Holding the Christ Child In Our Hearts

By Carrie Gress, Ph.D.


This beauty was found under a pile of old papers in a storeroom at our parish when the church was recently renovated. Likely placed there when the new church was built in the early 70s, I suspect it was abandoned as passe and irrelevant.

While there are no dates on it, the hardware was dated back to 16th c. Spain. It was likely brought to the area by early settlers and treasured by local Catholics for many centuries in the old church.

I have yet to identify the saints, although three have the clothes of martyrs. I imagine St. Dominic to be on the left, then perhaps St. Cecilia or St. Agnes, and then St. James? On the right, St. John the Baptist, with marks of beheading, is in the center. Perhaps he is flanked by St. Benedict? Or Spanish saints? It is wonderful to think of the painter and all the people who have gazed upon it, standing before it in prayer throughout the centuries, from Spain to Virginia.

Since its arrival, our family started the tradition of re-consecrating ourselves to Mary before this icon on every January 1st. But this Advent, I am reminded of Our Lady's desire to give us her Son, even her infant Son. We too can take him into our hearts and hold him tenderly there, just like his Mother did so many centuries ago. There are few things as wonderful as holding an infant -- but even more so when he is the Savior of the world.

Posted on December 3, 2017 .