Read the story of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

In the Roman Martyrology, this memory is defined as follows: «Holy Name of Jesus, the only one in which, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, every knee bends to the glory of the divine majesty». These words are taken from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians (2, 8-11): «…umiliò se stesso facendosi obbediente fino alla morte e alla morte di croce. Per questo Dio l’ha esaltato e gli ha dato il nome che è al di sopra di ogni altro nome; perché nel nome di Gesù ogni ginocchio si pieghi nei cieli, sulla terra e sotto terra; e ogni lingua proclami che Gesù Cristo è il Signore, a gloria di Dio Padre."

The veneration of the Sacred Name of Jesus began "de facto” in the early days of Church, as shown by the Christograms that decorate early Christian art.

Only in the fourteenth century, however, did it acquire liturgical relevance, giving rise to a real cult, thanks to the commitment, for its diffusion and its official recognition, lavished by St. Bernardino of Siena and his followers, among especially the blessed Alberto da Sarteano and Bernardino da Feltre.

When in the OT a prophet speaksin the name of Jehovah, it is understood that it is Jahvè who speaks through him. A messenger he speaks in the name of the sender: it is the name of the sender that gives him authority. Very often, however, the Name of God is a metonym for God himself.

The work of God is therefore attributed to the Name of God (cf. Psalms: 20,2; 54,3; 89,25). The name expresses divine power. For example, the name of God is David's weapon in front of Goliath :«David answered the Philistine: “You come to me with sword and spear and spear. I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the hosts of Israel, whom you have reviled. On this very day, the Lord will make you fall into my hands. I will strike you down and cut off your head from your body and throw the dead bodies of the Philistine army to the birds of the sky and wild beasts; all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel.”» (1 Sam 17, 45-46)

Also for the writers of the NT the name of God is the equivalent of the divine person but applied to Jesus. In his name wonders are performed (Mk 16:17-18), the sick are healed (Acts 3:6). The invocation of his name is a source of salvation, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Acts 4,12; 1Jn 2,12; 1Cor 6,11; Jn 3,18; 1Jn 5,13). The name of Jesus is "above any other name” (Phil 2, 8-11; Eph 1, 21; Heb 1,4).

During the Middle Ages the devotion to the name of Jesus is well present in some Doctors of the Church, including Bernardo di Chiaravalle, and in St. Francis of Assisi. It was then practiced throughout the Sienese area, a few decades before the preaching of Bernardino of Siena, by the Gesuati (a lay fraternity dedicated to assisting the sick, founded in 1360 by the Sienese blessed Giovanni Colombini), who were so called because of their frequent repeat the name of Jesus.

However, the elaboration of a liturgy associated with the name of Jesus is a consequence of the preaching of St. Bernardino of Siena, who focused his effort to renew the Church on the name of Jesus, emphasizing the centrality of the person of Jesus Christ. In submitting to the name of Jesus, Bernardino resolved the concrete and current problems of practical and social life: political hatreds, family ethics, the duties of merchants, backbiting, etc.

In contrast to the heraldic insignia of the noble families, whose disputes bloodied the Italian cities, Bernardino invented a brightly colored coat of arms, with which to represent the name of Jesus. It consisted of the trigram IHS, inscribed in a golden sun with twelve meandering rays above a blue shield.

This solar symbolism associated with Christ, however, aroused some opposition, but was approved by Pope Nicholas V (Tommaso Parentucelli, 1447-1455) in 1450 due to its deep roots in the Old Testament and thanks to the passionate defense by St. John of Capestrano.

The liturgy of the name of Jesus became widespread in the late fifteenth century. In 1530, Pope Clement VII (Giulio de' Medici, 1523-1534) authorized the Franciscan Order to recite the Office of the Holy Name of Jesus; and the celebration, now present in various localities, was extended to the whole Church by Pope Innocent XIII (Michelangelo Conti, 1721-1724) in 1721.

The Society of Jesus became a supporter of worship and doctrine, taking the Bernardinian trigram as its emblem and dedicating its most beautiful and largest churches, built all over the world, to the Holy Name of Jesus.

The day of celebration varied between the first Sundays of January, to settle on January 2 until the seventies of the twentieth century, when it was suppressed.

St. John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyła, 1978-2005) restored the optional memory in the Roman Calendar to January 3.

Meaning of the name Jesus: “God saves, Savior” (Hebrew).

Most holy name of Jesus IHS
Most holy name of Jesus IHS

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Ultimo aggiornamento: 31 Dicembre 2022 18:27 by Remigius Robert

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Hi, I'm Remigio Ruberto, father of Eugenio. The love that binds me to Eugenio is timeless and spaceless.

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