As we set out on this New Year and brace ourselves for the New England winter without the benefit of Christmas lights and decorations, our thoughts naturally turn to … ?
Maybe you’re tempted to say an unworthy word as you contemplate short days and snow removal? There is a way to channel that impulse—call upon the Lord! Call upon his Holy Name. But say it with Faith and hope, and as a prayer. The Lord is near to you and invites you to call upon Him for the grace and strength you need. Invite Him. Give Him permission. Call His name.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
~ John 16:23b-28.
It’s as simple as that: pray “Jesus”. Make his name your prayer, often and regularly. When you hear or say His Name, bow your head to honor it. Saint Clement of Alexandria explains how to prayer at all times and make your life the continuation of the Sacred Liturgy we celebrate together on Sunday: Prayer is, then, to speak more boldly, intimate converse with God. Even if we whisper softly and, not opening the lips, speak in silence, yet we cry inwardly. For God constantly hears our interior voice… Indeed, the genuinely spiritual person prays throughout his whole life, endeavoring by prayer to have fellowship with God. And he leaves behind him all that is of no service, as having now received the perfection of one who acts by love… His whole life is a sacred liturgy.
The Holy Name is symbolized in the abbreviation IHS – the three letters which begin the name Jesus, spelt “ΙΗΣΥΣ” in Greek capitals (also written JHS, IHC, or ΙΗΣ). Shown in the accompanying illustration from the Church of the Gesu in Rome.
Give us, O Lord, as much a lasting fear as a lasting love of Your Holy Name, for You, who live and are King for ever and ever, never fail to govern those whom You have solidly established in Your love.