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Blessed be his Holy Name

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
In 1274 the Council of Lyons entrusted to the Order of Preachers the task of promoting reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus and countering profane and blasphemous uses of it. In 2002 Pope John Paul II re-instituted the feast of the Holy Name, celebrated now on January 3.

One of the earliest Christian creeds is simply 'Jesus is Lord'. Saint Paul tells us that it is on account of his obedience and love that Jesus is given the divine name 'Lord', the name that is above every name, the name before which all creation bows (Philippians 2:9-10). The honour evoked by this divine name extends also to His human name, Jesus. which is entitled to similar honour and respect.

An alarming anecdote tells of a child asking her parents why Mary and Joseph named their child after a swear word! It remains the case that many people use the name 'Jesus' in swearing so that the child's experience is not unusual. The commemoration of this feast is one way to counteract such abuse and to give due honour to the Holy Name.

[The following hymn may be sung to any long meter tune]

by Br Lawrence Lew, O.P.

Sing we of that most precious name,
The name by which all men are saved,
That angel hosts adore and fame,
That shatters evil and the grave.

The name before whom devils quake,
The name proclaimed before all time,
The name that took flesh for our sake
The name told oft in verse and rhyme.

This name foretold by angel sent,
And promised to the one Most Pure;
The name to whom she gave assent
Became mankind’s salvation sure.

The name that came in quiet of night,
In lowly pomp led out to die.
The name that humbly veiled its might
Is now raised up to God on high.

This name the prophets spoke of old
And chosen men did tell abroad,
To bring to faith by preaching bold
And in this name confess the Lord.

This name is love, let evils cease,
It conquers sin and death and fear,
Brings end to sorrow, hastens peace
And is a cry for justice clear.

Behold! To every Christian soul,
This name brings joy and hope divine;
Across the Church, from pole to pole,
Gives comfort to the one who pines.

Sing we of this most glorious name
Invoked in prayer, called on by men;
For saints and sinners, still the same:
Jesus, O Jesus Christ, Amen!

Lawrence Lew OP


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