March for Life: Comfort and confidence in the Holy Name of Jesus

I really wanted to write about the March for Life today, I feel like my heart’s right in D.C. with the marchers who are braving the cold and snow and ridicule and hatred and silent media all for the babies. And I thought — what better way than by writing about the Holy Name of Jesus? I found such comfort in the Holy Name during the height of the Planned Parenthood Videos expose, even writing about it in my August CatholicMom.com column: Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus. I also looked into devotion to the Holy Name a little more, and was delighted to discover that the saint my alma mater was named after, St. Bernardine of Siena, was THE promoter of the Holy Name! And then yesterday my mom and I were talking about Jesus’ different names and what they mean, specifically Christ, Emmanuel, Jesus, and Messiah. So I thought I’d do just a small bit of info about each:

Christ
From Behind the Name: “Means ‘anointed’, derived from Greek χριω (chrio) ‘to anoint’. This was a name applied to Jesus by early Greek-speaking Christians. It is a translation of the Hebrew word מָשִׁיחַ (mashiyach), commonly spelled in English messiah, which also means ‘anointed’.”

There are a lot of names connected to Christ that are familiar, like Christian, Christopher, Christine/a, and some that are unfamiliar, like (according to the DMNES): Christophera, Christred, Christwin, and Christwina! I think my favorite version is Christiana.

Emmanuel
From Behind the Name: “From the Hebrew name עִמָּנוּאֵל (‘Immanu’el) meaning ‘God is with us’. This was the foretold name of the Messiah in the Old Testament. It has been used in England since the 16th century in the spellings Emmanuel and Immanuel, though it has not been widespread. The name has been more common in continental Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal (in the spellings Manuel and Manoel).”

I know you’ll laugh, but ever since seeing Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age, I’ve though Manny was a pretty great nickname for a boy, and I love the meaning of Emmanuel. It would be great for a Christmas baby! I love the feminine variants Emmanuelle and Emmanuela as well — lots of good nickname options! Emma, Ella, Nell(a), and even Manny (my husband’s godmother’s name was one of the Emmanuel variants [I’m just not sure which] and she went by Manny).

Jesus
From Behind the Name: “English form of Ιησους (Iesous), which was the Greek form of the Aramaic name יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu’a). Yeshu’a is itself a contracted form of Yehoshu’a (see JOSHUA). Yeshua ben Yoseph, better known as Jesus Christ, was the central figure of the New Testament and the source of the Christian religion. The four Gospels state that he was the son of God and the Virgin Mary who fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. He preached for three years before being crucified in Jerusalem.”

“Yeshua ben Yoseph” always jumps out at me — it’s equal parts so cool and also so common. Does that make sense? I always think of Him as Jesus, which equals God in my mind; seeing Yeshua ben Yoseph makes Him seem so “normal.” Which of course he was, both, God and Man, fully. What an awesome mystery.

This is the Joshua bit: “From the Hebrew name יְהוֹשֻׁעַ (Yehoshu’a) meaning “YAHWEH is salvation”. Joshua was one of the twelve spies sent into Canaan by Moses, as told in the Old Testament. After Moses died Joshua succeeded him as leader of the Israelites. As an English name, Joshua has been in use since the Protestant Reformation. The name Jesus comes from a Greek translation of the Aramaic short form יֵשׁוּעַ (Yeshu’a), which was the real name of Jesus.”

Messiah
See Christ above. The entry at Nameberry references that Tennessee judge who ruled that parents couldn’t name their son Messiah “because there’s only one” — it was overturned, and in fact the name Messiah was #298 in 2014!

I was delighted to discover recently that the month of January also happens to be devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus! I’m sure it’s no coincidence — even if the organizers of the March for Life didn’t realize that in the beginning, we all know Heaven did.


So I have a small giveaway today! I have three copies of Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.’s book The Wonders of the Holy Name, and how I’d like to do it is offer them first to any of you readers that might be at the March for Life today. I know you’re probably not reading this if you are! So I won’t choose the recipients until Sunday evening, in hopes that gives enough time to get home, thaw out (!), and catch up on your blog reading. 🙂 Second, if none of our readers are marchers, I’d like to give them to any of you who personally know a marcher, who can pass it on to that person. Finally, if there are no marchers and no friends of marchers, I’ll pick randomly from those who comment on this post. It’s a powerful little book! And I love the dedication: “This booklet is lovingly dedicated to the Sweet Mother of Jesus. No one loves the name of Jesus as she does.”

Therefore God 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 …” (Philippians 2:9-10).

From the footnote in my bible (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Second Edition RSV): “heaven … earth … under the earth: The three principal realms in the worldview of ancient Israel (Ex 20:4). Homage will come from all creatures great and small — the angels and saints above, the family of man and beasts spread over the earth, and the dead and the demons of the underworld.”

(You might also be interested in reading my post from the summer: I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names, which doesn’t mention the Name of Jesus but totally should. It does reference Call Him Emmett and the 50 Million Names project.)

Good name posts and beautiful Name products

I loved both of these recent posts on the Baby Name Wizard site:

Are Presidential Candidates Running Away From Their Own Names? (It’s all about nicknames! I was most intrigued by Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, Cara Carleton “Carly” Fiorina, and Piyush “Bobby” Jindal — Laura explains how each nickname came to be. The comments were good too.)

15 British Baby Names That Just Don’t Exist in America (Fascinating list! “The top 1,000 names lists from England and Wales include scores of names that don’t register in American stats at all. Let me emphasize that: these names aren’t just rare, they’re statistically nonexistent. Given that the most recent U.S. stats tally more than 30,000 names from Aaban to Zyyon, that’s saying something“)

And in light of my posts on the Holy Name of Jesus (here and here) I was loving these products from the Catholic Company:

An IHS Coffee Mug, where IHS is “the Holy Name of Jesus as it was written in the Gospels, is the first three letters of the Greek Spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is translated “ihsous.”” (Personalizable!)

IHS Coffee Mug

A Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder, for all those holy cards we all have that “accumulate over time, often being stuffed in Bibles, missals, or prayer books which causes them be lost or forgotten.” (Personalizable!)

Personalized IHS Prayer Card Holder

These beautiful Jesus Beads, which I’d never heard of, but I loved this: “Jesus Beads originated in the tradition of the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Called a chotki, the strand may have as many as 100 beads or as few as 25. The chotki is traditionally used as a silent “breath prayer”, with “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God” prayed on inhalation and “have mercy on me, a sinner” prayed on exhalation. This is known as the Jesus Prayer, or the Prayer of the Heart, which invokes the Holy Name of Jesus and implores His divine mercy. (You can read about the “Jesus Prayer” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2665-2669)”:

Prayer to Jesus

2665 The prayer of the Church, nourished by the Word of God and the celebration of the liturgy, teaches us to pray to the Lord Jesus. Even though her prayer is addressed above all to the Father, it includes in all the liturgical traditions forms of prayer addressed to Christ. Certain psalms, given their use in the Prayer of the Church, and the New Testament place on our lips and engrave in our hearts prayer to Christ in the form of invocations: Son of God, Word of God, Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, King, Beloved Son, Son of the Virgin, Good Shepherd, our Life, our Light, our Hope, our Resurrection, Friend of mankind. . . .

2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.”16 The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.17

2667 This simple invocation of faith developed in the tradition of prayer under many forms in East and West. The most usual formulation, transmitted by the spiritual writers of the Sinai, Syria, and Mt. Athos, is the invocation, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners.” It combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light.18 By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior’s mercy.

2668 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 phrases,19 but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.”20 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.

2669 The prayer of the Church venerates and honors the Heart of Jesus just as it invokes his most holy name. It adores the incarnate Word and his Heart which, out of love for men, he allowed to be pierced by our sins. Christian prayer loves to follow the way of the cross in the Savior’s steps. The stations from the Praetorium to Golgotha and the tomb trace the way of Jesus, who by his holy Cross has redeemed the world.

Jesus Beads

Finally, Devotion to the Holy Face by Mary Frances Lester. I know it’s not specifically about the Holy Name, but I just discovered today that St. Therese’s full religious name was Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, so how coincidental to see this!

Devotion to the Holy Face

Happy Thursday night y’all! (Does anyone else wish it was okay for non-Southerners to use y’all? It’s so useful! I find it creeping into my thoughts though I usually edit it out of my speech … but not tonight! Also, aren’t Thursdays the best? My dad always says that Thursday’s the best day of the week because no one really minds going to work on Friday, since it’s the last day of the week and has a party feel of its own, so Thursday night especially feels kind of like the beginning of the weekend. I suppose that’s the idea behind Thursday nights being Going Out nights in college? So then maybe consider this your happy hour. 🙂 )

(Okay, one more story — my husband went out for a brief drink after work tonight with colleagues, and when he got home I meant to say, “How was happy hour?” but what came out was, “How was holy hour?” Bahaha! I’m still laughing!) 😀

My newest CatholicMom.com column

You all know I’m struggling with these Planned Parenthood videos so you shouldn’t be surprised that my August column at CatholicMom.com (up today) tackles the issue again (my previous post here on the blog, I would imagine Planned Parenthood fears names, was the most shared of all the posts I’ve ever written, by a landslide, so I know you’re all feeling it too): Planned Parenthood vs. the Holy Name of Jesus.

catholicmom-08.19.15

(I blogged about the Holy Name the other day too, especially in regards to Its major promoter, St. Bernardine of Siena.)

Of course I had no way of knowing when I wrote it that the seventh video would be released today, but I’m glad my article’s coinciding with the release of this new information of horror: babies alive after an attempted abortion, with still beating hearts, having body parts harvested, including “how the abortionist made [the “former procurement technician with Planned Parenthood partner StemExpress” who revealed this info] harvest the baby’s brain by cutting his face open with scissors.”

This is a bit from a historical novel I just read (Winter of the World by Ken Follett, about the Second World War, including the Nazis):

image

This particular bit is about how the Nazis rounded up disabled children — and adults too, though it doesn’t reference them in this particular passage — but most of the German citizens either didn’t know it or didn’t believe it.

Then there’s this, from the same book:

imageIt explains more about that very program:

The program was called Aktion T4 after its address, 4 Tiergarten Strasse. The agency was officially the Charitable Foundation for Cure and Institutionalized Care … Its job was to arrange the painless deaths of handicapped people who could not survive without costly care. It had done splendid work in the last couple of years, disposing of tens of thousands of useless people … The problem was that German public opinion was not yet sophisticated enough to understand the need for such deaths, so the program had to be kept quiet.”

Of course parallels have been drawn for a long time between the Holocaust and abortion, but still I was struck by the similarity between what I was reading and what Planned Parenthood (and all abortionists) is and has been doing. In fact, our government does sanction the killing of handicapped children. Healthy children too! The particular horrors have been kept quiet for some time, and there are those (one example here) that seem to think the same as what’s being said in this passage — that the graphic revelation of horror shouldn’t change hearts because we need to be “sophisticated” enough to understand the need for this “necessary” evil.

Just like the Nazis.

God help us all, in Jesus’ name.

THE promoter of the Holy Name

I was doing a little reading on the Holy Name of Jesus — teachings about It, devotion to It, etc. — and discovered that, though many saints loved and promoted the Holy Name (St. Ignatius of Loyola is a notable example, having chosen the monogram of Jesus’ name — IHS — for the symbol of his Order, which he named after Jesus as well [the Jesuits]), there was one saint who rose head and shoulders above them all as the one most known for his devotion to and promotion of the Holy Name: St. Bernardine of Siena.

This might not have meant that much to me, except a little known fact about my alma mater (especially little known by those who didn’t attend, but even also by some [many?] alumni) is that, though its current name is Siena College, its original name was St. Bernardine of Siena College. (I can’t tell you how many people think it’s named for St. Catherine of Siena, even though it’s a Franciscan college and St. Catherine was a Dominican.)

St. Bernardine of Siena College, Loudonville, N. Y.
St. Bernardine of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y. by Boston Public Library (2011) via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

How cool to discover that my school’s patron was a superfan of the Holy Name??

So this isn’t really a name spotlight, because Bernardine is kind of … out of fashion? Even among Catholics who go bananas for heavy duty saint names. This is really more of a Holy Name of Jesus post, a note on one of the many awesome things I discovered about it. Which St. Bernardine, being a saint and a lover of the Name, would probably prefer — having Jesus be the focus. Like how St. John Paul the Great would put the crucifix in front of him, so when people looked at him they had to see Jesus first.

Luxembourg-5151 - Pope John Paul II
Luxembourg-5151-Pope John Paul II by Dennis Jarvis (2013) via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Says the Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent:

“… the greatest promoters of this devotion were St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistran. 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, where with 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). Because the manner in which St. Bernardine preached this devotion was new, he was accused by his enemies, and brought before the tribunal of Pope Martin V. But St. John Capistran defended his master so successfully that the pope not only permitted the worship of the Holy Name, but also assisted at a procession in which the holy monogram was carried. The tablet used by St. Bernardine is venerated at Santa Maria in Ara Coeli at Rome.”

I love too that St. Bernardine’s partner in crime good was St. John Capistran — one of the friars that I particularly loved during my time at Siena was a Fr. Capistran.

St. Alphonsus wrote about St. Bernardine and the Name of Jesus:

If we read the life of St. Bernardine of Siena, we shall see how many sinners the Saint converted, how many abuses he put an end to, and how many cities he sanctified, by trying when he preached to induce the people to invoke the name of Jesus.”

So powerful! We could all use a little of that, right?? St. Bernardine, pray for us! Protect us from all evil, in Jesus’ Name.

IHS and St. Bernardine of Siena
IHS and St. Bernardine of Siena by John Donaghy (2013) via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.