What begins as a simple novena becomes an absolution
Penance: Walking with the Infant
is both a simple conversation
and an historical walk through
the Catholic history of Prague
Just $12
When a professor spends nine days in Prague, it isn't getting lost 
that changes his journey, but what he discovers on his way
and the lessons he learns from the greatest of teachers. 
This tale from humanities professor and non-fiction writer Bob Kunzinger 
(Out of Nowhere: Scenes from St Petersburg; Prof: One Guy Talking
is a tale about each one of us and our individual journeys

cover by bob kunzinger
excerpts from Penance:
I wake early and walk quickly to the church and start my novena. After the last section, I stare for awhile at the Infant. The guide at the convent said St. Agnes’ mother, while pregnant with her, had a dream where she entered a room filled with expensive, regal gowns, and amongst them was a simple gown, a grey tunic with a cord like those later worn by the Poor Clares, and while wondering who could have put the gown there, she heard a voice say, “The child you carry will one day wear that garment and she will be a light to the whole kingdom of Bohemia.”     What’s interesting about the dream is it occurred a year before Clare herself even went to San Damiano to meet Francis.      Saint Augustine said humility is the foundation of all other virtues.    “Yes, but true humility is hard. It’s a lot more than just a lack of vanity or self-importance.”    That’s because so many insist that humility is a “lowering.” 
    You’ve not yet learned about devotion, have you? Teresa of Avila? It’s one of devout contemplation and concentration. You’re still too distracted. 
I stare at the Infant. The altar is of red and grey marble made in 1776. In the upper part are sculptures of God the Father and St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary. He stands on a crystal-adorned pedestal, also decorated with Czech garnets and a large, heart-shaped ruby. The statue stands about forty-seven centimeters tall and has a silver casing to the waist...
Confession is always Last Rites. Don’t be indifferent to either sin or absolution. St. Maximilian Kolbe said, “In our days the worst poison is indifference.”     I am aware of St. Maximilian Kolbe. He was gassed at Auschwitz with Arnost’s family. Now there’s someone with determination and drive. He insisted everyone should “wake up and get to work in order to re-conquer the positions taken up by the enemy.” 
The Carmelite store is small and carries ceramic crosses, statues, plaques, and in the window the statue of Stein. I eventually purchase it but before I can pay, the sister asks me to wait and makes a phone call. Minutes later an elderly nun enters and smiles at the statue.     “You are here to purchase this statue? It is the only one. The nuns who made it asked me to account for the detail in her face. I knew Sr. Teresa Benedicta in Holland. Edith.”    “You knew her well?”    “Oh yes, but I was quite young. She was a Jew in Germany and during the First World War studied philosophy at the universities. Oh my, she was brilliant and received a Ph.D. and lectured. But she was always searching for spiritual “Truth” she called it. Then she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila....
    She is St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.”    “It is such a tragedy, humanity.” This sister, also named Teresa, walked slowly from behind the counter and reached into her habit to remove a rosary. “I pray with this; please take it.” She bid farewell and walked back toward the convent next door. I walked to the church to pray the novena quietly that day.
 “We are gluttons for the wrong nourishment then. Ironically, most Americans are overweight.” I thought for a moment. “But maybe that’s only half the problem; they are also under-nourished, spiritually.”    Right.     “There’s got to be a quote for that, right?”    Many of history's great leaders fasted for spiritual clarity.    “Right.”     St. Cyprian wrote, “What toils we will endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to climb hills or the summits of mountains, but what misery we express when we seek merely to go without eating.” 
St. Jerome said, “Be at peace with your own soul…”    “… and heaven and earth will be at peace with you.” Yes, I know. But Jerome lived in the fourth century. He must have been surrounded by peace. Sure he translated the bible into the commoner’s Latin; sure his vulgate bible stood as the basis of the Latin that became the romance languages, but what kind of pressure was he under that called him to seek peace to begin with.     Exactly. The stress we suffer that precludes peace is not always from some external source. Even the most recluse of souls, like St. Anthony of Egypt, needed to pray and seek peace in their soul before they could comprehend peace in the world. In fact, the lack of peace we find in the world has less to do with our mortal circumstances than with the condition of our immortal soul.  
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"The book entices us all to explore further our definitions of devotion, humility, sacrifice and faith. It is one of those rare books that takes one of the most famous and revered subjects in the world, the Infant Jesus of Prague, and provides a contemporary and accessible approach."
Catholic Exchange Review  

Asian Journal Commentary by Gen Silverio
Whether you're traveling to Prague or have devotion to the Infant of Prague 
ReadPenanceand discover the Holy Sights and Saints of Prague;
and the Sacred Stories from the city's history.
SendPenanceto your family, your friends, your priest
and share with them the story of the Infant of Prague
and the nine lessons He shares.
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Suggested Reading by Vatican's own "Inside the Vatican"
Penance: Walking with the Infant