Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus


Today, January 3, is the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus as restored to the Novus Ordo calendar by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

The Holy Name is a powerful prayer.  The Holy Name Jesus is a prayer in itself and contains the entire Gospel.  JESUS.

Different schools of prayer place much emphasis upon the formula known as the Jesus prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me a sinner."  It is a way of prayer for lay people and monks, known especially in the East.  It is an ancient practice.  Those who practice it unceasingly and exclusively are sometimes known as hesychasts, and they employ a technique of breathing to coincide with the recitation of the prayer.  Some remain suspicious of the 'controlled' practice, suggesting it is a form of quietism - a criticism some people also make regarding the practice known as Centering Prayer.  Many people find themselves attracted to such mystical techniques, but the Holy Spirit is not limited by nor subject to technique.  That said, there is nothing wrong with praying the Jesus prayer in the hope of praying unceasingly and as a means to union with God. (CCC 2616)

Nevertheless, the Holy Name alone, JESUS, is sufficient in itself.  The Holy Name contains all, encapsulates all, embraces all, consumes all:  To the extent that it is the very heart of the Hail Mary, and every prayer of the liturgy is offered in that same Holy Name - 'through Jesus Christ'.  


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