Above all caste, creed and religion

Above all caste, creed and religion

It is His will that this response, as all others, be made to His Son, who “being rich, became poor for your sake. In order that by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor. 8, 9). God ordained that Jesus should know all life’s stages: infancy, childhood, youth, that He should be like us in everything, except sin. Childhood seems to hold a special place in His heart.

For as a grown man, it was a child whom He took in His arms to hold up as a model for His disciples. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” they had asked Him. Christ’s answer  was: “I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never get into the  kingdom of heaven at all! Anyone, therefore, who is as unassuming as this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 18,1-5). This teaching should not be misunderstood. Jesus is not commending childishness, timidity, lack of spiritual maturity. Being a follower of Christ demands courage, decisive action, maturity. But coupled with these must always be humility, candour, confidence-those virtues of childhood. It is these virtues that Jesus is recommending.

Love for our Infant Savior teaches us to accept-as He did-our littleness, our poverty as creatures. It teaches us, as St. Paul was taught, that “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in infirmity” (2 Cor. 12, 9). This devotion shows us that God’s power is attracted by our very weakness, for when dealing with our human frailty, God's power is mercy. The proud and arrogant, God scatters, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones,” as our Lady sang in her Magnificat. But the little and humble He loves. “He has exalted the lowly” (Lk. 1, 52).

Lack of pretension, openness, humility -- these are the qualities of children that Jesus seems to be holding up as necessary for entrance to the Kingdom. We can only enter the kingdom when we come depending upon Jesus and not ourselves. Novenas are very popular to Catholics. Nine days of public or private prayer for some special occasion or intention. Its origin goes back to the 9 days that the Disciples and Mary spent together in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday. They are a traditional Catholic method of prayer. A novena is offered as a sacrifice to God because it is a sign of devotion. And during this prayer devotion, the person saying the novena asks a specific request or intention.

The charming statue of the Child Jesus, displayed for people to venerate in the Shrine of Infant Jesus, Bangalore, receives visitors from all over the world every day. People come here to pray for help, healing, or peace, some come in trust expecting the birth of a child and many return to give thanks. The sweet face of the Child Jesus attracts visitors through its beauty. The right hand of the child is raised in blessing, while his left hand holds a sphere surmounted by a cross - the whole of our universe rests in his hands.

On this 40th Annual Feast Day of the Shrine, I Fr. Roys, the Rector of Infant Jesus Shrine, pray that Lord grant us all the humility and grace to honor the birth of Jesus by turning our focus in this season to the one person who deserves glory, praise, and honour from each of us. May our coming to Infant Jesus be ‘a journey of heart and spirit’. Wish you all Infant Jesus’ abundant blessings.