INSTRUCTION FOR THE FEAST OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
by Leonard Goffine, 1871
Who instituted this festival?PRAYER TO JESUS IN DIFFERENT DIFFICULTIES.
Pope Innocent xiii. who, in the year 1721, commanded that the most holy name of Jesus should be festively honored throughout the Catholic world, although, a few centuries before this, St. Bernard, with the sanction of the Apostolic See, had esablished the solemn veneration of this most holy name, in his order.
In the Introit of this day's Mass, the Church thus shows the glory of this name: "In the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." (Phil. ii. 10. 11.) "Lord, our God, how admirable is Thy name in the whole earth!" (Ps. vii. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who didst design Thy only begotten Son for the Redeemer of mankind, and commanded the name of Jesus to be given Him, mercifully grant, that we may, one day, be made worthy to behold His face in heaven whose holy name we honor on earth. Through the same Jesus Christ, &c.
LESSON. (Acts. iv. 8 -13.) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them: Ye princes of the people and ancients, hear: If we this day are examined concerning the good deed done to this infirm man, by what means he hath been made whole, be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God has raised from the dead, even by Him this man standeth before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner: neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.
EXPLANATION. This lesson speaks of the omnipotence of the name of Jesus, through which not only are miracles performed, but on which alone our salvation depends. For Jesus alone can give us redemption and happiness; He alone under heaven has been given to man by God, that through Him happiness could he reached; He alone can break the fetters of error and sin in which all mankind, every human being, lies captured. He alone is the truth, He alone, as the Son of God, has power to give perfect satisfaction for sin, and to make us truly good; and the good alone can be saved. Cling, therefore, ever faithfully and firmly to Jesus, and depart not from Him; without Him you can accomplish nothing; with Him, through Him you can accomplish all things.
GOSPEL. (Luke ii. 21.) And after eight days were accomplished that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb.
Why did Jesus submit to be circumcised?
That He might show His great love for us, which caused Him, even at the very beginning of His life, to shed His blood for us, to wash us by it from all our sins; and to teach us obedience to the commandments of God and His Church, by voluntarily subjecting Himself, although He was not in the least bound by it to the Jewish law, which ordered that every male-child should be circumcised on the eighth day after its birth. (Let. xii. 3.)
Why was He named Jesus?
Because Jesus means the same as Redeemer and Saviour, and He had come to redeem and save the world (Matt. i. 21.) and this is the holiest, most venerable, and most powerful name, by which we can be saved.
What power has this name?
The greatest power, for it repels all attacks of the wicked enemy, as Jesus Himself says (Mark xvi. 17.). And so great is the efficacy of this most holy name that even those who are not righteous, can drive out devils by using it (Matt. vii. 22.). It has power to cure physical pains and evils, as when used by the apostles (Acts iii. 3 - 7.), and as Christ promised, could be done by all the faithful (Mark. xvi. 17.). St. Bernard calls the name of Jesus a "Medicine"; and St. Chrysostom says, "This name cures all ills; it gives succor in all the ailments of the soul, in temptations, in faint-heartedness, in sorrow, and in all evil desires, &c." "Let him who cannot excite contrition in his heart for the sins he has committed, think of the loving, meek, and suffering Jesus, invoke His holy name with fervor and confidence, and he will feel his heart touched and made better", says St. Laurent Justinianus. It overcomes and dispels the temptations of the enemy: "When we fight against Satan in the name of Jesus", says the martyr St. Justin, "Jesus fights for us, in us, and with us, and the enemies must fly as soon as they hear the name of Jesus". It prepares and secures us help and blessings in all corporal and spiritual necessities, because nothing is impossible to him who asks in the name of Jesus, and whatever tends to his salvation, will be given him (John xiv. 13.). Therefore it is useful above all things, to invoke this holy name in all dangers of body and soul, in doubtful thoughts, in great temptations, especially in temptations against holy chastity, and still more so when one has fallen into sin, from which he desires to be delivered; for this name is like oil (Cant. i. 2.) which cures, which nourishes, and which illumines.
How must this name be pronounced to experience its power?
"With lively faith, with steadfast, unshaken confidence, with deepest reverence and devotion, for in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. (Philipp. ii. 10.) What wickedness, then, is theirs who habitually pronounce this name carelessly and irreverently, upon every occasion! Such a habit is certainly an abortion of hell; for what the damned and the devils are eternally doing, he imitates who abuses this name.
Why does this name so seldom manifest its power in our days?
Because Christian faith is becoming ever weaker, confidence less, while complete submission to the will of God is wanting. As faith grows more vivid among people, confidence stronger, and submission to God more sincere, so will the power of this most sacred name manifest itself in more wonderful and consoling aspects.
O Jesus! Thou Consolation of the afflicted! Thy name is indeed diffused like oil; for Thou dost illumine those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; Thou dost disperse the blindness of the soul and dost cure its ills; Thou givest food and drink to those who hunger arid thirst after justice. Be also, O Jesus! my Saviour, the physician of my soul, the healer of its wounds. O Jesus! Succor of those who are in need, be my protector in temptations! O Jesus! Father of the poor, do Thou nourish me! O Jesus! Joy of the angels, do Thou comfort me! O Jesus! my only hope and refuge, be my helper in the hour of death, for there is given us no other name beneath the sun by which we may be saved, but Thy most blessed name Jesus!REMARKS OF ST. BERNARD
EXHORTATION. St. Paul says: "All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ". (Colos. iii. 17.). We should, therefore, follow the example of the saints, and continually say, or, at least, think: "For love of Thee, O Jesus, I rise; for love of Thee I lie down; for love of Thee I eat, drink, and enjoy myself; for love of Thee I work, speak, or am silent". In this way we will accustom ourselves to do all in the name of Jesus, by which we will obtain that all will pass easily, or at least meritoriously.
ON THE SWEET NAME OF JESUS.
The holy name of Jesus produces holy thoughts in us, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, lets good works bloom, and nourishes pure affections. All nourishment leaves our soul dry, if it contains not that penetrating oil, the name Jesus. When you take up your pen, write the name Jesus: you may make books, but if the name of Jesus is not in them, you are without strength and flavor for me; you may speak, or you may reply, but if the name of Jesus sounds not from your lips, you are without unction and without charm. Yes, it must be owned: Jesus is honey in our mouth, light in our eyes, a flame in our heart. This name is the cure for all the ills of the soul. Art thou troubled? think but of Jesus, speak but the name of Jesus, the clouds disperse, and peace descends anew from heaven. Hast thou fallen into sin? and doest thou fear the net of death? invoke the name of Jesus, and soon wilt thou feel life returning. No obduracy of the soul, no weakness, no coldness, resists this holy name; no heart is so closed that it is not moved, and opens not in tears, to the name of Christ Jesus.
Art thou surrounded by sorrow and danger? invoke the name of Jesus, and thy fears will vanish. Never yet was human being in urgent need, and on the point of perishing, who invoked this helpgiving name, and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills; it softens the impetuosity of anger, the tire of concupiscence, the movements of pride, the smart of our wounds, the thirst of avarice, the sensual passions, and the desires of low pleasures. If we call it to our minds, the very name of Jesus brings before us the most meek and humble heart of Jesus, and gives us a new knowledge of the most loving and tender compassion that ever yet was seen. The name of Jesus Christ, the purest and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of men, of the God-Man, of sanctity itself, the name of all blessings and of all virtues! To think of Jesus is to think of the infinite great God, who, while He has given His life as an example to ours, has also given us the needful understanding and energy, and the assistance necessary to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts and inclinations, and in our words and actions. If the name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there. We say, therefore, with our great master, St. Paul, the Apostle: If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, (i. Cor. xvi. 22.)