This week, the last Sunday of January – the month dedicated to devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus- I continue with an excerpt from the marvelous little booklet on the ‘Wonders of the Holy Name of Jesus’ written by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.
“ST. ALEXANDER AND THE PAGAN PHILOSOPHERS
During the reign of the Emperor Constantine, the Christian Religion was constantly and rapidly making progress. In Constantinople itself the pagan philosophers felt much aggrieved at seeing many of their adepts deserting the old religion and joining the new. They pleaded with the Emperor himself, demanding that in justice they should get a hearing and be allowed to hold a public conference with the bishop of the Christians. St. Alexander, who at the time ruled the See of Constantinople, was a holy man, but not a keen logician.
He did not for that reason fear to meet the representative of the pagan philosophers, who was an astute dialectician and an eloquent orator. On the appointed day, before a vast assembly of learned men, the philosopher began a carefully prepared attack on the Christian teaching. The holy bishop listened for some time and then pronounced the Name of Jesus, which at once confounded the philosopher, who not only completely lost the thread of his discourse, but was utterly unable, even with the aid of his colleagues, to return to the attack.
St. Christiana, a young Christian girl, was a slave in Kurdistan, a region almost entirely pagan. It was the custom in that country when a child was gravely ill that the mother should take it in her arms to the houses of her friends and ask them if they knew of any remedy that might benefit or cure the little one. On one of these occasions, a mother brought her sick child to the house where Christiana lived.
On being asked if she knew of a remedy for that sickness, she looked at the child and said: "Jesus, Jesus."
In an instant the dying child smiled and leapt with joy. It was completely cured. This extraordinary fact soon became known and reached the ears of the Queen, who herself was an invalid. She gave orders that Christiana should be brought to her presence.
On arriving at the palace, Christiana was asked by the royal patient if she could with the same remedy cure her own disorder, which had baffled the skill of the physicians. Once more Christiana pronounced with great confidence: "Jesus, Jesus," and again this divine Name was glorified. The Queen instantly recovered her health.
A third wonder was yet to be worked. Some days after the cure of the Queen, the King found himself suddenly face to face with certain death. Escape seemed impossible. Mindful of the divine power of the Holy Name, which he had witnessed in the cure of his wife, his majesty called out, "Jesus, Jesus," whereupon he was snatched from the dreadful peril. Calling in his own turn for the little slave, he learned from her the truths of Christianity, which he and a great multitude of his people embraced.
Christiana became a Saint, and her feast is kept on December 15th.
St. Gregory of Tours relates that when he was a boy his father fell gravely ill and lay dying. Gregory prayed fervently for his recovery. When Gregory was asleep at night, his Angel Guardian appeared to him and told him to write the Name of Jesus on a card and place this under the sick man's pillow.
In the morning Gregory acquainted his mother with the Angel's message, which she advised him to obey. He did so, and placed the card under his father's head, when, to the delight of the whole family, the patient grew rapidly better.
We could fill pages and pages with miracles and wonders worked by the Holy Name at all times and in all places, not only by the Saints, but by all who invoke this Divine Name with reverence and faith.
Marchese says: "I refrain from relating here the miracles worked and graces granted by Our Lord to those who have been devoted to His Holy Name, because St. John Chrysostom reminds me that Jesus is always named when miracles are worked by holy men; hence, to attempt to enumerate them would be to try to give a list of the countless miracles which God has performed through all the ages, either to increase the glory of His Saints or to plant and strengthen the Faith in the hearts of men."
THE SAINTS AND THE HOLY NAME
All the Saints had an immense love for and trust in the Name of Jesus. They saw in this name, as in a clear vision, all the love of Our Lord, all His Power, all the beautiful things He said and did when on earth. They did all their wonderful works in the Name of Jesus. They worked miracles, cast out devils, cured the sick and gave comfort to everyone, using and recommending to all the habit of invoking the Holy Name. St. Peter and the Apostles converted the world with this all-powerful Name.
The Prince of the Apostles began his glorious career preaching the love of Jesus to the Jews in the streets, in the Temple, in their synagogues. His first striking miracle occurred on the first Pentecost Sunday when he was going into the Temple with St. John. A lame man, well known to the Jews, who frequented the Temple, stretched out his hand expecting to receive an alms. St. Peter said to him: "Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk." (Acts 3:6). And instantly the lame man bounded to his feet and leaped for joy. The Jews were astonished, but the great Apostle said to them: Why your wonder and surprise, as if we made this man sound by our own power? No, it is by the power of Jesus that this man walks.
Innumerable times since the days of the Apostles has the Name of Jesus been glorified. We will quote a few of these countless examples, which show us how the Saints derived all their strength and consolation from the Name of Jesus.
St. Paul was in a very special way the preacher and doctor of the Holy Name. At first he was a fierce persecutor of the Church, moved by a false zeal and hatred for Christ. Our Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus and converted him, making him the great Apostle of the Gentiles and giving him his glorious mission, which was to preach and make known His Holy Name to princes and kings, to Jews and Gentiles, to all nations and peoples.
St. Paul, filled with a burning love for Our Lord, began his great mission – uprooting paganism, casting down the false idols, confounding the philosophers of Greece and Rome, fearing no enemies and conquering all difficulties – all in the Name of Jesus.
St. Thomas Aquinas says of him: "St. Paul bore the Name of Jesus on his forehead because he gloried in proclaiming it to all men; he bore it on his lips because he loved to invoke it; on his hands, for he loved to write it in his epistles; in his heart, for his heart burned with love of it. He tells us himself: "I live, yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me."
St. Paul tells us in his own beautiful way two great truths about the Name of Jesus. First of all, he tells us of the infinite power of this Name. "In the Name of Jesus every knee shall bend in Heaven, on Earth and in Hell." Every time we say, "Jesus," we give infinite joy to God, to all Heaven, to God's Blessed Mother and to the Angels and Saints.
Secondly, he tells us how to use it. "Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ." He adds: Whether you eat or whether you drink, or whatever else you do, do all in the Name of Jesus. This advice all the Saints followed, so that their every act was done for love of Jesus, and therefore their every act and thought won them graces and merits. It was by this Name that they became Saints. If we follow this same advice of the Apostle, we too shall reach a very high degree of sanctity.
How are we to do everything in the Name of Jesus? By acquiring the habit, as we have said, of repeating the Name of Jesus frequently in the course of the day. This presents no difficulty – it only demands good will.”
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, and St. Columbkill, may our good Lord Jesus bless us with a fervent love for His Holy Name!
In Christ through Mary, Fr. Kasel
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