Practicing devotion The Holy Name of Jesus
"Because of this, 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." These are the words of Saint Paul writing to the Philippians (Phil 2:9-11). With these words as the Churchís guide, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on Jan. 3. The entire month of January which has become dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.
History of the devotion
Devotion to the Holy Name dates back to the 13th Century. During this period, the Church struggled against heresies that were denying the divinity of Christ. Left unchecked irreverent use of Our Lordís name was becoming commonplace.
What turned the tide was St. Dominic and his Dominican order. They were able to overcome the Albigensian heresy that was causing most of the issues. However, the effects of irreverence were still persistent.
The Church knew something needed to be done and confronted the matter during the Second Council of Lyons in 1274. Pope Gregory X wrote, "We have also judged it proper to persuade the faithful to demonstrate more reverence for that name above all names, the only name in which we claim salvation- the name of Jesus Christ, Who has redeemed us from the bondage of sin. Consequently, in view of obeying that apostolic precept, in the Name of Jesus let every knee be bent; we wish that at the Holy Sacrifice, every one would bow his head in token that interiorly he bends the knee of his heart."
Adding the devotion to our daily routines
How can we bring this devotion into our homes? We can daily pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus which can be found here. While reverently praying this litany we should pray that we may grow reverence for Jesus and His Holy Name, and in reparation for how His Name is used in vain.
There are a number of acts of reverence we can perform that show our devotion to Jesus. Incorporate these into your daily routines and teach your children to do the same.
- We can make the Sign of the Cross as we pass by a Catholic Church.
- Bow our heads when the Name of Jesus is spoken during Mass or while reading scripture.
- Offer a silent prayer when we hear the Lordís Name used in vain.
These are not difficult things to do, rather simple gestures that draw our thought back toward the great act Jesus did for each of us by sacrificing his own life for our salvation. These simple acts show Jesus that we are thankful for this.
Prayers for the month
Here are a few short prayers to add to your prayer routine this January.
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.
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 morn, 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.