THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS (Part II of II)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within thee bless His Holy Name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He hath done for thee.”
1. 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 has a long treatise on the Holy Name, which teems with matter for prayer. The Holy Name, he says, is first of all fruitful for beginners. For “these, for sinners, it shows 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, that “through His name all receive remission of sin who believe in Him”; St. John: “Your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake”; St. Peter again: “There is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved”; the prayer of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles, that God would “stretch forth his hand to signs and cures and wonders, to be done by the name of thy only Son Jesus”; the further statement in the Acts, that the Apostles went forth “from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.”
2. Next it is fruitful for the proficient. “It is cherished in their hearts and fed upon by faith, it is taken into their mouths and preached or spoken about, it is made the spring of their actions, which then become a great accumulation of merits, it is appropriated in a new way by perseverance, and then it becomes a principle of abiding and enduring life, the remedy of the frailty and fickleness which belong to our poor nature.” By virtue of this Holy Name, he tells us, we ourselves have become the sons of God. In the virtue of this Holy Name, St. Paul placed all his hope of doing good. The power of the Holy Name is the power of the Holy Ghost. And for its power of endurance he asks: “Art thou not refreshed as often as thou rememberest the name of Jesus? What is there equal to it for the feeding of the mind that thinks of it, for repairing weariness, for strengthening virtues, for nourishing good and upright ways, for fostering true affections?”
3. Lastly it is fruitful for those whom he calls the perfect. The “first fruit is the sweetness with which those who meditate upon it are filled,” according to the beautiful rhythm of St. Bernard [of Clairvaux], Jesu dulcis memoria. The second is the wonderful power which this Holy Name gives to the prayers and petitions of the devout soul. The third is the immense sweetness which it gives to those who continually renew its memory. The fourth is the triumph and glory which it will produce in eternity: “‘They shall glory in Thee, all who love Thy name.’ And thus for the sake of the name of Jesus the whole soul will live, and be endowed and enriched and beautified with all its powers; it will be made like to God three and one, united to Him, enlightened by Him, and plunged in perfect peace through Him, for it is to live for ever in the state of perfect bliss, furnished with the accumulation of all good.”
Summary Meditation Points:
- The Holy Name is the secret of support for sinners and beginners.
- It is the inspiration for every thought, word, and deed of those more advanced.
- It is the joy of those who may be thought perfect, their source of contemplation, their power in prayer, the final reward.
Art: Adoration of the Name of Jesus, Juan de las Roelas, between 1604 and 1605, PD-US, Wikimedia Commons. Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., www.stmaryscadoganstreet.co.uk, all rights reserved, used with permission.