Today the Church celebrates the memorial of The Holy Name of Jesus. The Bible tells us that the mere mention of Our Savior’s Name can cause powerful things to happen:
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)
…then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. (Jn 16:23)
The Gospel from today’s Mass reminds us that Our Lord was given His Name before He was even conceived in Mary’s womb:
When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Lk 2:21)
Devotion to Our Lord’s Holy Name was popularized by St. Bernardine of Siena, a 15th century Franciscan priest. St. Bernardine was responsible for designing the monogram of Jesus’ name (see picture above) which consists of the letters “IHS” (the first 3 letters of Jesus’ name in Greek), surrounded by rays of sunlight. St. Bernardine would display a painting of this monogram during his sermons, which served as a reminder of the holiness of Our Savior’s name.
In today’s world, it is sad that so many use the Holy Name of Jesus in a negative manner. Almost every day someone in the workplace uses the name of Jesus as an expression of anger. For many, the only time that they utter the name of Jesus is in the form of a “curse”. While it is difficult to control the actions of others, there are a few things that we can do to restore the holiness to Our Lord’s name.
We can charitably inform people that we are offended by the abuse, but for many that is difficult. Sometimes what starts out as charity ends up as anger, so we need to be cautious when using this approach. A safer alternative is to vow that we will only speak the name of Jesus with reverence and perform an outward gesture, such as a slight bow of the head, when His Name is mentioned. We can also attempt to educate others about the power of the Holy Name and the Good News of Jesus Christ. Finally, we can make reparation for the blasphemies uttered against His Holy Name by saying the following prayer:
O Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer, Son of the living God, behold, we kneel before Thee and offer Thee our reparation; we would make amends for all the blasphemies uttered against Thy holy name, for all the injuries done to Thee in the Blessed Sacrament, for all the irreverence shown toward Thine immaculate Virgin Mother, for all the calumnies and slanders spoken against Thy spouse, the holy Catholic and Roman Church. O Jesus, who hast said: “If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you,” we pray and beseech Thee for all our brethren who are in danger of sin; shield them from every temptation to fall away from the true faith; save those who are even now standing on the brink of the abyss; to all of them give light and knowledge of the truth, courage and strength for the conflict with evil, perseverance in faith and active charity! For this do we pray, most merciful Jesus, in Thy name, unto God the Father, with whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Ghost world without end. Amen. (Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954)