Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Holy Name of Jesus

Today is the celebration of one of the feasts most overlooked by the modern world: the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord. The very fact that it happens to fall on the morning after the night before makes it an easy one for many people to want to forget. But, it is so worth remembering!

Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, in observing this Jewish custom, teach us the importance of following the rules, so to speak. The Holy Family, in everything we know about them in the early life of Jesus, is all about following custom and appreciating the appropriateness of ceremony. Much of the richness and beauty of our Faith lies in our beautiful tradition and ceremony and the universe of meaning behind it.

The circumcision also serves as a foreshadowing of Our Lord's great sacrifice, as it is the first drawing of blood Our Saviour experienced.

And, it was on this day that Our Lord officially received His Name, that name at whose utterance all knees in Heaven and on earth should bend! How the world ignores Heaven's admonition about the use of the adorable name Jesus!

Is it important that we should revere His Holy Name? Well, the second Commandment of God is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

The one prayer that Jesus taught us begins with the words: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name...

Yes, it is important. I can't imagine how anyone could think it wasn't!

But, how should we revere His name? What is using His name in vain? Unfortunately, it's so common to hear His name used in vain, many don't even recognize it. That makes us very sad.

Years ago, when our oldest children were still toddlers, we dedicated our family to the Holy Name of Jesus, so this is a subject near and dear to our hearts. This is how we try to revere His name:

  1. The rule is: If you are speaking to or about God, it is not using His name in vain. But if you use His name in any form ("God, "Jesus," "Christ," "Lord," etc.) as an exclamation, it is in vain. If it is a habit, you must break it; saying something is a habit does not excuse it
  2. At the name of Jesus, we bow our heads. The youngest child can learn this easily, and they love to do it. It can be a bit of a game to try to catch His name every time.
  3. When we hear someone else speak the Lord's name in vain, we quietly (or silently, depending on the situation) say a prayer of reparation. Most of us say either, "Blessed be the Name of Jesus," or "Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on them."
  4. If a person close to us has the bad habit of using His name in vain, we try to very carefully speak to them about it. But, this can be a very touchy subject, so in most cases, we just pray for the person and try to be good examples. This bad habit in a friend, we teach our children, is an indication of character, and is a tipoff that this may be a person to be avoided if they do not change the habit.
  5. If we are watching a television program that habitually uses God's name in vain, we turn the channel. Our rule of thumb is three strikes and you're out (which is a compromise that actually doesn't really make us comfortable...) We check all movies on Screenit to find out how bad the offence is and don't go to see movies that don't come in at three or less, as well. This has severely limited the number of movies and television shows we watch, which can be a real pain, because we really are movie buffs. But we feel like Our Lord must appreciate it all the more because of the sacrifice we have to make.
  6. We say the Divine Praises in reparation for blasphemy every night at the end of our family rosary.

Would you like to take the challenge to make this small sacrifice for the honor and glory of His Holy Name, too? In this month of the Holy Name of Jesus, to begin the year of Our Lord 2008, we invite all our readers to join us in this particular apostolate. It's not really terribly hard, and it is so important. More important, I think, than we can guess.

Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus.

1 comment:

Eileen said...

Oh, Lisa, I love this post. Thank you for writing it. I tell my kids to silently pray, "Blessed be God, Blessed be His Holy Name" when they hear someone take His name in vain. When they hear someone on TV use God's name as an exclamation of surprise or happiness, my 8yo daughter will say, "I think she(or he) meant to say gosh." (I actually like the charity that expresses, too.)

I think inclusion of the Divine Praises at the end of prayers with the family is beautiful, too, especially as an act of reparation.

I'm going to print this post out, so I can give it due consideration. I'm glad I saw it!