Second Thought for the Day – 3 January – Christmas Weekday and the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
This Name is the cure for all diseases of the soul.
St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
Doctor of the Church
“The sweet Name of Jesus produces in us holy thoughts, fills the soul with noble sentiments, strengthens virtue, begets good works and nourishes pure affections. All spiritual food leaves the soul dry, if it contain not that penetrating oil, the Name Jesus. When you take your pen, write the Name Jesus, if you write books, let the Name of Jesus be contained in them, else they will possess no charm or attraction for m, you may speak, or you may reply, but if the Name of Jesus sounds not from your lips, you are without unction and without charm.
Jesus to me is honey in the mouth, light in the eyes, a flame in our heart. This Name is the cure for all diseases of the soul. Are you troubled? think but of Jesus, speak but the Name of Jesus, the clouds disperse and peace descends anew from heaven.
Have you fallen into sin? so that you fear death? invoke the Name of Jesus and you will soon feel life returning. No obduracy of the soul, no weakness, no coldness of heart can resist this holy Name, there is no heart which will not soften and open in tears at this holy name. Are you surrounded by sorrow and danger? invoke the Name of Jesus and your fears will vanish.
Never yet was human being in urgent need and on the point of perishing, who invoked this help-giving Name and was not powerfully sustained. It was given us for the cure of all our ills, to soften the impetuosity of anger, to quench the fire of concupiscence, to conquer pride, to mitigate the pain of our wounds, to overcome the thirst of avarice, to quiet sensual passions and the desires of low pleasures.
If we call to our minds the Name of Jesus, it brings before us His most meek and humble heart and gives us a new knowledge of His most loving and tender compassion. The Name of Jesus is the purest and holiest, the noblest and most indulgent of names, the Name of all blessings and of all virtues, it is the Name of the God-Man, of sanctity itself. To think of Jesus is to think of the great, infinite God Who, having given us His life as an example, has also bestowed the necessary understanding, energy and assistance to enable us to follow and imitate Him, in our thoughts, inclinations, words and actions.
If the Name of Jesus reaches the depths of our heart, it leaves heavenly virtue there. We say, therefore, with our great master, St Paul the Apostle – If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”
Jesus, I offer You my thoughts, that You may keep them pure, my actions, that they may always glorify Your Name, my words, that they may forever give You praise!
Thought for the Day – 3 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Making a Good Meditation
“It is not enough, simply to make a meditation. It ought to be made well. It is well made only when it results in an increase of solid virtue and sanctity. Meditation, moreover, should not be study but mental prayer – a raising of mind to God, asking Him to illumine the darkness of our hearts, too often entangled with the things of the world and, to reinforce our wills, rescuing them from the violent attractions of evil and drawing them, in the direction of virtue and sacrifice. To meditate, is not to study but to pray. Whoever loses himself in subtle investigations of Christian Doctrine in order to learn something or to be able to mystify others, is studying, not meditating. It would be even worse, to let one’s imaginations wander off into a kind of pseudo-mystic daydream. Let us be quite clear about this – Meditation is not a waste of time but a very serious occupation. It consists in placing ourselves in the presence of God, in admitting to Him our misery and weakness, in thinking about the eternal truths, so that our minds may be enlightened and in aiming at a Christian self-renewal, through the making and carrying out, of good resolutions.“
Quote/s of the Day – 3 January – Christmas Weekday
and the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
“And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me, in my name, I will do it.”
“And you shall call His name Jesus, because in His Name we adore the entire majesty of the Godhead. All who dwell in the heavens, those who abide upon the earth and everyone of those who are held in the depths of hell, bow down prostate to this Name. This is the Name which gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, agility to the lame, speech to the mute and life to the dead, The power of this Name forced the mastery of the devil entirely, from the bodies of the possessed.”
St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450)
Father and Doctor of the Church
“The Holy Name of Jesus is, first of all, an all-powerful prayer. Our Lord, Himself, solemnly promises, that whatever we ask the Father in His Name, we shall receive. God never fails to keep His word. Each time we say “Jesus,” it is an act of perfect love, for, we offer to God, the infinite love of Jesus”
St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
Doctor of the Church
”The invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus, is the simplest way of praying always. When the Holy Name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty praises but holds fast to the Word and ”brings forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). This prayer is possible at all times because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation – that of loving God which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus”
“We, Jesuits, want to be conferred the name of Jesus, militate under the standard of His Cross and this means, to have the same sentiments of Christ. It means to think like Him, love like Him, see like Him, walk like Him. It means to do what He did and with His same sentiments, with the sentiments of His Heart. The heart of Christ is the heart of a God who, out of love, “emptied” Himself.
(3 January 2014)
Blessed be the Most Holy Name of Jesus without end!
One Minute Reflection – 3 January – Christmas Weekday and the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, Readings: 1 John 2:29-3, 6, Psalm 98:1, 3-6, John 1:29-34
I did not know him but the reason why I came baptising with water, was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him”. … John 1:31-32
REFLECTION – “Upon Adam, blinded in Eden, a Sun has arisen, rising up from Bethlehem and has opened his eyes by washing them in the waters of Jordan. Upon him whom darkness and shadows were covering, that light has dawned which will never go out. Night is no more for him, all is day, Dawn is born for him, since it was dusk when he hid himself, as Scripture says (Gn 3:8). He who fell in the evening has found the Sunrise that gives him light, he has fled from the dark and advanced towards the morning which has manifested itself and illuminated all. (…)
Sing aloud, O Adam and worship Him who comes to meet you. While you were drawing back, He manifested Himself to you that you might see and touch and welcome Him. He whom you feared after you had been deceived, has been made like you for your sake. He has come down to earth to take you to heaven, He became mortal that you might become God and put on your original beauty. Wishing to open up again for you the gates of Eden, He lived in Nazareth. For all this, sing of Him, man and glorify with a psalm, the One who manifested Himself and has shone over all.
The eyes of the children of earth have received the strength to behold the heavenly Face, the sight of the creatures of clay, (Gn 2:7) has perceived the undimmed shining of the immaterial Light, that prophets and kings have not seen but longed to see (Mt 13:17). Great Daniel was called a man of desires because he desired to contemplate Him whom we behold. David, too, hoped for this decree, now we can understand what lay hidden, the One who manifested Himself and illuminated all.” … St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet – 2nd hymn for the Epiphany, 1,3,8
PRAYER – Almighty God, Your Son’s manhood, born of the Virgin, was a new creation, untainted by our sinful condition. Renew us then, in Christ and cleanse us from our sins. May the Holy Name of Jesus, be our light, our safeguard and our shield. Through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all time and forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 3 January – Christmas Weekday and the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
O Sweet Name of Jesus Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471) (Manualis Parvulorum XIII)
O sweet Name of Jesus,
holy above all names in heaven and on earth
and to which every knee,
both of men and of angels in heaven,
on earth and in hell bends.
You are the the way of the just,
the glory of the saints,
the hope of those in need,
the balm of the sick,
the love of the devout
and the consolation of those that suffer.
O, Jesus be to me a help
and a protector
so that Your Name
may be blessed for all times…
Saint of the Day – 3 January – Saint Genevieve (c 419-c 502) Virgin, apostle of prayer and of the poor and sick – Patronages – against plague, against disasters, against fever, French security forces (chosen in 1962), Paris, France, Women’s Army Corps. In 451 she led a “prayer novena” that was said to have saved Paris by diverting Attila’s Huns away from the city. When the Germanic king Childeric I besieged the city in 464, she acted as an intermediary between the city and its besiegers, collecting food and convincing Childeric to release his prisoners. Her following and her status as patron saint of Paris were promoted by Clotilde – Princess and Saint (c 474-545), who may have commissioned the writing of her vita.
On his way to combat heresy in Britain, St Germanus of Auxerre (c 378-c 448) made an overnight stop at Nanterre, France. In the crowd that gathered to hear him speak, Germanus spotted Genevieve, a beautiful 7-year-old girl and he foresaw her future holiness. When he asked little St Genevieve if she wanted to dedicate her life to God, she enthusiastically said yes. So he laid hands on her with a blessing, thus launching the spiritual career of one of France’s most admired saints.
St Genevieve was born around the year 420 in the small French village of Nanterre. After both of her parents died, she went to live with her godmother in Paris. She was admired for her piety and works of charity and she practised corporal austerities which included abstaining completely from meat and breaking her fast only twice in the week. Many of her neighbours, filled with jealousy and envy, accused Genevieve of being an impostor and a hypocrite.
At 15, Genevieve formally consecrated herself as a virgin but continued to live as a laywoman. Because of her generous giving to the poor, she became widely known in the vicinity around Paris. At first, however, Genevieve met great hostility. But St Germanus defused it by authorising her with public signs of his support.
Once when the Franks were besieging Paris, Genevieve rescued the city from starvation by leading a convoy of ships up the Seine to Troyes to obtain food. In this selection from her biography, we learn that she had to work a miracle to bring it home safely:
During the return voyage, however, the ships were so buffeted by the wind . . . that the high holds fore and aft in which they had stored the grain tipped over on their sides. And the ships filled with water. Quickly Genovefa, her hands stretched toward heaven, begged Christ for assistance. Immediately the ships were righted. Thu,s through her, our God . . . saved eleven grain-laden ships. . . .
When she returned to Paris, her sole concern was to distribute the grain to all according to their needs . She made it her first priority to provide a whole loaf to those whose strength had been sapped by hunger. Thus, when her servant girls went to the ovens they would often find only part of the bread they had baked. . . . But it was soon clear who had taken the bread from the ovens for they noticed the needy carrying loaves throughout the city and heard them magnifying and blessing the name of Genevieve. For she put her hopes not in what is seen but in what is not seen. For she knew the Prophet spoke truly who said: “Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to God” (Proverbs 19:17). For through a revelation of the Holy Spirit she had once been shown that land, where those who lend their treasure to the poor expect to find it again. And for this reason, she was accustomed to weep and pray incessantly, for she knew that as long as she was in the flesh she was exiled from the Lord.
From that time Genevieve enjoyed a heroine’s status and used her influence and wonders on the city’s behalf. For example, she persuaded Childeric, who had conquered Paris, to release many captives. And in 451, when Attila the Hun was advancing on the city, she got the populace to pray and fast for their safety. The invader changed his course and Paris was spared. She also became a trusted adviser to Clovis, the king of the Franks.
St Genevieve had a particular devotion to St Denis (died 3rd century) and wished to erect a chapel in his honour to house his relics. Around the year 475 Genevieve purchased some land at the site of the saint’s burial where a shrine was built. This small chapel became a famous place of pilgrimage during the fifth and sixth centuries.
When Genevieve died around 500, she was buried in the church of Sts Peter and Paul at Paris. So many miracles occurred through her intercession there that it became a pilgrimage spot and came to be called St Genevieve.
The King, Clovis, founded an abbey for St Genevieve, where she was later re-interred. Under the care of the Benedictines, who established a monastery there, the church witnessed numerous miracles wrought at her tomb. In the year 1129, the city was saved from an epidemic, the relics of St Genevieve were carried in a public procession.
About 1619 Louis XIII named Cardinal François de La Rochefoucauld abbot of Saint Genevieve’s. The canons had been lax and the cardinal selected Charles Faure to reform them. This holy man was born in 1594 and entered the canons regular at Senlis. He was remarkable for his piety and, when ordained, succeeded after a hard struggle in reforming the abbey. Many of the houses of the canons regular adopted his reform. In 1634, he and a dozen companions took charge of Saint-Geneviève-du-Mont of Paris. This became the mother-house of a new congregation, the Canons Regular of St Genevieve, which spread widely over France.
St Pope Antherus
Bl Arnold Wala
St Athanasius of Cilicia
St Bertilia of Mareuil
St Bertille of Thuringia
St Blitmund of Bobbio
St Constant of Gap
St Cyrinus of Cyzicus
St Daniel Himmerod the Younger
Bl Daniel of Padua
St Fintan of Doon
St Florentius of Vienne
St Florentius of Vienne the Martyr St Genevieve (c 419-c 502)
Bl Gerard Cagnoli
St Gordius of Cappadocia
St Kuriakose Elias Chavara
St Lucian of Lentini
St Peter of Palestine
St Primus of Cyzicus
St Salvator of Belluno
St Theogenes of Cyzicus
St Theopemptus of Nicomedia
Bl Bl William Vives
St Zosimus of Cilicia
Martyrs of Africa – 12 saints: A group of Christians martyred together in Africa, date unknown, exact location unknown. We know nothing more than their names – Acuta, Candidus, Constantius, Eugenia, Firmus, Hilarinus, Lucida, Martial, Poenica, Possessor, Rogatianus and Statutianus.
Martyrs of Tomi – 7 saints: A group of Christians martyred together, date unknown. We know nothing more than their names – Claudon, Diogenius, Eugene, Eugentus, Pinna, Rhodes and Rhodo. They were martyred at Tomi, Exinius Pontus, Moesia (modern Constanta, Romania).