January 3 is the Feast Day of the Holy Name of Jesus. It’s a shame that the name of Jesus is so commonly invoked in vain or in blasphemy, because it probably causes the devout to shy away from using Jesus’ name at all except in the context of a formal prayer.
But for Catholics, Jesus’ sacred name is the subject of a special devotion, and invoking the name of Jesus in an ejaculatory and reverential manner is so powerful that it has historically been associated with the granting of indulgences by various Popes such as Pope Sixtus V, Pope Benedict XIII, Pope Clement XIII, and Pope Pius X.
It was even common in some places in the Middle Ages to greet one another in the name of Jesus, and to spontaneously exclaim, “Praise be to Jesus Christ!” with the response, “For evermore”, or “Amen”.
Invoking the name of Jesus goes back even further to the Early Church in the form of the “Jesus Prayer”. This prayer very simply says, “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” which can be repeated on a prayer rope or Jesus Beads the same as the Hail Mary is on the Rosary. The Holy Name of Jesus Litany is also a beautiful prayer that gives honor to Jesus by virtue of his name.
The angel Gabriel appeared to St. Joseph while Mary was with Child and instructed him that the Child’s name should be called Jesus, which means “God Saves”. The Holy Name of Jesus is often depicted with the monogram “IHS” (sometimes called a Christogram) which is a shortening of the Greek spelling of the name of Jesus. Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus was widely popularized by St. Bernadine of Siena.
So, whenever you hear the name of Jesus said in vain or blasphemed, make up for the sacrilege by praising the name of Jesus either in your heart, or even better, out loud.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of JESUS every knee will bow,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Catholic Gifts Related to the Holy Name of Jesus: