as they can lead the faithful to a deeper experience of God.
“Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly endorsed, provided they conform to the laws and norms of the Church,” (Sacrosanctum Concilium No. 7:13). Fr. Jose Neuner, a well know theologian, remarks that “devotions are the flowers that grow spontaneously in such great and amazing variety in the jungles that surround the cultivated gardens. Even Jesus preferred to speak of the lilies of the field rather than of the well protected and nurtured flowers.”
The term ‘devotion’ stands for the first act of virtue of religion and is based, according to the teachings of St.Thomas Acquinas, on the promptness of the will to give oneself to those things which pertain to the services of God. Devotion springs from the will and is suffused with Charity, a fervent love of god, and places us always at the disposal of anything that is an object of Divine Pleasure. Devotional practices are attempts to experience and foster a relationship with the Divine.
One thing that the Second Vatican Council asserts is the superiority of Liturgy over popular devotions. The center of devotions must always be the liturgy i.e. the celebration of the mystery of Jesus Christ. They must be related in a meaningful way to this center, from which they flow, to which they lead, and to the rhythm of which they should be tunes! The Church dose so to highlight the centrality of Jesus Christ in all liturgical celebrations and popular devotions. According to Vatican II devotions are a way of Christian worship and their centre is always the Liturgy.
Devotion To The Child Jesus
DEVOTION TO THE Child Jesus is devotion to the reality of the Incarnation. A few may object saying “Jesus isn’t a helpless little child anymore, so we shouldn’t depict Him as such or have a devotion to His Infancy”. But the fact is that God DID become truly human and entered this world as a baby. This is how He closes to begin His saving mission on earth. St. Paul marvels as well. That is why we celebrate His Holy Infancy alongside His death and Resurrection… the former made the latter possible. Jesus came on earth to reveal God to us and in each stage of His life, Infancy, Childhood, Manhood, he taught us about God! Renouncing the majesty, grandeur and Greatness of God the Creator, Jesus came as a child, not in a raging whirlwind or a devouring fire. He came in the stillness of the night, a little child in an animal shelter, with only a feed-trough as His cradle. The God is great is a Truth which needed no supernatural being to teach men. That God is LITTILE is the Truth which Jesus taught man… the lesson of humility. “Unless you become like little children….” Simple, humble, open, fearless, trusting…. These are among the virtues that strike us as we contemplate the Infancy and childhood of Jesus.
Christians always showed a deep reverence to the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. Fathers of the Church like St. Athanasius and St. Jerome were draw by the mysteries of the birth and childhood of Jesus. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Teresa of Avvila, and St. Therese of Lisieux were among the greatest saints who had a deep veneration and devotion to the Child Jesus. St. Francis of Assisi is said to have prepared the first crib for the Christmas of 1226