Posted by: fvbcdm | January 2, 2015

Feast of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus (2 Jan 2015)

When the Archangel Gabriel announced to Our Lady that she had been chosen to be the Mother of the Savior, he said to her, concerning the child that she would conceive and bear, “You must name him Jesus.” He told Saint Joseph the same thing sometime later when assuring Saint Joseph that he was to take Mary as his wife and raise her baby as if he were his own biological child.

This divine choosing of the name of Jesus is interesting; ordinarily, the choice of a name for a child belonged to its parents, but here God the Father reserves unto himself the choice of a name for his only-begotten divine son when that son comes into the world as a human son as well.  And the reason is that “Jesus” is a Hebrew name meaning “God saves,” or “God is savior.” This child was to be, both in name and in fact, the person by whom God saves humankind.

In the year 1273, Pope Gregory X, who had great esteem and admiration for Blessed John of Vercelli, the Master General of our Dominican Order, asked him to take as a special work of the Dominican Order the promotion of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus throughout the Church and the world. Blessed John decreed that every Dominican church was to have an altar dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus and that in each of our priories there be a monthly procession in honor of the Name of our divine Lord with special prayers in honor of this most blessed of all names.

So tomorrow, on January 3, we are delighted to celebrate the Name of Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of Saint Peter speaking to the religious leaders of the Jewish people after Pentecost and saying to them, “Of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.”

One of the Divine Praises used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament says: Blessed be the Name of Jesus. This simple prayer is a beautiful statement of our veneration of Our Lord’s holy name. Let us get into the habit of saying it often, in our minds and hearts if not out loud. Saint Philip Neri used to have cards printed with the name of Jesus on each one; he would distribute them to his followers so that they could carry the printed name of the Lord on their persons. When Saint Isaac Jogues was making his way through the forests of eastern Canada, he would mark his way by carving the name of Jesus on the trees. Saint Joan of Arc died at the stake crying out the name: Jesus, Jesus, as the flames enveloped her.

May the name of Jesus be precious and sacred to each of us, now and forever. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note: This message was composed some years ago.

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