Thursday, February 25, 2010

Infant Jesus of Prague

   Many years ago, in the middle of the night, I awoke to a glowing red light that appeared on my bedroom wall. I was actually scared to death and didn't want to move because right there in the middle of the light was an image of the Infant Jesus of Prague.
   I jumped out of bed, turned on the light, and went over to the wall. There was nothing there. I remember that the date was Sept. 1 because it was my late Uncle Vinnie's birthday who had died from a heart attack.
   The following morning, I told my parents what had happened.
    "It felt bad. Like something wasn't right," I said.
   My mom was fascinated that I knew it was the Infant Jesus of Prague rather than it appeared to me in the middle of the night. My dad thought nothing of it because since I was a child I've always been intuitive about things.
   That afternoon, my mom told me she was worried about my older brother. At the same time I saw the glowing red light, he saw a person in his bedroom in an old house where he lived in New York. Always a man of logic and reason (who earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology), my brother described what he saw as a person in a long, blue robe with  familiar big, blue eyes like my mother.
   But, the strange thing was, this person had no hair. My brother said he wasn't afraid when the person went up into the air and disappeared.
  We never mentioned that mysterious night until a couple of years later in July 1999. I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother. She had terminal cancer and it was one month before she died.
  "Do you remember the night you had that dream about the Infant Jesus of Prague and your brother saw a person in his room with big, blue eyes and no hair?" she asked me.
  I nodded "yes."
  "That was me," she said confidently.
  I told her she was being ridiculous and that she was going to get better very soon.
  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
  The day before my mother died, her cousin, Jerry,arrived at the house with his 7-year-old daughter, Jennifer who had a gift for her.
  She handed me a brown scapular, which is a symbol of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. My mother was born on that feast day (July 16). It was the name given to Mary as the patroness of the Carmelite Order.
  I thanked Jennifer and promised I would give the scapular to my mother. There was no way I was going to let her into the bedroom. I wanted Jennifer to remember my mother as the lively, beautiful, and vibrant person that she was in her lifetime.
   A few months after my mom died, it all came together for me. What my brother and I experienced were premonitions. When my younger brother questioned why he didn't see anything, I told him he probably didn't need to because he's less of a skeptic.
  The blue robe represented Mary or Our Lady of Mount Carmel who holds the infant Jesus. The Infant Jesus of Prague ended up being a gift to the Discalced Carmelites. The image with the blue eyes that rose up through the ceiling and disappeared meant that my mom was safe in heaven now.
  Many references to the Infant Jesus of Prague are often referred to as legends. The most common one is that the statue was given to Maria Manrique de Lara, a Spanish princess as a wedding gift from her mother Isabella. Maria went to Prague to marry a man of Czech royalty. When Maria's daughter, Polyxena, got married she gave her the statue.
  In turn, it ended up as a gift to the Discalced Carmelites who lived near the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague, where the statue is now kept. This was around the year 1628.
  Some stories say after the city and church were invaded (by Turks or Protestant Swedes) and the statue's hands were broken off.
  A Friar named Father Cyril claimed that the infant Jesus told him to repair the statue saying, "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you." He fixed it and to this day the statue is said to perform miracles.

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