Last year on this day, the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, my beloved mother died after a short illness. She had always had a great devotion to the Holy Name, so if one believes nothing happens by pure chance in life, and that a loving hand guides all our lives, it can surely be none other than a sign from God, that on this little known feast day of a devotion my mother loved, she made her entry into Eternity.
Growing up in the aftermath of the second Vatican Council, when regrettably many old devotions and practices were being done away with everywhere, my parents kept our home as Catholic as possible. They taught me and my siblings that whenever we heard the Holy Name of Jesus prayed aloud, we should bow our head devoutly. This gives honour and glory to Jesus Christ, Son of God, Our Lord and Saviour. It is a terrible tragedy that the Holy Name of Jesus is so often profaned these days.
“His name was called Jesus.” (St. Luke 2:21)
The Holy Name of Jesus is, first of all, an all-powerful prayer. Our Blessed Lord Himself solemnly promises that whatever we ask the Father in His Name we shall receive. “Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7b)
The name Jesus comes from the Greek Iesous, which was derived from the Aramaic, Yeshu, meaning “Yaweh is salvation.” Although the name is not unique, and is used today in Arabic and Spanish-speaking countries, from apostolic times, the name – when referring to Jesus Christ, Our Lord – has been treated with the greatest respect and devotion.
When the Church ends her prayer with the words, “through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen”, she gives the prayer a new and Divine efficacy. We should wish to offer to God all the Masses being said all over the world, and for all their intentions, and in this way we share in the boundless graces bestowed by these thousands of Masses.
Every time we utter the Holy Name “Jesus”, we give God infinite joy and glory, for we offer Him all the infinite merits of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that Jesus merited the Name Jesus by His Passion and Death. “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth.” (Philippians 2:10)
Each time we say the Holy Name of “Jesus” with reverence, we also gain indulgences for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, who rely on our prayers and sacrifices to liberate them from their sufferings.
The Holy Name of “Jesus” is an act of perfect love, for we offer to God the infinite love of Jesus. Then our souls will be filled with a peace and joy that only God can give. Our own crosses become light and easier to bear if we stay close to Jesus and repeat often His Holy Name.
For a beautiful discourse on the Holy Name of Jesus by St. Alphonsus Liguori, see here: http://www.catholictradition.org/Christ/holy-name3.htm
During the Mass at our parish, our priest bows his head every time Jesus’ name is mentioned. He does it so naturally and it bestows respect and reverence for the name of our Lord.
I liked this post and recommended it, but my avatar will soon disappear from the Like this: line supra. Don’t know why. During the Credo, the new Roman Missal bids us to bow our heads when saying the words: “He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary”; but I hardly ever sense anyone else near me doing so. People are so afraid of being centered out, as teenagers over here often say. Oh well, I shall persevere, hoping that others will eventually get up the gumption to follow suit. Another time when I bow the head is during the Recessional – if I’m in an aisle seat – as the altarboy carrying the Crucifix passes by, although I think this is more of an Anglican tradition because, again, I don’t see others doing so.
I share Kathleen’s belief that nothing happens “by pure chance”; and in particular, the symbology of being born into or departing this life on a special day, or in a special place, has always made a deep impression on me. My mother passed away on Assumption Day, 2003. Just wish she’d done so as a Catholic after absolution; but there is always hope in the infinite mercy of Our Lord.
“Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…
My Dad was a member of The Holy Name Society all of his life. He would go on retreat every year for a weekend with his Society. He would bring home little presents for his 10 children and Mom, rosaries, coloring books, holy cards, little statues, everyone got something. Only recently, I read the mission statement/prayer or pledge, not sure, of The Holy Name Society. Striving to live as a good and faithful catholic in one’s vocation, prayer life, to defend the faith, The Holy Name of Jesus, the family, the Church, and the culture were the goals and work of the Society. I hope this holy and important Society of our Catholic Church we be revived one day soon. Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus.
John Henry and Pat:
Thank you so much for your interesting testimonies.
And there is indeed, always “hope in the Infinite Mercy of Our Lord”, JH.
Yes Pat, I also hope and pray that this holy society will be revived again one day. Our dear Holy Father would surely put the wheels in motion towards doing this if it were brought to his attention.
The name Jesus Christ is indeed holy. It is just sad how many people have forgotten the third commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Many people have been using His holy name for senseless things not realizing how sinful it is. I wish the day would come that people will realize how important His name is and to keep it holy.