The Most Holy Name of Jesus

January 3—The Most Holy Name of Jesus, Optional Memorial

Liturgical Color: White
Version: FullShort

Reflection: Everything about our divine Lord is holy, including His Name. It was the Archangel Gabriel who first spoke the name of Jesus to His mother, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The Archangel was only a messenger, so the name of Jesus was given to Him by the Father in Heaven.

Saint Peter was one of the first Apostles to speak with authority in the Holy Name of Jesus when he healed a crippled man saying, “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” (Acts 3:6). Saint Paul also exalted the holy name of Jesus when he said, “…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” (Philippians 2:9–10). Saint Paul preached with power in the name of Jesus so often that even some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to imitate him by commanding demons, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13). 

Throughout the history of the Church, Jesus’ name has been invoked as an instrument of personal faith in the Son of God, especially to command demons or simply to pray to Jesus in a repetitive and personal way. The liturgical Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus has been celebrated by the Church for many centuries, especially within various religious orders. In the fifteenth century, Saint Bernardine of Siena, a Franciscan friar, went on a preaching mission promoting devotion to the Most Holy Name. He encouraged people to revere Jesus’ name by placing the first three Greek letters of His name on their doors: IHS. Today, this Greek monogram of Jesus’ name is commonly seen in churches on tabernacles, altars, and in stained glass windows. In the sixteenth century, Saint Ignatius of Loyola had such a strong devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus that he adopted it as his seal as general of his newly founded order of the Jesuits; that monogram remains the Jesuits’ official seal today.

There is great power in the spoken name of Jesus. Repeating His name prayerfully or speaking it aloud brings Him close and gives you strength, provided you recite His name in faith. The name of Jesus casts out fear, arouses trust, and unites your heart to His. Sadly, the Most Holy Name of Jesus is so holy that the evil one often tempts people to invoke it as a curse when angry, without even considering what they are doing.

As we celebrate this holy memorial today, ponder the prayer below that is attributed to Saint Bernardine of Sienna, the Franciscan who spoke so fervently of Jesus’ name. Also, take time to close your eyes and prayerfully repeat His name over and over. As you go about your day, anytime you feel anxious or fearful, speak the name of Jesus. Know and believe that the divine name of our Lord brings Him close to you and bestows His grace in abundance.

Prayer: Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love, and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who mourn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires; by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen.

Reflection taken from:

Saints and Feasts of the Liturgical Year
Volumes One–Four


Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Jesus, hear us. 

Jesus, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, 

have mercy on us 

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, 

have mercy on us 

God, the Holy Spirit, 

have mercy on us 

Holy Trinity, one God, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Son of the living God, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Splendor of the Father, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, King of Glory, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Sun of Justice, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, most amiable, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, most admirable, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, the mighty God, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Father of the world to come, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, angel of great counsel, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, most powerful, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, most patient, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, most obedient, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Lover of Chastity, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, our Lover, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, God of Peace, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Author of Life, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Model of Virtues, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, zealous for souls, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, our God, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, our Refuge, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Father of the Poor, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, good Shepherd, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, true Light, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, eternal Wisdom, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, infinite Goodness, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, our Way and our Life, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, joy of the Angels, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Master of the Apostles, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Strength of Martyrs, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Light of Confessors, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Purity of Virgins, 

have mercy on us 

Jesus, Crown of all Saints, 

have mercy on us .

Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus! 

Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!

From all evil, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From all sin, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From your wrath, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From the snares of the devil, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From the spirit of fornication, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From everlasting death, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

From the neglect of your inspirations, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through the mystery of your holy Incarnation, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Nativity, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Infancy, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your most divine Life, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Labors, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Agony and Passion, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Cross and Dereliction, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Sufferings, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Death and Burial, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Resurrection, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Ascension, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Joys, 

deliver us, O Jesus 

Through your Glory, 

deliver us, O Jesus .

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, 

spare us, O Jesus! 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, 

graciously hear us, O Jesus! 

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, 

have mercy on us, O Jesus!

Jesus, hear us. 

Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, you have said, “Ask and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you”; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the grace of your most divine love, that we may love you with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease to praise you.

Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of your holy name, for you never fail to govern those whom you solidly establish in your love. You, who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen.


(Short Version)

January 3—The Most Holy Name of Jesus, Optional Memorial

Everything about our divine Lord is holy, including His Name. The Archangel Gabriel first spoke the name of Jesus to His mother, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The Archangel was only a messenger, so it was the Father in Heaven who gave Jesus his name.

Saint Peter was one of the first Apostles to speak with authority in the Holy Name of Jesus when he healed a crippled man saying, “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” (Acts 3:6). Saint Paul also exalted the holy name of Jesus when he said, “…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” (Philippians 2:9–10). 

Throughout the history of the Church, Jesus’ name has been invoked as an instrument of personal faith in the Son of God, especially to command demons or simply to pray to Jesus in a repetitive and personal way. The liturgical Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus has been celebrated by the Church for many centuries, especially within various religious orders, including the Franciscans and the Jesuits. Today, the first Greek letters of Jesus’ name – IHS – are common on our churches’ tabernacles, altars, and stained glass windows.

Repeating Jesus’ name prayerfully or speaking it aloud brings Him close and gives you strength, provided you recite His name in faith. The name of Jesus casts out fear, arouses trust, and unites your heart to His. Sadly, the Most Holy Name of Jesus is so holy that the evil one often tempts people to invoke it as a curse when angry, without even considering what they are doing.

As we celebrate this holy memorial today, ponder the prayer below that is attributed to Saint Bernardine of Sienna, the Franciscan who spoke so fervently of Jesus’ name. Also, take time to close your eyes and prayerfully repeat His name over and over. As you go about your day, anytime you feel anxious or fearful, speak the name of Jesus. Know and believe that the divine name of our Lord brings Him close to you and bestows His grace in abundance.

Jesus, Name full of glory, grace, love, and strength! You are the refuge of those who repent, our banner of warfare in this life, the medicine of souls, the comfort of those who mourn, the delight of those who believe, the light of those who preach the true faith, the wages of those who toil, the healing of the sick. To You our devotion aspires; by You our prayers are received; we delight in contemplating You. O Name of Jesus, You are the glory of all the saints for eternity. Amen.

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