Skip to comments.The Holy Name of Jesus
Posted on 01/02/2005 1:30:20 PM PST by Land of the Irish
The Holy Name of Jesus
Let us speak a word on the name given to Our Divine Lord on the Feast of the Circumcision. The gospel from the Feast of the Circumcision would have us understand that the shedding of Jesus blood is related to His name. It is appropriate that He be given this name on the day of His circumcision, for He could not be Saviour without pouring out blood, nor give blood without being Saviour. He could, of course, have saved the world without shedding His blood, but that would not have been enough to satisfy the love He bears us. He could certainly have satisfied divine justice for all of our sins by a single sigh from His Sacred Heart, but this would not have satisfied His love , which desired that by taking the name of Saviour He should give His blood as a deposit of that which He willed to pour out for our redemption. The name of Saviour was rightly given Him on this day, for there is no redemption without shedding of blood [Heb. 9:22] and no salvation without redemption, since no one can enter Heaven except by this gate. Also, by making Himself Saviour and Redeemer of mankind, Our Lord begins, in taking this name, to pay our debts with no other money than that of His Precious Blood. He was, then, called Jesus, which means Saviour [Matt. 1:21].
All the ancient Fathers agree that, notwithstanding His many names and titles, Our Lord has only three which belong to Him essentially. The first is that of Supreme Being, reserved only to Him and applicable to no other [Ex. 3:14-15; Is. 42:8] In this name He knows Himself through Himself. The second is that of Creator, which also can be given only to Him, since no one else but Him is Creator. In this name He knows Himself through Himself, but He also knows Himself through His creatures. The third name is Jesus, which likewise belongs only to Him alone, since no one else can be Saviour [Cf. Acts 4:12]. Beyond this there is the title of Christ [Matt. 1:16], which means High Priest, Anointed One of God. We Christians participate in these last two names [1Ptr. 2:9; Acts 4:12]. In this life we bear the name of Christ, namely Christians, and we are anointed by the Sacraments which we receive. When we are in Heaven, we will bear the name of the Saviour inasmuch as there we will all enjoy complete salvation and be among those saved. Thus in heaven we will be called by Our Lords other name. Jesus or Saviour, since we will be saved.
Now, how are we to pronounce the sacred name of Jesus so that it may be beneficial and profitable to us? This I am going to tell you by a story, with which I will conclude. This name certainly ought not be pronounced carelessly or thoughtlessly. It is not enough to be aware that it is a two syllable word, nor even less to speak it merely with the mouth. Parrots can do that! Infidels and Mohammedans name Him perfectly well, as far as that goes, but they are not saved thereby. Our Lord showed us how we are to say it. He shed His blood in receiving His name. In fact, He indicated His willingness to do what this holy name signifies: to save.
It is not enough to say it with your lips; it must be engraved upon your heart. Oh, how happy we would be to have alive in us all that our title signifies! For instance, it is not enough to simply call ourselves Christian. Our actual lives must be congruent with these title. We must take care of the charge we exercise and of the vocation in which we live. In short, we must assess how well our passions and affections are controlled and how submissive our judgement is, and whether our actions are congruent with our state in life?
It is recounted in the Book of Judges [Jgs. 11,12] that the great captain Jephte was victorious against the Ammonites by a vow which he made to the Lord. After his daughters tragic death and all his other troubles, Jepthe hoped that he would finally have peace and rest. But this was not to be, for sedition was stirred up. The sons of Ephraim reproached him for not having invited them to war, although they were brave soldiers. They believed he had acted thus to slight them. Astonished to hear of this new trouble, good Jephte said to them: Oh my dear friends, you know very well that I invited you, but you excused yourselves; this is why when the moment came for me to attack, I did. Unwilling to listen to his arguments, they declared war on him. God, however, took Jephtes part because it was just, and so favored him that he slaughtered forty-two thousand and routed astonished Ephraim completely. Then Jephte placed a guard and sentinels on the banks of the Jordan with watchword: Ask anyone who wants passage who they are. If they answer that they are from Ephraim, kill them; and if they deny it, make them give the password, `Scibboleth if they say Sibboleth put them to death, but if they say Scibboleth give them free passage. Scibboleth and Sibboleth are almost the same word (Scibboleth means ear of corn and Sibboleth means charge), but Scibboleth is uttered gutterally and Sibboleth is said more lightly.
How happy we will be if, at the hour of our death, as well as during the whole of our lives, we pronounce the sacred name of the Saviour with due respect. It will be like a password by which we will freely enter Heaven, for it is the name of our redemption. In our last hour, if God gives us the grace not to die suddenly, we will have a priest near us who will hold a blessed candle in his hands and will call out to us: Remember our Redeemer; say Jesus, say Jesus. Blessed will they be who pronounce it reverently and with profound appreciation of our Saviour having ransomed us with His blood and by His passion. Those who call upon the name well at the time of death will be saved. The opposite will be the fate of those who do not speak it well and who pronounce it tepidly and without fervor. We ought most certainly to repeat it often during our lifetime, for it was given to His Son by the Eternal Father, It is a name which is above every other name, wholly divine, gentle and full of goodness. It is an oil poured out [Cant. 1:2(3)] to heal all the wounds of our souls. At this sacred name every knee bends. [Phil. 2:9-10]. It is the name which gives joy to the angels, saves men, and causes demons to tremble. This is why it should be deeply engraved upon our hearts and our spirits so that, blessing it and honoring it in this life, we may be worthy of singing with the blessed: Live Jesus! Live Jesus!
From a Sermon of St. Francis de Sales
on the Feast of the Circumcision, Jan. 1, 1622
St. Francis is recognizing God's omnipotence.
Thank you for posting this! After Our Lady and St. Joseph, St. Francis de Sales is the saint dearest to my heart.
But even st Francis would know that God cannot deny Himself where he said "there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood" and also "He was the Lamb slain from the foundations of the World".
I guess recognize His omnipotence, but so long as he isn't saying "it could have been accomplished some other way".
Are you saying that God was outmaneuvered by Satan and was forced to send His only begotten Son to suffer and die for us?
Of course our redemption could have been accomplished in some other way, if God willed it so. God does as He pleases and nobody takes away His life, he lays it down freely. To think that Christ had to shed His blood and die on the Cross for our redemption is to believe that Satan, who tempted Eve and caused our 'fall' in the Garden of Eden, had the power to force God to send His only begotten Son to earth to die for us. Satan, of course, has no such power. If He so chose, God could have redeemed mankind simply by willing it.
Why did God choose to send His only begotten Son into the world to shed His blood and die for our redemption? Though it was surely an act of Divine love, nobody will ever fully understand what moved Christ to suffer the Passion and Crucifixion for us. But one thing is certain; He wasn't forced to do it by anyone or anything.
This beautiful litany is over five centuries in use by the faithful, having been composed by the celebrated preachers of the Holy Name, the Franciscan friars SS. Bernardine of Siena and John Capistran (see Binterim: Denkwurdigkeiten, IV, I, 597; cited by Mershman in Catholic Encyc., ix, 290). As early as 1585 Pope Sixtus V, on appeal of the Carmelites, attached an indulgence of 300 days for recitation of this litany, an implied recognition of its public use. It was not however until 1862 that Pope Pius IX approved one of the several formularies in use, for those dioceses whose ordinaries had made special request; finally in 1886 Pope Leo XIII extended the public and solemn use of this litany to the world. According to the official Preces et Pia Opera, No. 89, it is now enriched with an idulgence of seven years, a Plenary under ordinary conditions, if said daily together with the prayer, for one month.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us .
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of Glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Sun of Justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Lover, have mercy on us .
Jesus, God of Peace, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Author of Life, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Model of Virtues, have mercy on us .
Jesus, zealous for souls, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our Refuge, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Father of the Poor, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful, have mercy on us .
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us .
Jesus, true Light, have mercy on us .
Jesus, eternal Wisdom, have mercy on us .
Jesus, infinite Goodness, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our Way and our Life, have mercy on us .
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us .
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Light of Confessors, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Purity of Virgins, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Crown of all Saints, have mercy on us .
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus .
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus .
From your wrath, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus .
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the neglect of your inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through the mystery of your holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your most divine Life, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Labors, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Cross and Dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Death and Burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, you have said, "Ask and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you"; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the grace of your most divine love, that we may love you with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease to praise you.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of your holy name, for you never fail to govern those whom you solidly establish in your love. You, who live and reign forever and ever. R. Amen.