Jesus’ name is holy. That’s why we honor It—and why taking His divine name in vain is such a grave sin.
Furthermore, His name is powerful: healing, transforming, and efficacious. We ought to deepen our devotion to It by frequently calling upon Him throughout our day and throughout our lives.
Jesus Himself revealed the power of His Holy Name:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.”John 16:23
His Apostles promptly preached and healed through the power of His Name:
“[B]e it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…this man is standing before you [healed].”Acts 4:10
To honor Jesus, Whose name means “God saves” and Who saves us from our sins, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was celebrated by the Catholic Church as early as the 15th century.
Here are a few other truths about devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus that you may not know…
1. The name of Jesus is “living and effective” (Hebrews 4:12).
When we speak Jesus’ name, there is true divine efficacy:
We give honour to the Name of Jesus, not because we believe that there is any intrinsic power hidden in the letters composing it, but because the Name of Jesus reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer.” Just some of the benefits of calling on His name include: “help in bodily needs,” “consolation in spiritual trials,” and “[protection] against Satan and his wiles.
—“Holy Name of Jesus”
2. The name of Jesus reminds us of who He is and who we are.
When we pray with or speak Jesus’ name, we recall both His identity as a Member of the Trinity and His relationship with us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way:
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’The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 432
How amazing! The Trinity is a community of Persons and Jesus calls us into community with Himself, the other Members of the Trinity, and the Body of Christ, His Church.
Jesus’ name also reminds us of the ultimate reality that “God saves” and that we are His sons and daughters. Jesus became like us in everything but sin so that we might spend our time on earth growing more and more like Him.
3. Devotion to Jesus’ name is present in Sacred Scripture.
In Philippians 2:6-11, St. Paul talks about Christ’s sovereignty born of His humility in accepting crucifixion:
Because of this, God greatly exalted himPhilippians 2:6-11 (emphasis added)
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those 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.
The efficacy of Jesus’ name is further shown in other parts of the New Testament.
In Luke 10:17, the seventy-two disciples return from their ministry saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
In Acts 3:6, Peter heals a crippled man in the name of Jesus: “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, [rise and] walk.”
Imagine the preciousness of Jesus’ name, not only to those healing, but for those that were healed!
Time and again, the response of those who received healing in Scripture was to praise God. And this response is a model for us.
So Jesus’ name deserves to be treated with reverence and to be proclaimed joyfully by each of us.
4. Formal devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus was established hundreds of year ago.
If you’ve ever seen the letters IHS, you’ve seen a monogram of the name of Jesus.
In the early 15th century, St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistrano brought with them an emblem on their missionary journeys. St. Ignatius of Loyola chose this emblem for the Jesuit order when he founded it in the 16th century:
St. Bernardine and St. John fostered a devotion to this emblem, which “blessed the sick and wrought great miracles” (“Holy Name of Jesus“).
At a time when the social order was largely broken into lords and vassals, St. Bernardine and St. John encouraged people to place the IHS “over the gates of their cities and above the doors of their dwelling.”
Taking IHS as one’s emblem may have had a symbolic meaning beyond asking God to grant protection to one’s city and home; it would show fealty to a Lord greater than the lords of men.
5. Eastern Catholics honor Jesus’ name through the Jesus Prayer.
To keep His name always on your lips, consider adopting a prayer popular among Eastern Catholics and our Orthodox brothers and sisters: the Jesus Prayer.
Often prayed on a prayer rope called a chotki, it can also be prayed on regular rosary beads.
The prayer is simple: on each bead or knot you pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
When this prayer becomes habitual, we become more attuned to praying His name throughout our days, and more aware of our constant need for His mercy and love.
6. The month of January is devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus.
Did you know that, according to Catholic tradition, each month of the year carries with it a specific devotion to an aspect of our faith?
January’s devotion is to the Holy Name of Jesus. This gives us a whole month to honor this feast in a special way. January 3rd, specifically, is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Isn’t it beautiful that our Church gives us a special day (and month!) to meditate on the mystery of God’s saving action in our lives through His Son?
Honor Jesus’ Holy Name
In honor of the Holy Name of Jesus, consider deepening your devotion to His Name through prayer and song.
Along with the Jesus Prayer, the “Litany to the Most Holy Name of Jesus” is a lovely way to meditate on Jesus’ name.
May your love for Jesus deepen as you cling to His Holy Name!
What is your favorite Catholic devotion?
How will you deepen your reverence for Jesus’ Holy Name?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!