Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow White's House: The Little King

Although it's hardly a popular modern pasttime, I have a devotion to the Infant of Prague, the "Little King," crowned and robed, which my fifth-grade teacher, Sister Mary Rose, planted in me. I was intrigued when my "Snow White" friend admitted that she had recently taken up the same devotion. After the death of her mother, she began to find statues of the Little King turning up in odd places. Or rather, she says, "He found me." And she took Him to her heart and home.

Now the small statues, free of their stiff embroidered robes and clad in the simple priestly alb, send their benediction from several quiet corners in her home. The one above stands in the entry room window. Another holds court in the kitchen, adorened with a rose-ribbon-stole, and a third reigns on her dresser.

I particularly love the evocative shrine that my friend and her children made for the King in the photo above. A clock reminds them that Christ is King over all time. The candlestick is empty, for Christ is the Light of the world. Snake bones and skin they found on their property recall how Christ crushed the serpent's head.

The picture was drawn by my friend, and the quote by Minnie Aumonier below reads: "There is always music amongst the trees but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it."

After my son Joshua's death, the non-Catholic parents of a friend of mine made a pilgrimage to Prague, and brought back a tiny statue of the Little King for me. His castle is the shelf over my kitchen sink, a constant reminder to me, as a parent, that the Lord of the Universe is also a Child.

Sister Mary Rose taught her class a poem to the Little King, which perhaps she had composed herself, since I've never found it anywhere else. Alas, I only remember the last verse, but that is enough for a prayer:

Little King, so dear and sweet
Here we cast before Thy feet
All we are, or yet may be,
Every sense and faculty,
All our body, all our soul,
we subject to Thy control.
All our hearts to Thee we bring:
Take them, keep them, Little King.

6 comments:

Julie said...

Beautiful!

Journey of Truth said...

I'm really enjoying these peeks into these homes; the beautiful pictures and your reflections. Lovely!

stephanie said...

I haven't been here in so long - our Little King brought me here tonight. I have your "poem".

"Little King, so fair and sweet"
From a Slovak Hymnal
Adapted and Arr. by N.A.M.

Little King, so fair and sweet,
See us gathered at Thy feet:
Be Thou Monarch of our school,
It shall prosper 'neath Thy rule,
We will be Thy subjects true,
Brave to suffer, brave to do;
All our hearts to Thee we bring,
Take them, keep them, little King.

Raise Thy little hand to bless
All our childhood's happiness;
Bless our sorrow and our pain,
That each cross may be our gain.
Be Thine own sweet childhood, Lord,
Sanctify each thought and word,
Set Thy seal on ev'ry thing
Which we do, O little King.

Be our Teacher when we learn,
All the hard to easy turn;
Be our Playmate when we play,
So we shall indeed be gay.
Keep us happy, keep us pure,
While our childhood shall endure,
All its days to Thee we bring,
Bless them, guard them, little King.

Copyright 1920 by N.A.M.
Copyright renewal assigned 1947, to the St. Gregory Guild, Inc., Phila, Pa.

stephanie said...

oops, missed the last verse:

And when holidays have come, Call Thy children to Thy home, In that gentle voice of Thine, Which we know, sweet Child Divine. At the gate, oh, meet us thus, As we loved Thee_Child like us; Stretch Thine hands in welcoming To Thine own, O little King.

It would be wonderful to find the original Slovak hymn from which this was adapted...

regina doman said...

Stephannie,
Thanks so much! This is so neat to read! But the poem Sister Mary Rose was still slightly different. Probably there are just several translations? Oddly enough, the two verses she posted in the classroom were *not* about a school at all, simply a more general prayer. The first verse started,

"Little King so dear and sweet,
See us gathered at Thy feet.
>>> >>> >>>>>
>>>> >>>>
>>>> >>>>
something something praises we will sing
Now and always, little king."

The second verse which I remember completely and posted, doesn't really resemble any of the ones above. Very odd! Maybe the two I know are just additional verses. But the rhyme and meter are the same - it's definitely from the same hymn! Thanks so much for posting this!

Amanda said...

What a sweet poem! My family also has a devotion to the "Little King", he has helped us when we desperatly needed it more then once!