January 4, 2004
Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Double of the Second Class
vol 15, no. 4

Blessed be His Holy Name

The Latin praise, Benedictum nomen Jesu and the monogram emblem Iesus Hominum Salvator - abbreviated 'IHS' - have been so lost in today's modernistic haunts. The saddest thing is that you hear the Name of Jesus more often in the secular sector accompanied by profanity. Woe to them as God so says in Exodus. It is time to resurrect total reverence to the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

    "The emblem or monogram representing the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters IHS, standing for 'Iesus Hominum Salvator,' which means 'Jesus, Savior of Man'. What a wonderful way to inspire devotion to the Holy Name in our families! We could teach the children to bow their heads and invoke the Holy Name each time they pass under the emblem. And to those visitors who might ask what the emblem represents we might say: 'That emblem represents the Holy Name of Jesus. As the Israelites trusted in the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts, so we trust that our reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus will bring us Divine Protection from the chastisements to come.'"

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Double of the Second Class Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, he elaborates on the beauty and treasure of this wonderful, holy Name that is above all others. Sacred Scripture and Holy Mother Church express this so beautifully, and yet today His Holy Name is profaned so, most of who do so fail to realize Christ's Own words in Matthew 12: 26 that each man shall be held accountable for what he says. If only these exclamations were a prayer instead of a profanity. Father points out that one way to reverse the trend is for True Catholics to bring back the reverence and to place the monogram emblem IHS above the doors of our homes in much the same manner as the Jews placed the blood of the lamb over their doors at Passover. And why not? It is the blood of the Lamb shed for us that is our salvation. How do we repay Him? By defiling His Holy Name? Not a good idea. A better idea is to recall the great Hymns that sustained the Church for so many centuries and to bow our heads and bend our knee in total reverence to our King. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

    "Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father" (Phil.2:9-11).

    "For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

    These words from Sacred Scripture, words anointed by the Holy Spirit, teach us that we must have a loving reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus, and a holy fear of offending Him. "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain," says the Commandment. Why should God's Commandment be difficult to observe? There is no one like Jesus Christ, the One Who has laid down His life to save us, the Good Shepherd Who guides His sheep to everlasting life, the sinless and all perfect Son of God Who now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (cf. Rom.8:34). If we profess to know Him, if we say we love Him, how could we possibly think of pronouncing His Sacred Name without reverently bowing our heads?

    "In the Name of Jesus we obtain every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: 'If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you' (Jn.16: 23). Therefore the Church concludes all her prayers by the words: 'Through Our Lord Jesus Christ,…'" (Holy Name of Jesus, The Catholic Encyclopedia). The Father is not pleased to have the Holy Name of His beloved Son abused.

    After speaking of various sins against the Second Commandment, the Catechism of the Council of Trent declares:

    "Still more enormous is the guilt of those who, with impure and defiled lips, dare to curse or blaspheme the holy name of God-that name which is to be blessed and praised above measure by all creatures, or even the names of the Saints who reign with Him in glory. So atrocious and horrible is this crime that the Sacred Scriptures, sometimes when speaking of blasphemy use the word blessing" (Tan Books, 1982, p. 394).

    The same Catechism seems to speak directly to our time:

    "…[T]here are not wanting those who are so blinded by the darkness of error as not to dread to blaspheme His name, whom the Angels glorify. Men are not deterred by the Commandment laid down from shamelessly and daringly outraging His divine Majesty every day, or rather every hour and moment of the day. Who is ignorant that every assertion is accompanied with an oath and teems with curses and imprecations? To such lengths has this impiety been carried, that there is scarcely anyone who buys, or sells, or transacts business of any sort, without having recourse to swearing, and who, even in matters the most unimportant and trivial, does not profane the most holy name of God thousands of times" (p. 382).

    The full text of the Second Commandment as we find it stated in the Book of Exodus is: "You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished him who takes His name in vain" (Ex.20:7).

    About this we read in the same Catechism:

    "The threat is general; it declares that whoever is guilty of this crime shall not escape unpunished. The various chastisements, therefore, with which we are every day visited, should warn us against this sin. It is easy to conjecture that men are afflicted with heavy calamities because they violate this Commandment… Deterred, therefore, by a holy dread, the faithful should use every exertion to avoid this sin. If for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account on the day of judgment (Mt.12:26), what shall we say of those heinous crimes which involve great contempt of the divine name?" (p. 395). We must resolve, as the year 2004 begins, never again to take the Name of God or the Holy Name of Jesus in vain.

    The greatest promoters of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus were St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistran. We read in the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    "They carried with them on their missions in the turbulent cities of Italy a copy of the monogram of the Holy Name, surrounded by rays, painted on a wooden tablet, wherewith they blessed the sick and wrought great miracles. At the close of their sermons they exhibited this emblem to the faithful and asked them to prostrate themselves, to adore the Redeemer of mankind. They recommended their hearers to have the monogram of Jesus placed over the gates of their cities and above the doors of their dwelling (cf. Seeberger, Key to the Spiritual Treasures, 1897, 102)".

    What a wonderful idea! The emblem or monogram representing the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters IHS, standing for "Iesus Hominum Salvator," which means Jesus, Savior of Man. What a wonderful way to inspire devotion to the Holy Name in our families! We could teach the children to bow their heads and invoke the Holy Name each time they pass under the emblem. And to those visitors who might ask what the emblem represents we might say: "That emblem represents the Holy Name of Jesus. As the Israelites trusted in the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorposts, so we trust that our reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus will bring us Divine Protection from the chastisements to come."

    It is love more than fear that should motivate us to revere the Holy Name of Jesus. An old hymn expresses a touching reverence for the One Who bears that Name above all names:

    Loving Shepherd of Thy sheep,
    Keep me, Lord, in safety keep;
    Nothing can Thy pow'r withstand,
    None can pluck me from Thy Hand.

      Loving Shepherd ever near,
      Teach me still Thy voice to hear;
      Suffer not my step to stray
      From the straight and narrow way.

        Where Thou leadest may I go,
        Walking in Thy steps below;
        Then before Thy Father's throne,
        Jesus, claim me for Thine own.

    (J. E. Leeson, Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep, The St. Gregory Hymnal).

    Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus, now and forever!

Father Louis J. Campbell

For the Proper of Today's Holy Mass - Missa "In nomine Jesu", see Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus


January 4, 2004
vol 15, no. 4
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons

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