Saturday, January 2, 2010

Month of January: The Holy Name of Jesus

The Month of January is held in honor of the Holy Name of Jesus. Already yesterday, during the Gospel, we heard that, after he was circumcised, Jesus was given his name. In the old calendar, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was then celebrated on the Sunday between Jan. 1 and the Feast of the Epiphany (or on Jan. 2, if there was no intervening Sunday).

Under the rubrics of the new calendar, the Feast of the Holy Name was initially suppressed, and then restored as an optional memorial on Jan. 3 (Jan. 2 now celebrating Sts. Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, who are commemorated on Jan. 1 in the East). In the intervening time, however, much devotion to the Holy Name has certainly dried up.

Today would be an excellent time to remember to bow our heads when speaking his name (e.g., at the two points when we say his name in the Gloria). Further, we should recall that Our Salvation does have a name: that he is a person who was given by God the Father to us. Having just concluded Christmas, we have been reminded that God has been born for us as a little Child, and indeed now loves us with a human Heart. It reminds us to love him in return, and we know the name to call him.

Of the six approved Litanies, one is the Litany of the Holy Name. It would be good if we were to pray this name throughout this month. This prayer, carrying a partial indulgence, might be the best way to commemorate the Holy Name month, reminding us never to take it in vain. I hope that we can renew devotion to the Holy Name this year.

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