Catholic Devotion for January
The Month of THE MOST HOLY NAME of JESUS
“Oh Most Sacred Name,
Name of peace,
Balsam of life,
which is the centre of all the sighs,
of the most fervent lovers of Jesus.
The Sign of those who truly love Jesus
is to bear Jesus imprinted in the heart
and to name often and with devotion,
the Most Holy Name of Jesus.”
St Leonard of Port Maurice (1676-1751)
Very early on, Christians came to understand, that the very Name of Jesus had great power, and the recitation of His Name, was itself, a prayer. This short prayer is a combination of that early Christian practice and the prayer offered by the publican in the parable of the pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14).
It is perhaps the most popular prayer among Eastern Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic.
The Word of God:
“Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14
And so we say the Jesus Prayer:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.”
The Second Council of Lyons in 1274 decreed that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious name is recalled, especially during the Sacred Mysteries of the Mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head.”
It may very well be that the custom of bowing the head at the name of Jesus has passed out of general use, as have other laudable customs, in recent times but, that does not prevent us personally, from continuing to live it and passing on to our children this ancient custom.
At the mention of the Most Holy Name, BOW YOUR HEAD and in private prayer, make an ACT of REPARATION, at the misuse of the MOST HOLY NAME of JESUS.