MOST HOLY NAME OF JESUS
Today the universal Church honors the Most Holy Name of Jesus. The Church reveals to us the wonders of the Incarnate Word by singing the glories of His Name, and is often symbolized in paintings, sculpture and literature by the Greek monogram “IHS”.
The Name of Jesus means “God saves” or “Lord who is salvation”, and was revealed to Mary at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30b-32a).
And to Joseph, the angel declared, “…do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20c-21).
Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus is deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture, especially in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: “…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” (Phil 2:9-11).
As Christianity developed throughout the centuries, this devotion grew in its popularity and was promoted in a special manner by Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Bernardine of Siena and John Capistrano and also by the Franciscan Order in the 15th century. It spread even more widely after the Jesuits began promoting it in the 16th century.
In 1721, Pope Innocent XIII extended this feast to the entire Church. Even today, whenever we pronounce the name of Jesus, we ought to bow our heads; for His very Name reminds us of the greatest favor we have ever received from God’s Merciful Love – our salvation!
In Jesus’ Most Holy Name, we receive consolation in times of spiritual trials, we receive protection from the assaults of Satan and all his wiles, and we receive every blessing and grace throughout time and eternity.
We commemorate the feastday of the Most Holy Name of Jesus on January 3.
(From saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Collect of the Roman Missal for the Most Holy Name of Jesus)
“O God, who founded the salvation of the human race on the Incarnation of Your Word, give Your peoples the mercy they implore, so that all may know there is no other name to be invoked but the Name of Your Only-Begotten Son.
“Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”