Back on November 20, I blogged about a damaged and unwanted Infant of Prague statue that I'd rescued from the back of a church we visited one Sunday in Upstate NY. This statue of the Child Jesus was missing a thumb and a cross, and He needed to be dressed. I fell in love with His sweet painted face (although He had no eyebrows!), and I envisioned how beautiful He could be with a little TLC. Here is the before picture:I soon got to work on my little labor of love. First, I painted on some eyebrows. Next, I fashioned a thumb and a cross out of Sculpey (a modeling clay that can be hardened by baking it in the oven), painted them, and glued them in place. Then I sewed a lace-trimmed red robe, using red velveteen and off-white lace that I'd found in my late mother-in-law's attic during a recent visit to my husband's childhood home. I needed a crown for my statue, but when I found one that would have been perfect in a Catholic goods catalog, the price was between $30 and $40, which I thought was much too steep. So I made a crown out of gold-colored poster board and gold rope trim, both of which I had already, and found some cheap plastic "gems" at Wal-Mart that I glued on to finish it off with a royal touch. I think my Infant of Prague is so lovely now! Here's the after picture:The Infant of Prague can be dressed in different colors that correspond to the different liturgical seasons on the Catholic Church calendar. There are four basic colors that are normally used:
White: festive color of purity and holiness--Easter and Christmas
Red: color of blood and fire, royal color--Holy Week, Pentecost, feasts of the Holy Cross
Violet: solemn color symbolising repentence--Lent and Advent
Green: color of life and hope--ordinary time
And here is a quote I found on a Catholic website that explains the reason for dressing this statue:
"The ancient tradition of dressing the grace-giving statue of the Infant of Prague is intended to bring Jesus closer to the faithful as a real human being. It helps us to experience the closeness of Jesus and to express our love and reverence. It is not a case of idolatry, for the statue is not alive and it serves only as a reminder and a means of enabling a spiritual encounter with the living Christ.
The statue itself represents Jesus as a very small child, wearing a simple gown. This statue, sublime in its simplicity, is dressed in a white alb and royal robes to express the thought that is common to all Christians, that this child is a king of the house of David, and, what is more, that Jesus is Son of God and God himself, King of Kings and Lord of Lords."