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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blessed be the Name of Jesus

This is the fourth installment in a continuing reflection on the Divine Praises. If you would like to read the earlier installments, you can find them here:

Part I
Part II
Part III

Many saints throughout history have had a particular devotion to the Name of Jesus and it is a devotion that is seen very often among those of the Franciscan tradition. St. Francis himself is known to have had a special devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and would preserve with great care any piece of paper that had the Name of our Savior and even pieces of paper that even had just letters of the Name of Jesus written upon them. St. Bernadine of Sienna also was deeply devoted to the Name of the Lord.

The Name of the Lord is full of power and majesty. The scriptures tell us that at the Name of Jesus the Jesus every knee will bow whether in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. At the Name of Jesus the demons flee in terror. There is no other Name by which we may be saved. Just think, at the utterance of one word, "Jesus", all the terrible power of the Devil is destroyed. At the utterance of one word, "Jesus", we who have been lost to the power of sin and death are restored to life and holiness once again.

So, in speaking the Name of Jesus we must always remember that we are speaking the fullness of glory, of holiness, of majesty, of strength, of divinity. This is why it is so important that we always treat the Name of Jesus with respect and honor. The Name of Jesus is our salvation from sin and our defense against the Evil One, not some cheap curse to be uttered in a moment of anger and thoughtlessness. Not only must we honor the name of Jesus with our lips, but we must honor the Name in our deeds. How scandalous it is that so much wrong has been done in the Name of Jesus!

For it is a glorious and wondrous thing that we have been blessed to be able to speak the Name! How wondrous it is that the Son, in his humility, allowed us through St. Joseph to bestow this name upon him. The Creator is named by his creation! The Word becomes flesh and is named Jesus, God saves.

And so the Name of Jesus is also full of humility, of meekness, of gentleness, of mercy, of forgiveness. How tender the Name resounds in our ears - Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. In speaking the Name, we are reminded of our salvation and the mercy of the One who accepted suffering and death that we might be redeemed. We are reminded that Jesus answers us every time that we call upon his Name, that any prayer asked in his Name will be granted.

Indeed the Name of Jesus is the perfect prayer. In praying the Name of Jesus we are able to call to mind not only our Merciful Savior, but also the Father who sent him, and the Spirit through whom he became flesh. How many saints have offered the Jesus Prayer - "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner" in their pursuit of continuous prayer? How many saints have meditated over and over again on the words "Jesus, I trust in you"?

Merciful Jesus, Saving Jesus, Tender Jesus, Glorious Jesus.

As we speak the Name of Jesus, we can sense how our tongues seem to have been made to speak this Holy Name. As we listen to the Name of Jesus, we can sense how our ears seem to have been made to hear his Holy Name. Our very hearts seem to have been made to constantly pray the Name of Jesus with each and every beat - Je-sus, Je-sus, Je-sus. Truly, have we not been made to draw entire selves more and more closer to him?

Oh my Jesus!
You are my protection against evil and my comfort in suffering.
How can I ever find the words to praise you?
To praise your holiness, your mercy, your greatness, your humility?
With each word I speak, I see that I have only begun to praise you.
I will pray your name, my Jesus, and, in that, I will say everything.


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