IF all the names which, have been given to the children of men, the most august and the most . . . lovable is the name of Jesus. It contains in itself all that the prophets announced as greatest, all that the patriarchs have dreamed of as most gracious; it recalls at once what is most amiable in virtue, what is most tender in love, and what is most august in religion. Besides, it is an angel that has brought this name from heaven to earth; and St. Bernard says that the name of Jesus is at the same time a light, a nourishment, and a remedy.
First Point — The name of Jesus is a light. It enlightens the mind of the priest when preaching to the people. It is by the name of Jesus that the universe has been converted; at this divine name the darkness of idolatry gave place to the light of the Gospel. St. Peter, at his first preaching, converted three thousand persons by the power of Jesus' name. St. Paul, on his way to Damascus, experienced its happy effects; he was struck, as if by a thunderbolt, while he was hastening to put the Christians to death. He heard a voice which said to him: "Why do you persecute Me?'' "And who are you?'' he answered. The voice replied: "I am Jesus." At the sound of this name an unknown light shone before his eyes, and he understood the meaning of it all. ''Lord," says the persecutor, now become a vessel of election, '' what wilt Thou have me to do? Speak, for I am ready." St. Paul, convinced by his own experience of the power of this holy name, made it his support in his apostolic journeys, and without other arms than this divine name he converted the world. Rome, Athens, and Corinth experienced, each in turn, the power of his word. He confounded the learned, astonished the Areopagus, and caused the proconsul to tremble in his tribunal; but it was not by his credit nor by his eloquence that he triumphed; he admitted that he was not skilful in the art of speaking well, but he knew Jesus crucified, and it was to this sacred name he owed all his success. The effects of the name of Jesus are still the same. What light it sheds on the soul! Is it necessary to detach the hearts of the rich from their earthly goods? Reason fails against cupidity, but let the name of Jesus be pronounced and it shall recall Him who became poor through love, and soon love shall lead to a contempt for riches. Is it necessary to instil resignation in the heart of the poor man ? The name of Jesus shall remind him of the poor Infant in the manger, and will make his poverty precious. Do you strive to stifle vengeance in the depth of some outraged heart by reasoning? Then all your efforts shall be in vain; but let the name of Jesus be mentioned, and the vindictive one shall remember the amiable Victim, who, although outraged and insulted, not only pardoned His executioners but excused them. His heart is open to mercy. St. John Gualbert had resolved to avenge his brother, who had been cruelly assassinated. It was on Good Friday he met the murderer, and, taking his sword in hand, he prepared to strike him, when the murderer fell at his feet and asked his life in the name of Jesus crucified. At once John felt the sword fall from his grasp; he lifted his enemy from the ground, embraced him, and pardoned him. In all your doubts, in all your temptations, pronounce the Holy Name of Jesus with faith, and the most precious lights shall dissipate your doubts, and shall show you the way you should walk to find your Saviour and your God.
Second Point — The name of Jesus is a nourishment. There is in this blessed name some hidden virtue which goes to the very soul, penetrates it and warms it, and like some mysterious substance spreads throughout our whole being a certain strength and joy. Who has not experienced this wonderful effect? In the maladies of the soul, when temptations increase to violence, when the sources of holy consolations seem closed, when we feel ourselves growing weak, the heart without strength and the will without energy: everything in the service of God and in the practice of duty is tasteless, insipid, loathsome; then let us come to the foot of the altar, or before a crucifix, and medi- tate on the name of Jesus. At once confidence shall be born in this again, and our forces shall revive. What is the source of this fervor which is experienced at the foot of a crucifix or before an altar? The lover of Jesus is occupied in repeating His name or reflecting on its sweetness. He does not know how to formulate sublime prayers; he only knows how to repeat the name of Jesus, and he repeats it a thousand times without wearying at the repetition, and this adorable name, as some burning flame, warms his heart and consoles him. "I do not know,'' said St. Bernard, "if you understand the marvellous effects of the name of Jesus, but as for me, everything, without this divine name, is insipid and wearisome. I must tell you, a book has no attractions for me if I do not find the name of Jesus in it; a conference or instruction cannot please me if Jesus is not mentioned in it. Jesus is honey to my mouth, melody to my ears, and a joyful song to my heart.'' If you look for the secret of this unspeakable sweetness which the loving heart discovers in the Holy Name of Jesus, you shall find it is born of a mysterious perfume attached to everything which comes from heaven. But should it not come also from the memories which this name awakens in the heart? See what sweet thoughts are grouped about this amiable name, as delicious fruits lie about the tree which produces them! The neglects and the adoration in the manger, the memory of virtues hidden during thirty years in the house of Joseph, the lessons and the blessings of a life which St. Peter sums up in two words, "He went about doing good;" the opprobrium and sorrows of Calvary — all this recalls the name of Jesus. How, then, shall we not feel stirred while meditating on it? O Holy Name of Jesus, sacred and penetrating oil, whose unction has been poured out from the beginning, and only asks to be still poured out, pour Thyself with profusion in my heart, fill it with the infinite sweetness and the charms of Thy love, that, being purified by Thee, united to Thee, and satiated by the happiness of loving Thee, I may see verified in me these words of the Holy Spirit: " Thy name is as oil poured out, and it is why Thy servants have loved Thee exceedingly."
Third Point — The name of Jesus is a remedy. It heals every malady. First, the maladies of the body. The innumerable cures wrought by the apostles are so many consequences of the power of Jesus' name. There is nothing which can resist this divine name. Jesus Himself has proclaimed this truth. " He that shall believe in Me, shall work miracles greater than mine. In My name he shall expel demons. He shall have nothing to fear, neither the serpent's bite nor the effect of poisons. He shall impose hands on the sick and they shall be healed." The name of Jesus heals maladies of the heart. There are in life some cruel moments, when the wearied soul implores death as the only resource. In this sadness the name of Jesus shall remind you of the sadness of the amiable Victim in the Garden of Olives, and it shall reanimate and strengthen you. If ever you are the victim of ingratitude or of the injustice of men, the name of Jesus shall console you, and strengthen you by recalling the treason of Judas, the abandonment by the apostles, and the unworthy preference given to Barabbas. If despair threatens to invade your soul, then recall the name of Jesus; it is, says St. Ambrose, a name of hope, a name full of sweetness, a name which gives joy. The name of Jesus heals the maladies of the soul. The great malady of the soul, that which must be especially feared, because it attacks the very sources of supernatural life, is sin. The name of Jesus is a sovereign remedy for it. And why? Because it makes us detest sin by recalling its malice; because it makes us avoid sin by giving us strength in temptations; because it makes us weep for sin, by reminding us of the love of Him whom we offend. Learn then to pronounce this blessed name with respect — it is the name of your God; with love — it is the name of your Benefactor; and with confidence — it is the name of your Saviour.
O Name of Jesus, holy and adorable name, how much I love to speak and think of it! Be also honey for my lips, and melody for my heart. In dying, may my lips still murmur this name, and may I never cease to repeat it here on earth, until the moment when with the angels I may forever bless it.
Source: Short Instructions for Every Sunday of the Year and the Principal Feasts, Imprimatur 1897