The Most Holy Name of Jesus

IHS

The Christogram IHS is a monogram symbol of the Holy Name of Jesus.

 

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which is closely associated with the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord (January 1st). According to the Jewish tradition, it was during the rite of circumcision that a child would receive his name. Both Mary and Joseph fulfilled what the angel had commanded them concerning the naming of their son:

Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).

Both Luke and Paul write of the majesty and power of the Holy Name of Jesus and the honor and reverence due to it:

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 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” (Philippians 2:5-11).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also speaks of the great meaning and power of the Holy Name of Jesus and it’s role in prayer:

430 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.

432 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.”

435 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.

2668 The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases, [Cf. Mt 6:7] but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” [Cf. Lk 8:15] This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus.

The following is a beautiful litany to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which was popularized by Saint Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century. It is one that I pray with my family every year on this feast day.

Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

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

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Son of the living God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Splendor of the Father,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of Glory,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Sun of Justice,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Father of the world to come,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Angel of great counsel,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Lover of Chastity,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Lover,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, God of Peace,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Author of Life,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Model of Virtues,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, zealous for souls,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, our God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Refuge,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Father of the Poor,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, good Shepherd,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, true Light,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, eternal Wisdom,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, infinite Goodness,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Way and our Life,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, joy of the Angels,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Master of the Apostles,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Strength of Martyrs,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Light of Confessors,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, Purity of Virgins,
have mercy on us.
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,

Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
deliver us, O Jesus.
Through Thine Nativity,
Through Thy Infancy,
Through Thy most Divine Life,
Through your Labors,
Through Thine Agony and Passion,
Through Thine Cross and Dereliction,
Through Thine Sufferings,
Through Thy Death and Burial,
Through Thine Resurrection,
Through Thine Ascension,
Through Thine Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist,
Through Thy Joys,
Through Thy Glory,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, Who takeest away the sins of the world,
graciously 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, Thou has 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 grace 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 doth never fails to govern those whom Thou solidly establishest in Thy love. Thou, Who livest and reignest forever and ever. R. Amen.

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