Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Relaxing Haven at the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague (Davao City)

The few times that I've visited the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in Davao City, there was always someone ardently praying for petitions, specifically for the result of a national qualifying exams; a couple of times for the Physicians Licensure and once for the Bar. The latter was eagerly anticipating the results within hours. Anxiety was palpable in the air. That has always been the scenario, but the power of the Holy Child extends to financial matters, health, family, liberty, peace, safe travels and even for romance or relationships.

The story of the Holy Child, a wax figure only 18 inches tall, dates back to the time of the royalties in Spain, one that essentially involved St. Theresa of Avila. When the Spanish royalty wed a Czech prince, the statue of the Holy Child was taken to Prague where, after years of being kept private, suddenly found a home in a Carmelite monastery, Our Lady of Victories,  visited by devotees. Suddenly, the blind and the mute could see and speak, respectively. And miracles were occurring upon the Child's intercession. But the Thirty-Year War that left the country, and most of Europe, in shambles  eventually took a toll on faith and the religious. The statue was thrown into the rubbles of war, with its arms torn off.

One day, a young priest named Father Cyril exhumed the statue of the child Christ without its arms. Suddenly, he heard a child's voice saying, "Have mercy on me and I will have mercy on you. Give me back my arms and I will give you peace."

The road to its eventual restoration was long and arduous, but miracle after miracle intervened to give its arms back, and along with it, thousands befitted from their prayerful petitions.

My favorite anecdote was that of the monastery's gardener who had a barren vineyard and withered bushes. Upon praying for his war-torn garden, the following spring yielded a bountiful harvest.

I am not sure of the story behind the statue on exhibit at the Davao Shrine, but it sure felt like a sincere representative of the Child Jesus. More importantly, this is the perfect place when you require a serene surrounding for reflection. Situated on a hill, the shrine grounds is green and the air is fresh. It's rarely inundated with huge crowds so you're sure you can pray in peace. Nope, you don't need to be desperate for something to visit the shrine. You can offer Thanksgiving here as well.

At the entrance of the main chapel, there's a crucifix made of Roman Olive Tree from Bethala, a district of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus and of David. Supervised by Fr. Antonio G. Luto, OFM, sculptor Salem Giacomo finished the crucifix in 1978 and later sent it to where it is now.

You can light your candles and offer your petitions. Here's the Prayer before Lighting your Candles.

"O God, source and origin of all light accept this candle as a symbol of my love. inflame my heart with your grace that I may walk on the road of virtues, and glorify you all my life. Please help me in my needs (mention your petitions) through Infant Jesus and His mother Mary. Amen."

You can always word your prayer the way you want to. I am pretty sure it would be heard however you say them.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The Travelling Infant.

Look at all those melted candles and the hundreds of dreams that represent them.

The lush green surroundings of this religious mountain shrine. This photo only courtesy of skyscrapercity's Ibex.

Sculpture flown from Bethlehem.

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