"If we are unable to do anything else, we should press the Holy Name of Jesus upon our souls ..."
Even in those moments when we feel like it is impossible for us to pray, we’re still capable of praying Jesus’ Holy Name. Dominican mystic Bl. Henry Suso assures us: “If we are unable to do anything else, we should press the Holy Name of Jesus upon our souls and repeat this gracious name. We should think of it so often during the day that we will dream of it during the night.”
Praying the Holy Name of Jesus changes us. St. Bonaventure says:
The Holy Name of Jesus is powerful, because it brings down our enemies, restores our strength, and renews our mind. In it is contained the foundation of faith, the ground of hope, and the fulfillment of holiness. It is gladness to the heart and splendor to the mind. It nourishes when it is recalled, soothes when it is uttered, anoints when it is invoked, refreshes when it is written, and instructs when it is read. It gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, brings hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and life to the dead. [The Holy Name of Jesus saves] you from the vanities of the world which entice you, from the deceits of the devil which surround you, and from the weakness of the flesh which torments you.
“The Name Jesus possesses great and manifold power,” observes St. Thomas Aquinas, “for it is to those repenting, a refuge; to those who are sick, a remedy; to those fighting life’s battle, a shield of defense; to those praying, a help and consolation; because it obtains pardon for sin, strength of body and of mind; victory for those tempted; power and confidence in securing the salvation of souls. For just as oil soothes pain, so does the Name Jesus.
St. Bernard agrees: “My soul, you have a hidden remedy in a little vessel, named Jesus, which has proven itself to be powerful cure for every disease.” And St. Peter Chrysologus adds: “The power of this Name Jesus has put to flight the entire power of the devil from bodies possessed of diabolical power.” The Holy Name of Jesus blesses us with a way to hold fast to the Word of God and to bring forth fruit with patience (see CCC 2668).
“If you think the name Jesus continually, and hold it firmly,” promises the 14th-century mystic Richard Rolle, “it purges your sin, and kindles your heart; it clarifies your soul, it removes anger and does away slowness. It wounds in love and fulfills charity. It chases the devil, and puts out dread. It opens heaven, and makes a person a contemplative. It puts all vices and phantoms out from the one who loves.”
Follow Fr. Cameron’s series on prayer here.
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