A contemplative community in formation of the Institute of Saint Joseph
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Holy Name of Jesus
Today in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Bernard of Clairvaux is credited with the hymn, "Jesu Dulcis Memoria", which means how sweet the memory of Jesus' Name.
St. Berndadine of Siena made this image pictured here very popular: the symbol of Jesus' Name (IHS) with the star bursts. It is the Latin abbreviation of the Name of Jesus (Ihesus) which is originally from the Greek.
Before the Incarnation, God was not addressed by His Name, except for a few; it was so holy that it was kept was something "set apart". But with the Word made Flesh, Jesus Christ, our Lord, God has a human face. He is approachable, the Infant lying in the manger and in the arms of His Holy Mother. How great it is that we are able to say, "Jesus", and God-is-with-us! St. Bernard, in a sermon on the Holy Name, says that the Name of Jesus is Light, Food, and Medicine. He gives us light to know Him and to be bathed in His Love; He gives us food by nourishing us spiritually by simply saying his Name; He heals our souls of the wounds of sin.
Today the Name of Jesus is so terribly misused. It is, for many, a form of blasphemy, contempt, and hatred.
Let us say the Name of Jesus with great love. Let us open our hearts to the wonders of His love. Let us be aware that with every sincere invocation of that sweet name, "Jesus", we honor Him, make reparation for the sins against Him, and make Him present in a greater way.
There is a medieval devotion called the "Jesus Psalter". It invokes the name of Jesus with fifteen petitions. The English Catholics especially prayed this most sublime devotion. It was a devotion of those who died as martyrs during the English Reformation.