Sunday, September 12, 2010
El Divino Niño Jesús
El Divino Niño Jesús de Bogotá, Colombia; at Saint Joseph Church in Josephville, Missouri. Under Jesus' feet is inscribed Yo reinare, or “I shall reign.” The feast-day of this devotion is September 3rd.
This devotion to the Divine Child Jesus was started in the 20th century by the Salesian priest Fr. John Rizzo, who was originally from the region of Arenzano, Italy. Assigned to a desperately poor barrio of Bogota in Colombia, Fr. Rizzo had the task of raising funds for a grand new church — but where where was the money to be found? He had a vision of a smiling Child Jesus with hands outstretched, as if He were saying “Take me with you. I want to accompany you.” Fr. Rizzo started a public devotion to the Child Jesus, and the fortunes of his neighborhood turned around — and the generosity of the newly-prosperous inhabitants solved the fund-raising problem.
A striking feature of the Apostolic Faith is the possibility of our increase in virtue — both natural and supernatural. Being truly faithful can lead to an increase of the virtues so that we can be lifted out of poverty, or to be able to endure poverty in a saintly manner. This is in contradiction to the fatalistic pagan religions and contemporary philosophies, and also to those which claim utter freedom from objective morality. But the devotion to the Child Jesus is also important because it shows that God humbled Himself. If He can be humble and obedient, why can't we?
The original statue, which Fr. Rizzo purchased from an Italian artist in Bogota, can still be seen there. Jesus is clothed in a pink tunic.