January 13, 2023
“Blessed be God, and praised be His great name, and blessed be all His holy angels. May His Holy Name be praised throughout all the ages.” (Tobit 11:14).
“And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.” (1John 3:23).
January is the month of The Most Holy Name of Jesus and the liturgy of January 3 is an Optional Memorial for The Most Holy Name of Jesus. Below is the Collect Prayer from that liturgy.O God, who founded the salvation of the human race on the Incarnation of your Word, give your peoples the mercy they implore, so that all may know there is no other name to be invoked but the Name of your Only Begotten Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
The angel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31). “IHS” is a contraction of the Greek word for Jesus and is a monogram or symbol for the Holy Name of Jesus, as shown in the image above.“Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person.” (CCC [Catechism of the Catholic Church] 2157). “To pray ‘Jesus’ is to invoke Him and to call Him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies.” (CCC 2666).
What’s in a name? – A mission! Jewish names in the first century A. D. expressed the nature, essence or mission of the person. The name of “Jesus” means “God saves” and that is his mission, to save us and bring us eternal life through the forgiveness of our sins.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21).
“When He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21).
The 2nd Commandment tells us, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7).
The very name of Jesus is imbued with power. All who call upon the name of Jesus Christ will be saved. (See Acts 4:12). In the “Our Father” prayer, Jesus teaches us how to pray and the importance of God’s name. He starts it with “hallowed be Thy name.” We should hold the name of God in reverence, adoration, and praise. Jesus similarly warns us not to take any oath by the name of God lest we be judged for failing to meet the promise. (See Matthew 5:34).
In our Culture of Death, as St. John Paul II described it, the 2nd commandment is frequently disobeyed and the name of Jesus is blasphemed, disrespected and abused. We should be ever mindful of the sacredness of His name and never to use it in vain, or when in anger, surprise, or fear. Even the seemingly harmless use of the name of God, such as “Oh my God!”, is using His name in vain.
St. Paul tells us, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 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.” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Bending the knee, as St. Paul exhorts us, is a recognition of the sacredness of the person of Jesus and His name. That is why whenever we pronounce His name, we should at least bow our heads; for His very name reminds us of the greatest favor we have ever received – eternal salvation.
Rather than using the Lord’s name in vain, we should consecrate all of our words and deeds in the name of Jesus. (See Colossians 3:17) He is our hope, for “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) We know too that Jesus calls each of us, His sheep, by name. (See John 10:3) If we follow him, God will inscribe His name on our foreheads, sealing us as His for all eternity. (See Revelation 14:1) This is His promise of eternal life and our hope for Heaven. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5).
The Holy Name of Jesus King of All Nations means that He is the supreme authority over all persons, families, governments, nations and peoples. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18).
The great saint of the Holy Name is St. Bernardine of Siena. In his missionary expeditions he carried it on a banner, and used it continually in his sermons. He wrote that the Holy Name shows sinners “the immense mercifulness of God, it enables a devout man to gain a victory in every conflict, whether with the devil, the flesh, or the world, it has the power of healing sickness when rightly used, it fills with joy and exultation those who are in any adversity.” He quotes St. Peter, “Through His name all receive remission of sin who believe in Him”; he quotes St. John, “Your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake”; he quotes St. Peter again, “There is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved”; and he quotes the prayer of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles, that God would “stretch forth His hand to heal; and that signs and wonders and cures be done by the name of thy only Son Jesus.” (Acts 4:30).
St. Faustina wrote in her Diary, “The Name of Jesus. Oh, how great is Your Name, O Lord! It is the strength of my soul. When my strength fails, and darkness invades my soul, Your Name is the sun whose rays give light and also warmth, and under their influence the soul becomes more beautiful and radiant, taking its splendor from Your Name. When I hear the sweetest name of Jesus, my heartbeat grows stronger, and there are times when, hearing the Name of Jesus, I fall into a swoon. My spirit eagerly strains toward Him.” (Diary 862).
In 1843, in Tours, France, Jesus revealed to Sr. Mary of St. Peter, a prayer to be prayed in reparation for the frightful sin of blasphemy against His Holy Name that, she wrote, “attacks Him publicly, nullifies His redemption, and pronounces his own judgment and condemnation. Our Lord then made me visualize the act of blasphemy as a poisoned arrow continually wounding His divine Heart. After that He revealed to me that He wanted to give me a ‘Golden Arrow’ prayer which would have the power of wounding Him delightfully.” This is the prayer:
“May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.”
Below is the link to the US Catholic Bishops Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus: https://www.usccb.org/prayers/litany-holy-name-jesus.