Sunday, January 2, 2011

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

"When the Holy Ghost maketh the Bride to say unto the Bridegroom: Thy Name is as ointment poured forth : he likeneth that Name to the oil of anointing; and his figure of speech is not an idle one. For, verily, oil giveth illumination, nourishment, and unction, in that it doth burn as fire, doth feed the flesh, and doth soothe pain. Thus, as oil is unto us as light, food, and healing, so also is the Name of the Bridegroom. For to preach the Name of Jesus, is to give light; to think on it, is to feed the soul; to call on it, is to win grace and unction. Let us consider this point by point. First, as to illumination, what (thinkest thou) hath made the light of the Faith so suddenly and so brightly to shine throughout the whole world but the preaching of the Name of Jesus? Is it not by the light of this Name that God hath called us into his own marvellous light? For in the light thereof we are enlightened; and in his light we do see the light, of which Paul speaketh, when he so truly saith of us: Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.

This is the Name which the Apostle was commanded to bear before Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel, the Name which he bore as a light to enlighten his people, crying everywhere: The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light; let us walk honestly as in the day. To all men he pointed out this Name as a candle set upon a candlestick, preaching in every place Jesus and him crucified. Yea, that Name shone forth and dazzled every eye that beheld it. Did it not come like lightning out of the mouth of Peter to give bodily strength to the feet of the lame man, and to clear the sight of many a blind soul? Cast he not fire when he said: In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk?

Secondly, the Name of Jesus is not a Name of light only, but is our meat also. Dost thou ever call it to mind, and remain unstrengthened? Is there anything like it to enrich the soul of him that thinketh on it? What is there like it to restore the fagged senses, to fortify strength, to give nurture unto good lives and pure affections? The soul is fed on husks if that whereon it feedeth lack seasoning with this Name, which is the very salt of the earth. If thou writest, thou hast no meaning for me except I read of Jesus there. If thou dost preach, or dispute, thou hast no meaning for me except I hear of Jesus there. The mention of Jesus is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, and gladness in the heart. So far we have been concerned with the Name of Jesus as our spiritual food: now thirdly, let us mention the same as the medicine of our healing. Is any sorrowful among us? Let the thought of Jesus come into his heart, and spring into his mouth. Behold, when the day of that Name beginneth to break, every cloud will flee away, and there will be a great calm. Doth any fall into sin? Doth any draw nigh to a hopeless death? And if he do but call on the life-giving Name of Jesus, will he not draw the breath of a new life again?"

-- From a Sermon by St Bernard the Abbot

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