January 2, 2004
Feast of The Most Holy Name of Jesus
vol. 16, no. 2

"Blessed be the Name of the Lord"
Psalm 112: 2

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 to Whom every knee should and must bend.

    "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. But the cursing, sacrilegious, and scandalous use of our Lord's Holy Name only evicts anger in God and a long history of punishments by those who dare to profane His Name as Father points out in his sermon. He is the Lamb of God and the IHS symbolizes His name - Iesus Hominum Salvator for Jesus, Savior of Man is also represented as the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) Who shed His blood for us. Yet 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.]

    The Second Commandment requires us to have reverence for the Name of God: "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). We honor the Name of God because His Name is holy, as God Himself is holy. When Moses approached the burning bush at Mount Sinai, God spoke to him from the bush: "Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground" (Ex.3:5).

    The punishment for blasphemy under the Old Law was severe: "Anyone who curses his God shall bear the penalty of his sin; whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death. The whole community shall stone him; alien and native alike must be put to death for blaspheming the Lord's name" (Leviticus 24:15,16).

    In the Book of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) we find some sobering words concerning reverence for the Holy Name of God:

    "Let not your mouth form the habit of swearing, or becoming too familiar with the Holy Name. Just as a slave that is constantly under scrutiny will not be without welts, so one who swears continually by the Holy Name will not remain free from sin. A man who often swears heaps up obligations; the scourge will never be far from his house. If he swears in error, he incurs guilt; if he neglects his obligation, his sin is doubly great. If he swears without reason he cannot be found just, and all his house will suffer affliction. There are words which merit death; may they never be heard among Jacob's heirs. For all such words are foreign to the devout, who do not wallow in sin. Let not your mouth become used to coarse talk, for in it lies sinful matter. Keep your father and mother in mind when you sit among the mighty, lest in their presence you commit a blunder and disgrace your upbringing, by wishing you had never been born or cursing the day of your birth. A man who has the habit of abusive language will never mature in character as long as he lives" (Ecclesiasticus 23:9-15).

    On this day when we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, we give equal homage to the Son of God as we honor His Holy Name, the name that was announced by the Angel Gabriel before He was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus" (Lk.1:31).

    St. Paul, speaks of Jesus, obedient unto death: "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).

    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).

    Clearly, we must have profound reverence for the Holy Name of Jesus. To lack respect for the Name of the Son is to lack respect for all three Persons of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Those who lack reverence for the Three Divine Persons walk a dangerous path. It is a sign that they do not know Him of Whom they speak so carelessly. Let us bow our heads and bend our knees at the Holy Name of Jesus, Who sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

    "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).

    St. Bernard of Clairvaux encourages us with these words:

    "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 me; 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 is honey in our mouth, light in our 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."

"O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth" (Ps.8:1).

"Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever" (Ps. 112:2).

Father Louis J. Campbell


January 2, 2005
vol 16, no. 2
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons