Tag Archives: St Bernardine of Siena

Holy Name of Jesus

“You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

The Latin Church has today as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; it is historically associated with the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus celebrated on the 8th Day of Christmas, January 1. Both the Latin and Eastern Churches have the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. It is not only the shedding of skin but the giving of the name according to Jewish Law thus making the baby a member of God’s household committed to the Covenant.

We know that the name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God Saves’ and is the name that St. Joseph was instructed by an angel to name the Child. By Divine Will, it is the sacred name before which “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). The only name that saves.

Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus was popularized by the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century, often symbolized by the monogram IHS (denoting the first three letters of the Greek spelling of Jesus’ name). The feast was given to the Order of Friars Minor by Clement VI.  But it is known by the Cistercians with the preaching of St. Bernard before this time; it is the same monogram that Loyola used for the Jesuits. By 1721, Innocent XII gave the feast of the Holy Name to the entire Church as the Emperor Charles VI.

Today the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on January 3rd. And the month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name.

Holy Name of Jesus

JesusMay the Most Holy Name of Jesus be praised and worshiped now and forever! By no other name are we saved!

Saint Bernadine of Siena preached:

“O glorious name, graceful name, lovely and excellent name! Through you crime slackens, enemies are conquered, the oppressed are liberated, those who suffer difficulties are strengthened and delighted! You, honor of believers, you, teacher of preachers, you, giver of strength to those who labor, you, supporter of the tired. Desires revive with the light and warmth of your fire, suffrages are asked for, contemplative souls are inebriated, and all those who triumph in the heavenly glory are glorified. And you, most sweet Jesus, make us reign with them through your most Holy Name.”

The Catechism teaches (430-435):

Jesus means in Hebrew: “God saves.” At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, “will save his people from their sins”. In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.

In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel “out of the house of bondage” by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it.  For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.

The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation, so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

The name of the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. the mercy seat was the place of God’s presence. When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom “God put forward as an expiation by his blood”, he means that in Christ’s humanity “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”

Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”. The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.

The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ”. The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” the Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips.

Saint Bernardine of Siena

English: Saint Bernardino of Siena

The liturgical feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena (+1444), a Franciscan preacher known to be a well-received preacher. He’s also known to have been devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus and was the promoter of the Name in every place he went. You may notice the symbol “IHS” in architecture, vestments, hosts, artwork: this is due to work of Bernardine of Siena. Othes like the Jesuits also popularized the use of IHS. Today’s saint was a moral reformer which got him noticed by many.

As Bernardine lay dying, so the story goes, the friars were singing the Divine Office, and the line that his soul left his body was, “Father, I have shown forth your Name to men, and I am coming to you.”

At the Office of Readings today for Saint Bernardine we hear him preach holy name of Jesus, “the glory of preachers.”
Bernardine’s mission was to proclaim the name of Jesus so that it may be heard and followed. Adherence to the Name shed light in a darkened world. Scripture reveals that it is God who calls us into his marvelous light, a people who once lived in darkness, but now live in light of the Lord; hence by baptism we walk in the Lord.
The name of Jesus, we are exhorted, must be preached by a worthy instrument so that it may be heard. The worthiness of the preacher is critical, otherwise an unworthy preacher is a detraction from the holiness of God. It is a sin against the virtue against religion, that is, God’s honor. As the Lord once said: he is to carry my name because “truth was a like a great candle shining out the name of Jesus”
Our Christian life is meant to bless His holy name and to proclaim salvation who is Jesus, our Savior. Recall, salvation is not a state of mind, or a thing, but a person. Hence, we believe that Jesus is nothing less than our personal salvation: at the name of Jesus every knee, including in heaven, will bend.
The great saints and religious orders have all had a profound respect and devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. It is time to recover a deep respect for that which is held holy. It is hoped that as we prepare for death we, too, might have on our lips the Holy Name of Jesus.

Saint Bernardine of Siena

St Bernardine of Siena.jpgMay my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever, alleluia.

Heavenly Father, You gave Saint Bernardine the priest an extraordinary love for the holy name of Jesus. By his merits and prayers grant that the spirit of love for You may ever inflame us.
Read a bit on Bernardine here.

Saint John of Capistrano

St John Capistrano.jpgThey sang, O Lord, Your holy name and praised in unison Your conquering hand.

God, our Father, You raised up in Saint John to strengthen the faithful in a time of stress. Establish us in Your safe protection and keep Your Church in lasting peace.
Poor Saint John gets associated with the migration of the swallows. How unfortunate to have your life and life’s project get linked with the fowl. There is always a back story. He studied law, a civil servant, was married but the marriage was annulled with the wife’s permission because as it was never consummated, a priest, a very effective preacher, healer and reformer and ecclesial servant. A disciple of Saint Bernardine of Siena and therefore had a devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and promoted it. See the Wiki article on Saint John and Catholic encyclopedia article on him is here. A Franciscan hagiographical piece on the saint is noted here. Reading all this I’d say the birds didn’t reveal the saint’s importance.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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