Reverence for the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Our worship in recent times is filled with vulgarity and irreverence. There was a time when Catholics knew to bow their heads upon hearing the Holy Name spoken of in public prayer, in the recitation of Sacred Scripture, and in the venerable rites of the Church. This sign is an act of humility before God and direct obedience to the words of scripture
”at the mention of this name, every knee shall bow”~Phillipians 2:10
To restore reverence for the Holy Name and love for Jesus in our conversations, our prayer and our worship, we have to examine the importance of this name.
The acknowledgement of the true awesomeness of the Holy Name was summarized by the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Name of Jesus invoked with confidence:
- brings help in bodily needs, according to the promise of Christ: “In my name They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16:17-18) In the Name of Jesus, the Apostles gave strength to the lame (Acts 3:6; 9:34) and life to the dead (Acts 9:40).
- It gives consolation in spiritual trials. The Name of Jesus reminds the sinner of the prodigal son’s father and of the Good Samaritan; it recalls to the just the suffering and death of the innocent Lamb of God.
- It protects us against Satan and his wiles, for the Devil fears the Name of Jesus, who has conquered him on the Cross.
- In the Name of Jesus, we obtain every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: “If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it to you.” (John 16:23) Therefore the Church concludes all her prayers by the words: “Through Our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc.
That the Holy Name, that is, the invocation of our saviour, was both worthy of love and also blasphemed, was expressed by “The Golden Arrow Prayer,” which is said to have been revealed by Jesus to a Carmelite nun of Tours in 1843 as a reparation for blasphemy:
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.
The Church has reserved January 2nd as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. (This feast is celebrated on January 3 in the General Roman Calendar of 1969.) Recalling when the Holy Family came to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate the Christ Child to God (Luke 2:21).
The Mass of this venerable rite reflects the abiding faith of the Church that the very name of ‘Jesus’ (roughly translated here as “God-is-salvation”), is worthy of love, devotion, and care. Yet we are reminded every single day to be conscious of this name.
Very few persons confess sins against the second commandment but many are guilty of using this holy name in irreverent ways.
“God confides his name to those who believe in him; he reveals himself to them in his personal mystery. The gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy. “The Lord’s name is holy.” For this reason, man must not abuse it. He must keep it in mind in silent, loving adoration. He will not introduce it into his own speech except to bless, praise, and glorify it.” (CCC 2143)