The Friendly Name

The Friendly Name

Holy Name of Jesus

There is no salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved (Act 4:12). With those words of the apostle St Peter, the mission of the Church for all ages is made clear: it is to lead souls to eternal salvation by leading them to Jesus. The mission of the Church is therefore to preach that Name to all peoples, for there is no salvation in any other Name or in any other religion. The path that leads to a blessed eternity with God has been shown to us: Jesus Himself is that path, and our beatitude consists in putting all our trust in the power of that Name to heal our wounds, forgive us our sins and lead us in the way of salvation, replicating as closely as possible the model He has given us.

With the Name of Jesus, all good things, all graces are given to us. There is literally nothing that we do not already have or are not able to receive through the invocation of that Holy Name: If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it to you (Jn 16:23). As that Name is invoked upon us at the beginning of the year to be our protection and safeguard, let us endeavour to draw closer to Jesus and to avail ourselves of that amazing love He has shown us in calling us to be His friends. Let us invoke His Name frequently. Let us ever have on our lips that Name which is as honey to the mouth, and which puts to flight all the demons of hell. Especially in moments of temptation or at times of greater difficulty, let us develop the habit or renew it, of lovingly murmuring the Holy Name with our lips. That Name, because it is the earthly name of the Son of God our Saviour is in itself a prayer. By simply pronouncing it with faith and love, we give glory to God and obtain grace for our souls.

The Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, which we are encouraged to recite especially during the month of January, contains a number of titles that can nourish our meditation. This morning I will propose only one. Jesus our refuge.

A refuge is a place, usually a house, in which tired and sometimes lost travellers can escape from harsh weather and get some rest. If you have ever been in very high mountains or in the rugged wilderness, and have found a refuge as the night falls, you know that it is often matter of life or death. When we say that Jesus is our Refuge, we mean that it is in Him, and in Him alone, that we sinners can find the forgiveness, the protection, the repose, the warmth, the food, and light we need to not die spiritually, and to be restored for what remains of our path on this earth.

This is so important as we begin another year, one that promises to be hard and harsh and dark. In this year we will all have some very hard decisions to make, choices we would like to not have to make, or that we would prefer to hand over to others. But we cannot. Each must decide. Each must choose. Each will be held accountable. This is why it is so consoling and important to know that the Holy Name of Jesus is our refuge. If we know how to enter into the haven He offers us, if we know how to recollect ourselves everyday in prayer, if we are able to turn off the beguiling din of the world and tune into the interior voice of the Lord, we will taste how sweet that refuge is and we will find there all the light and courage we need to make those choices.

So, fear not. Keep the Name of Jesus on your lips and the devils will flee from you and you will be led to a happy end. Let us take comfort in those immortal words of the Imitation of Christ (B. 2, ch.8): “When Jesus is present all things go well, and nothing seems difficult; but when Jesus is absent everything is hard. When Jesus speaks not within, our comfort is worthless; but if Jesus speak but one word, we feel great consolation… To be without Jesus is a grievous hell and to be with Jesus a sweet paradise. If Jesus be with thee no enemy can hurt thee. Whosoever finds Jesus finds a good treasure, yea, good above all goods. And he that loses Jesus loseth exceeding much, and more than if he lost the whole world…. Be pure and free interiorly, without being entangled by any creature. Thou must be naked and carry a pure heart to God, if thou wilt attend at leisure, and see how sweet is the Lord… For when the grace of God cometh to a man then he is strong and powerful for all things; and when it departs then he is poor and weak, left as it were only to stripes. In these he must not be dejected nor despair, but stand with an even mind, resigned to the will of God, and bear, for the glory of Jesus Christ, whatever shall befall him; because after winter comes summer, after the night the day returns, after a storm there follows a great calm.”