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.

Let us call upon the name of Jesus. For ourselves, our families, our countries, our world.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus!

Image from:


margaret said...

I do like the habit you're wearing in your profile pic :)

Oddly we don't have a feast of the Holy Name in Orthodoxy. We should as we're always going on about it!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Excellent post, Father!

nazareth priest said...

Margaret: Thanks! That's "kieran" our perpetual novice...his behavior keeps him from making "final vows"!:<)!
You have the "Jesus Prayer" and yeah, you have a lot of mention of the "holy Name of Jesus". Your spirituality has deeply touched me for many years; it has helped me greatly in my own spiritual journey.
Cathy of Alex: Thank you. That means a lot!

Lee Gilbert said...

A number of years ago I read The Holy Name of Jesus by Fr. Paul Sullivan O.P. which truly revolutionized my life. For one thing, whenever I am coming up on stressful moments, such as being lector for Midnight Mass or for the Easter Vigil, saying that Name again and again brings me more than peace and calm. It invades the readings themselves and renders them something much better than they would have been.

The Catholic Catechism has a beautiful sentence hidden away at #2666. You'll never find it in the index, so I suggest you pencil it in there yourself. To me it is very close to being the most remarkable sentence in any language, right up there with "God became man" or "This is my body." It reads, "His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies." Incredible! And it is all the more incredible for being true. Saying His Name is a virtual Eucharist, making Him present wherever you are, whether in a sick bed or a prison cell or lost in the woods.

Anyone can experiment with this. Sometime when you have a lot of time on your hands and don't know what else to do, for example if you are afflicted with insomnia, or are waiting while your car is being repaired, or taking a five mile walk, just say that name again and again and again, ad infinitum, beyond all reason. It changes everything. "Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee."

nazareth priest said...

Thank you, Lee!
I will look this up.
A wonderful "spiritual direction"!

TraciC. said...

Lee Gilbert that is beautiful! Jesus' Name is a wonder beyond compare! Once I was nearly attacked by two men at night as I came out of a store on my way to my car. I called out our sweet Lord's name and those two men dissapeared! They were gone! His Name is so great and powerful!