The Most Terrifying Name of All
The world is full of eggshells. In Western culture, especially in Canada and the USA, political correctness has become the standard for speech. Political correctness, however, always favours those on the side of relativism and only seeks to come to the aid of those whose beliefs fall in line with the culture. As Catholics we have fallen into this trap ourselves. Many of us live in fear of what others may think of us if we defend our faith or speak against the cultural norms of our time. Some of us perhaps have become desensitised to these things. Perhaps even some of us have said, “if you can’t beat em’, join em.”. Wherever we stand, most of us know how cowardly we are when it comes to really being catholic in the modern world. I propose that one of the biggest reasons for the current state of affairs in the Church and the world is due to a general apathy of catholics towards blasphemy against the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and that if we aim to build the kingdom of God on earth, we must begin by defending that great Name.
The Church celebrated the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus this past Sunday in the Traditional calendar, and on Friday, January 3rd in the Novus Ordo calendar. The Church has from the beginning made it clear that the name of Jesus is to be reverenced and honoured. In the Traditional Latin Mass, every time the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone is asked to bow their heads. This name deserves the highest love and respect from us, but how easily have we become lax in defending it?
O diabolical tongue! What could have induced you to blaspheme your God who has created you and redeemed you with His blood?
-St. Bernadine of Sienna
The Holy Name of Jesus was given to Mary and Joseph by an angel. This was done because only God the Father through the angel could bestow this name upon His son. It could not be contrived by another human being. The very name of the Second person of the Blessed Trinity was given to Joseph and Mary, and at His circumcision, Joseph spoke this name over His adopted son and it would be the very name that saved him. What an incredible thing to meditate upon: God, in the Person of Jesus was so humble that He adopted his father before He was even born, and gave His name to this earthly father before Joseph officially named Him.
The name of Jesus is a precious name, but it is also a name of incredible power. The name of Jesus is like honey on our lips. It is sweet to call upon His name in prayer. To sit before Him and speak His name can draw us into His presence. This name is, however, the most terrifying name of all.
When the name of Jesus was spoken for the first time, the very depths of hell shook in fear. This name is the name by which demons tremble. The chains of sin are broken by this Name. The kings of the earth have bowed down before this name. Every knee will bow, whether they like it or not, at the terrifying name of Jesus. St. Paul tells us, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Jewish people reverence the name of God so much that they will not utter the name of “Yahweh”, derived from the four letters, “YHWH”. YHWH was not even the full name and they reverence this name and will not utter it out of fear and reverence for it. God, in His sublime humility has granted us to know the Name of God the Son, yet this name is mistreated more than any other name in Western Culture. The world fears to speak against the name of Muhammed or Allah, for fear that Muslims will become furious. Yet, more than any time in history, our Blessed Lord’s name is being mistreated and blasphemed and we just stand by and watch.
The Name of Jesus encapsulates the entirety of our Faith. In Christ alone, we were restored to life. Death and sin are destroyed because of Jesus. Without Jesus, we are nothing. As Catholics, His Name should never be uttered except out of love for Him. Using the name of Jesus in surprise or anger, without direct love to our Lord, is in fact blasphemy. Carelessly or intentionally misusing His name is also blasphemy. Although speaking His Name is sweet for those who love Him, it will be a terror for those who have blasphemed it. St. John Chrysostem tells us that, “Nihil ita exacerbat Deum, sicum quando nomen ejus blasphematur.” That is Latin for “Watch yo mouth!” Not really, it does mean, however, that no other sin angers our Blessed Lord more than the sin of blasphemy against His Holy Name. St. Thomas Aquinas, the great Angelic Doctor of the Church, tells us that blasphemy is the language of Hell. As the Angels and Saints for endless ages declare praise to God, inversely the damned in hell blaspheme. Aquinas tells us that, “as God speaks by the mouth of His Saints, so the devil speaks by the mouths of blasphemers”. St. Antonine tells us that he who blasphemes “already belongs to the number of the damned, because he practices their art.”
Many people make New Years resolutions. One of the big resolutions people make, like myself, is to lose weight. I just ate some candy. I fail. The truth is, however, that spiritual resolutions are of utmost importance, and so I would like to encourage us to perhaps cut some things out of our “diets” so to speak. It is time for us all, whether we regularly fall into this sin of blasphemy or have simply remained silent, to wake up and begin to love and defend the Holy Name and so here are a few tips to change this.
Go to confession and confess if you have either blasphemed or not defended the Holy Name when it has been uttered wrongly. Make the resolution to never do it again. Badabing Badaboom.
2. Speak the Name
Every day upon waking up, let His Name be the first thing on your lips. Direct your mind and heart to Him for that moment before your feet hit the floor. Throughout the day, do the same thing and call on the Name of Jesus. At bedtime, let His Name be the last thing upon your lips before you sleep. In times of temptations and struggles, call on His Name. I can assure you that it will make a difference in your life.
3. Defend the Name
Pray regularly and make sacrifices in reparation for the offences made against the Name of Jesus by ourselves or others. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the world, that He would convict hearts against the sin of blasphemy. If we utter it carelessly, immediately make reparation and beg for mercy. If we hear someone else use His name in vain, simply say, “hey, can you please not use that Name? That name is very sacred to me.” Don’t make a big deal out of it. Smile and be jovial. Don’t look offended. Simply, in love, ask the person to refrain from saying His name. Trust me, it will be a big witness. Do not be afraid to defend His Sacred Name, for He promises that those who do not defend Him will not be defended by Him at their time of judgement. That would be a way more awkward moment than having your buddy or even your boss a little convicted.
If we wish to see our spiritual lives flourish, our parishes to grow, vocations to boom, and the Church rise to glory, the first step is to ensure that the Name of Jesus is honoured wherever we are. Let us commit this year to defend the Most Holy Name of Jesus with our words and lives. Let this prayer of St. Alphonsus Ligouri be our prayer this year:
O my Jesus, thou art the Savior who hast given Thy blood and Thy life for me, I pray Thee to write Thy adorable name on my poor heart; so that having it always imprinted in my heart by love, I may also have it ever on my lips, by invoking it in all my necessities. If the devil tempts me, Thy name will give me strength to resist him; if I lose confidence, Thy name will animate me to hope; if I am in affliction, Thy name will comfort me, by reminding me of all Thou hast endured for me. If I find myself cold in Thy love, Thy name will inflame me by reminding me of the love Thou hast shown me. I have fallen into so many sins, because I did not call on Thee; from henceforth Thy name shall be my defense, my refuge, my hope, my only consolation, my only love. Thus do I hope to live, and so do I hope to die, having Thy name always on my lips. Amen
Posted on January 6, 2014, in Catholic, Christology, Church Corruption and Renewal, Confession, Eschatology, fear, Friendship, Love, Orthodoxy, Relationships, scandal and tagged Blasphemy, Blasphemy Against the Holy Name of Jesus, Jesus, The Most Holy Name of Jesus, The Name of Jesus. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.