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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

In the 12th century, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) composed the hymn Jesu Dulcis Memoria praising the Holy Name of Jesus.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy Presence rest.
No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' Name,
The Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart!
O joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

The devotion to the holy name of Jesus though, didn't became popular until the preaching of Saint Bernardine of Siena, a 15th-century Franciscan.

“Glorious name, gracious name, name of love and of power! Through you sins are forgiven, through you enemies are vanquished, through you the sick are freed from their illness, through you those suffering in trials are made strong and cheerful. You bring honor to those who believe, you teach those who preach, you give strength to the toiler, you sustain the weary” (St. Bernardine of Siena).

The feast of the Holy Name is associated with Jesus’ circumcision, for it was on the 8th day after his birth, that he received his holy name.

“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.” (Luke 2:21)

When I was young the Sisters of Mercy taught us to bow our head when we said the name of Jesus. Over 50 years later, my body continues to take this posture whenever I utter His name “that name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9), in prayer.

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. 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.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

It is “in His name the Gentiles will hope (Matthew 12:21); “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend...and every tongue confess (Philippians 2:10-11); “in the name of Jesus Christ” Peter, Paul and the apostles baptized, healed, and cast out demons (Acts2:37-38, 3:6, 16:18).

We should strive never to say His precious Holy Name in vain (Exodus 20:7), for it is in His adorable Holy Name we should place our faith(1 John 3:23), do his work, spread His Gospel message (Colossians 3:17) and pray. Jesus, I Trust in You!

“Never yet was human being in urgent need, and on the point of perishing, who invoked this help-giving Name, and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills; to soften the impetuosity of anger, to quench the fire of concupiscence, to conquer pride, to mitigate the pain of our wounds, to overcome the thirst of avarice, to quiet sensual passions, and the desires of low pleasures. If we call to our minds the Name of Jesus, it brings before us His most meek and humble heart, and gives us a new knowledge of His most loving and tender compassion. The Name of Jesus is the purest, and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues; it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself. To think of Jesus is to think of the great, infinite God Who, having given us His life as an example, has also bestowed the necessary understanding, energy and assistance to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts, inclinations, words and actions. If the Name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux
IHS is associated with the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. The name of Jesus in Greek is written ιησους and pronounced iēsous. In Hebrew the name Jesus is written ישוע which is transliterated as yeshu‘a, and pronounced yeshūa. In Latin Jesus is written lesus. The insignia IHS comes from the Latinized version of the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus ιησους. ι becomes i or j, η becomes h, and σ becomes s, or IHS.

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