One of the simplest ways of praying is also the most effective—devoutly saying the Holy Name of Jesus.
The power of the Holy Name of Jesus is incalculable. The Catechism teaches that “The name ‘Jesus’ signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son … ‘Jesus,’ ‘YHWH saves.’ … The name ‘Jesus’ contains all. The Name of Jesus is the only one that contains the presence it signifies” (CCC 432, 2666).
The apostles testify to the spiritual supremacy of the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Peter: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12). St. John: “Through Jesus’ Name your sins have been forgiven … You possess eternal life—you who believe in the Name of the Son of God” (1 John 2:12; 1 Jn 5:13). St. Paul: “But now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 6:11).
Think of the beneficial effect of hearing your own name spoken by someone you love. “The gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy” (CCC 2143). “To disclose one’s name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally” (CCC 203). Jesus does all this for us in the gift of his Holy Name! “The name of Jesus is the highest honor of the believer” (St. Bernardine of Siena).
To pray the Holy Name of Jesus, simply sit still and lovingly repeat “Jesus” in a low voice. Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa encourages us to engage in “the prolonged invocation of the name Jesus”:
The efficacy of this simple means is almost incredible, for the name Jesus is not just a name; it encloses the mystery and power of the Person of Christ. The invocation of the name Jesus helps, above all, to crush at the onset thoughts of pride, self-gratification, anger or impure thoughts and to develop, instead, good thoughts. A repetition of the name Jesus with faith in the Lord’s power will “break” the thread of the bad or useless thought and gradually instill into us “the mind which was in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).
Follow Fr. Cameron’s series on prayer here.
See some of the earlier pieces: