.- In his first official act after his arrival in the Czech Republic, Pope Benedict XVI stopped at the church of Our Lady Victories, home of the famous image of the Infant Jesus of Prague, where he delivered an emotional prayer for the stability of marriage and the family, as well as for the well-being of children around the world.
Speaking to a crowd of families with children, after adoring the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel of the Infant Jesus, the Holy Father said that "the image of the Child Jesus calls to mind the mystery of the Incarnation, of the all-powerful God Who became man and Who lived for thirty years with the lowly family of Nazareth."
"My thoughts turn to your own families and to all families ... as we call upon the Child Jesus for the gift of unity and harmony."
"We think especially of young families who have to work so hard to offer their children security and a decent future. We pray for families in difficulty, struggling with illness and suffering, for those in crisis, divided or torn apart by strife or infidelity. We entrust them all to the Holy Infant of Prague, knowing how important their stability and harmony is for the true progress of society and for the future of humanity," the Pope said.
"In the Holy Infant of Prague we contemplate the beauty of childhood and the fondness that Jesus Christ has always shown for little ones. ... Yet how many children are neither loved, nor welcomed, nor respected! How many of them suffer violence and every kind of exploitation by the unscrupulous!" Pope Benedict lamented.
"May children always be accorded the respect and attention that are due to them: they are the future and the hope of humanity!" he said.
Minutes before, the Pope crowned the small wax image of the infant Jesus, and pronounced the following prayer:
O my Lord Jesus,
we gaze on you as a child
and believe that you are the Son of God,
who became Man through the working of the Holy Spirit
in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
Just as in Bethlehem,
we too adore you, with Mary, Joseph,
the angels and the shepherds,
and acknowledge you
as our only Savior.
You became poor
to enrich us with your poverty.
Grant that we may never forget the poor
and all those who suffer.
Protect our families,
bless all the children of the world
and grant that the love you have brought us
may always reign amongst us
and lead us to a happier life.
Grant, O Jesus, that all
may recognize the truth of your birth,
so that all may know
that you have come to bring
to the whole human family
light, joy and peace.
You are God, who live and reign with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.