On the Most Holy Name of Jesus




‘Is not this he who persecuted at Jerusalem those who invoked the name of Jesus’ (Acts of the Apostles ix. 21).

These words were spoken about St. Paul, whose conversion we celebrate this Saturday, the twenty-fifth of January. It is interesting that this feast of St. Paul’s conversion falls in this month of January, which is dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

For, from being an arch enemy of the Holy Name, persecuting all whom he heard honour it, St. Paul would become one of its most passionate exponents, proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ with the greatest of humility and awe.

It was St. Paul, who wrote in a letter to the Philippians:

God … hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names. That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. (ii. 9-11)

Tragically today, how many people use the Holy Name profanely!

And even when people are not being profane, I have long noticed how many Christians today avoid using the Holy Name ‘Jesus’: they tend to say ‘Christ’ instead.

Many of these people often appear more ‘cultured’ or ‘refined’ or ‘liberal’ than the ‘simpler, pious’ types who still say ‘Jesus’. Perhaps it appears more ‘tasteful’ to them – as though the name Jesus, by itself, seems too sentimental or even slushy.

All this is tragic. Jesus is such a beautiful name: the name of our Lord and Saviour. It is a name that has divine power, used by many to heal or drive away evil.

For it is the name God the Father bestowed upon His Son.

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel said to Mary:

Thou … shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. (St. Luke i. 30-31).

And to St. Joseph the angel speaks in a dream, saying:

Joseph, son of David, fear not to take into thee May thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins. (i. 20-21).

Yes, here we have a name given by God Himself – meant to inspire awe in each and every creature there ever was, is and will be.  Jesus means to say Saviour, as it is stated in the Epistle of the Feast:

There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Acts of the Apostles iv. 12).

And so the Church has encourages the reverent expression of the Holy Name of Jesus, granting indulgences for those who bow their heads to honour it or even merely proclaim it with dignity, in words or in their hearts.

For some time now, I have been praying the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus in my morning prayers. And as the weeks, months and years go by, I feel I enter deeper into the mystery of all that Jesus is, expressed in this prayer.

It is such a beautiful experience, where I feel like I am meeting Jesus face to face: that all He is, expressed in this prayer, is coming towards me, embracing me, filling me with awe and wonder. It is as though I am standing before His sacred presence.

The litanies are very special in this way, for they reveal the mystery of the One before Whom we pray. This litany reveals the nature of Jesus, the Word made flesh, Who dwelt amongst us, as line after line evokes an aspect of His Divine Humanity.

I would like to encourage those of you who do not know the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, to pray it.

As I pray this litany each morning, I feel such joy, as I proclaim, line after line all that Our Lord Jesus is.

He is ‘Son of the living God’, He is ‘Splendour of the Father’. He is ‘King of glory’ and ‘Sun of justice’. He is ‘True light’, ‘Eternal wisdom’, ‘Infinite goodness’.

Line after line pronounces such profundity, such beauty.

And the Litany teaches us, as we say repeatedly in it, ‘Jesus deliver us’, that if we call upon Him, by His Holy Name, He will deliver us from temptation and sin.

Let us honour His Holy Name and pronounce ‘Jesus’ most reverently, not only in the month of January, but always.

Blessed be the Most Holy Name of Jesus without end!

Litany of the the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Jesus, Son of the living God,
Jesus, brightness of eternal light,
Jesus, king of glory,
Jesus, son of justice,
Jesus, Son of the virgin Mary,
Jesus, most amiable,
Jesus, most admirable,
Jesus, the mighty God,
Jesus, father of the world to come,
Jesus, angel of great counsel,
Jesus, most powerful,
Jesus, most patient,
Jesus, most obedient,
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Jesus, lover of chastity,
Jesus, lover of us,
Jesus, God of peace,
Jesus, author of life,
Jesus, example of virtues,
Jesus, zealous lover of souls,
Jesus, our God,
Jesus, our refuge,
Jesus, father of the poor,
Jesus, treasure of the faithful,
Jesus, good Shepherd,
Jesus, true light,
Jesus, eternal wisdom,
Jesus, infinite goodness,
Jesus, our way and our life,
Jesus, joy of angels,
Jesus, king of Patriarchs,
Jesus, master of the Apostles,
Jesus, teacher of the Evangelists,
Jesus, strength of martyrs,
Jesus, light of Confessors,
Jesus, purity of virgins,
Jesus, crown of all saints, have mercy on us.

Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus.
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus.
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From the snares of the devil,
From the spirit of fornication,
From everlasting death,
From the neglect of Thine inspirations,
By the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
By Thy nativity,
By Thine infancy,
By Thy most divine life,
By Thy labors,
By Thine agony and passion,
By Thy cross and dereliction,
By Thy sufferings,
By Thy death and burial,
By Thy resurrection,
By Thine ascension,
By Thine institution of the most Holy Eucharist,
By Thy joys,
By Thy glory, deliver us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, hear us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said: ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the gift of Thy divine charity, that we may ever love Thee with our whole heart and with all our words and deeds, and may never cease from praising Thee.

Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name, for Thou never failest to help and govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast fear and love; who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

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