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Holy Name of Jesus

IHSToday, is the feast  of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Historically, in 1721, Pope Innocent XIII implemented this feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus following upon the revelation of Scripture on the Holy Name, the consistent teaching of the Magisterium, preaching of the saints, like Saint Bernard, Saint Bernardin of Siena , and Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Several points in Scripture come to mind:

Zechariah 10:21: “I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk in His Name, says the Lord.”

I John 3:23: “And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ: and love one another, as He hath given commandment unto us.”

Revelation: 3:8: “I know your works. Behold, I have given you a door opened, which no man can shut: because you have little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied My Name.”

The Introit for the Mass today gives us the key to understanding: In the name of Jesus let every knee bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:10-11). O Lord our Lord, how wonderful is thy name in the whole earth! (Ps. 8:2).

Consider these words preached by Saint Bernard:

The sweet name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works, and nourishes pure affections. All spiritual food leaves the soul dry, if it contain not that penetrating oil, the name Jesus. When you take your pen, write the name Jesus: if you write books, let the name of Jesus be contained in them, else they will possess no charm or attraction for me; you may speak, or you may reply, but if the name of Jesus sounds not from your lips, you are without unction and without charm. Jesus is honey in our mouth, light in our eyes, a flame in our heart. This name is the cure for all diseases of the soul. Are you troubled? think but of Jesus, speak but the name of Jesus, the clouds disperse, and peace descends anew from heaven. Have you fallen into sin? so that you fear death? invoke the name of Jesus, and you will soon feel life returning. No obduracy of the soul, no weakness, no coldness of heart can resist this holy name; there is no heart which will not soften and open in tears at this holy name. Are you surrounded by sorrow and danger? invoke the name of Jesus, and your fears will vanish. Never yet was human being in urgent need, and on the point of perishing, who invoked this help-giving name, and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills; to soften the impetuosity of anger, to quench the fire of concupiscence, to conquer pride, to mitigate the pain of our wounds, to overcome the thirst of avarice, to quiet sensual passions, and the desires of low pleasures. If we call to our minds the name of Jesus, it brings before us His most meek and humble heart, and gives us a new knowledge of His most loving and tender compassion. The name of Jesus is the purest, and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the name of all blessings and of all virtues; it is the name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself. To think of Jesus is to think of the great, infinite God Who, having given us His life as an example, has also bestowed the necessary understanding, energy and assistance to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts, inclinations, words and actions. If the name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there. We say, therefore, with our great master, St. Paul the Apostle: If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (I Cor. 16:22).

Our devotional life can only be enhanced with the praying of the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus.

The image used herewith is one you have seen in many churches, schools and retreat centers, on vestments, and other religious objects, the letters “IHS.” (Pope Francis’s coat of arms includes this seal and these letters.) These are the first three letters of Jesus’s name as it appears in Greek, the original language of the New Testament: Ἰησοῦς (Iesous.) IHΣΟΥΣ would be the capitalized form, so the iota, eta, and sigma are also capitalized in the abbreviation, the Latinate version of which is “IHS.”

Circumcision of Our Lord

Circumcision Fra Filippo LippiToday is the octave day of Christmas and the liturgical observance of the Lord receiving circumcision according to the Law of Moses. In the West, various saints and liturgical texts attest to this feast as being in existence early in our Church history. We know that the local Council of Tours (AD 567) prescribed this feast. By the eighth century the Byzantine Church put the Circumcision on the calendar.

In the Torah all Jewish males are required to follow this first legal observance. In sacred Scripture we read:

This is my covenant which you shall observe between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male-kind of you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every manchild in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant, shall be circumcised (Genesis 17:10-12).

Scholars will speak of circumcision as a sacrament of the former dispensation; it is an Old Testament type for Catholic sacramentality. Following the line of thinking of Saint Hilary of Poiters, Jesus had no need for circumcision but that we need this act of conforming to the Law of God. Jesus was circumcised so that He might redeem those who were under the law. Thus, after the Incarnation, the Lord’s circumcision was the initial gesture that freed us from the Mosaic Law opening the door to sacrament of Baptism granting forgiveness of Original Sin, becoming adopted  sons and daughters of God, and becoming members of the Church (Cf. Gal. 4:5). The Lord demonstrates that Baptism is necessary for salvation. This physical act is the Lord’s first shedding of blood for the new covenant.

Also central to today’s Liturgy is Mary’s following of the Divine command to name her infant son, Jesus (meaning: God saves). The Archangel Gabriel specified the name of the Incarnate Word of God and Mary and Joseph follow what was revealed. Thus, we honor the Holy Name of Jesus (a fuller liturgical observance will be on January 3).

Let us pray. Almighty God, whose only-begotten Son on this day received bodily circumcision, lest He should break the law which He came to fulfil, purify your minds by spiritual circumcision from every allurement of vice, and pour into you his own blessing. Amen.

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on January 1

Sacred Heart of JesusI give myself and consecrate to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, my person and my life, my actions, pains and sufferings, so that I may be unwilling to make use of any part of my being other than to honor, love and glorify the Sacred Heart. This is my unchanging purpose, namely, to be all His, and to do all things for the love of Him, at the same time renouncing with all my heart whatever is displeasing to Him. I therefore take You, O Sacred heart, to be the only object of my love, the guardian of my life, my assurance of salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the atonement for all the faults of my life and my sure refuge at the hour of death.

Be then, O Heart of goodness, my justification before God the Father, and turn away from me the strokes of his righteous anger. O Heart of love, I put all my confidence in You, for I fear everything from my own wickedness and frailty, but I hope for all things from Your goodness and bounty.

Remove from me all that can displease You or resist Your holy will; let your pure love imprint Your image so deeply upon my heart, that I shall never be able to forget You or to be separated from You.

May I obtain from all Your loving kindness the grace of having my name written in Your Heart, for in You I desire to place all my happiness and glory, living and dying in bondage to You.
Amen.

Te Deum for 2015 and 2016

detail of Christ iconWe pray the Te Deum  in gratitude for the blessings of this past year, and for the blessings in the year to come. We stand before God’s Providence with grateful hearts.

Holy Mother Church offers a  partial indulgence to the faithful who recite it in thanksgiving and a plenary indulgence is granted if the hymn is recited publicly on the last day of the year.

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.

V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.

V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.

V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.

V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.
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O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.