“Jesus” means “God Saves”
St Paul tells us:
“God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2: 9-11).
“Why We Celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus
In the commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and handed down to us, we are told to honor the name of God. It is a name used in prayer and as a blessing, but it is, unfortunately, all too often these days used in vain or as a curse. Nowadays we hear not only the word “God” invoked in negative ways, but also the name of Jesus, the name of God born of the Virgin Mary.
...Why should we celebrate and honor the name of Jesus with a feast?
- A Name Reverenced by All
- Paul tells us in his Letter to the Philippians, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, / of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (2:10).
- The name of Jesus was first spoken by an angel and is the cause of adoration by the heavenly court.
- It is a name reverenced especially during the Mass, as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal instructs the priest to bow his head at the mention of Jesus’ name (see No. 275).
- It is a name that evil fears, and when invoked can cast out demons.
- We honor and celebrate the name of Jesus because the name of God deserves reverence.
By celebrating this feast, we seek to make reparation for the irreverent use of God’s name and restore it to proper dignity.
- It Is the Name by Which We Are Saved
- The angel tells St. Joseph to name the child Jesus because he will save us from our sins (see Mt 1:21). By His incarnation, God made man takes on a name indicating he comes to save us. Jesus becomes the source of our salvation.
- Since apostolic times, the name of Jesus has been preached and proclaimed. First, by the apostles as they sojourned on their missionary efforts, then by their successors who sought to evangelize, by various missionaries who brought the name of Jesus to the New World, and by teachers of the Faith who sought to combat heresy.
- We celebrate a feast in honor of Jesus’ holy name because it has been spoken throughout the world, and when proclaimed to those who have never heard His name, lives are changed.
- Many Have Died Pronouncing the Name of Christ
- Those who have worked as missionaries to spread the name of Jesus have often suffered because of His name.
- In the beatitudes, Jesus foretold that some would be persecuted for His sake (see Mt 5:10). Throughout the history of Christianity, many have shed their blood and died a martyr’s death, some even have professed the name of Jesus on their lips as they breathed their last.
Celebrating the Holy Name of Jesus reminds of us these ancestors in the Faith and hopefully encourages us to want Jesus’ name to be our last word.
- There Is Power in His Name
- Jesus powerfully taught that where two or three are gathered in His name, He would be in their midst (see Mt 18:20).
- People also called upon Jesus by name when asking for a miracle. The blind man cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” (Lk 18:38), and with that invocation and further conversation his sight was restored.
- Demons were cast out of the possessed by Jesus’ name (Acts 16:18; 19:16).
Celebrating the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus reminds us that we should pray the name of Jesus in our struggles or when we are anxious, because His name is powerful for those who call upon Him.
- Many Have Been Devoted to the Holy Name for Centuries
The name of Jesus has been a source of devotion for centuries. In 1274, the Council of Lyons recommended that all the faithful should foster a devotion to the name of Jesus.
Many saints also have recommended the devotion, most notably, St. Bernadine of Siena. Fr. Paul O’Sullivan’s book “The Wonders of the Holy Name” gives an exhaustive overview of the countless saints, known and unknown, who promoted devotion to the name of Jesus.
One of the most public displays of devotion to Jesus’ holy name arose out of societies and confraternities dedicated to the Holy Name. While no longer as popular as in days gone by, there are many ways people can foster a devotion today to the name of Jesus.
- The Eastern Church’s practice of the Jesus Prayer (“Lord, Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner”) recited many times connects the name of Jesus and invocation for His mercy.
- The Hail Mary, when split in two parts, hinges on the name of Jesus.
- Louis de Montfort, in “The Secret of the Rosary” encouraged people to add a short phrase there to focus one’s meditation (for example, “thy womb Jesus, born in poverty, Holy Mary … ”). I developed de Montfort’s suggestion in my Rosary devotional “A Rosary Litany.”
- There is also a Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus,
- and many songs such as “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” or “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” in addition to several contemporary Christian songs.
We celebrate the feast of Jesus’ holy name in order to foster a deep love for His name. If we pray the name of Jesus continually in this life, then it will be His name that we pronounce when we meet our Savior face to face.”
In fact, when a priest is called to the dying, it is requested that he exhorts the dying person to say repeatedly the Name of ‘Jesus”, even if not aloud, then in his heart – for it is by this Name that demons are scattered and we are saved.
In times of trial, stress, anxiety, sickness, let us not forget the Name above all Names
Short Prayers to the Most Holy Name
O sweet Name of Jesus, holy above all names in heaven and on earth, and to which every knee, both of men and of angels in heaven, on earth and in hell bends. You are the the way of the just, the glory of the saints, the hope of those in need, the balm of the sick, the love of the devout and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help and a protector so that your Name may be blessed for all times…
…..(Manualis Parvulorum XIII)
Thomas A. Kempis
The Golden Arrow
May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most mysterious 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.
This prayer is said to have been revealed by Jesus Himself to a Carmelite Nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy. “This Golden Arrow will wound My Heart delightfully,” He said, “and heal the wounds inflicted by blasphemy.”
Prayer to the Holy Name – St. Alphonsus
O my Jesus, thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips.
The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ; or, The Mysteries of the Faith
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Redemptorist Fathers, 1927.
Prayer to the Holy Name – St. Bernardine of Siena
Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who mourn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick.
To You our devotion aspires; by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen.
St. Bernardine of Siena
Prayer Petition to the Holy Name of Jesus
God, You appointed Your only-begotten Son to be the Savior of mankind, and You commanded His Name to be Jesus. I beg that a most ardent love of Your Divine Son imprint that Name upon my heart; that it always be on my mind, and frequently on my lips; that it be my defense in temptation, my refuge in danger, and my consolation and strength in the hour of my death.
Holy Name Prayer of Contrition
Most Merciful Jesus, by that Precious Blood which you willingly shed for sinners, I beg You to wash away all my sinfulness and to look mercifully upon me, a poor and unworthy sinner, as I call upon Your Holy Name. Mercifully grant me, through Your adorable Name, which is the joy of heaven, the terror of hell, the consolation of the afflicted, the refuge of sinners and the strength of those who repent, the grace of eternal salvation through the holy Name of Jesus.
I ask this in Your Name, who live and reign with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Excerpts from the Book of Truth
“…You must pay attention every day from now on to praying to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World, for every protection from the evil forces now rampant in every corner. …” (Mother of Salvation: 11 June 2012 @ 12:02pm)
“… Call on Me always to help you, to give you courage, strength and the ability to treat your enemies with the love and compassion that is needed if you are to become a true disciple of Mine. By loving My enemies does not, mean, however, that you accept heresy. I also ask that you refuse to engage in any kind of hatred in My Holy Name. Proclaim My Word. There is no need to defend it.
Your beloved Jesus Christ
Saviour and Redeemer of all Humanity