O Holy Name

I'm guessing the Feast of the Circumcision used to suffice for this, being the event when Joseph's baby, as a good and faithful Jew, would have received the name Jesus.

How it got its very own day in the calendar seems unclear to me, especially being two days after the day when the circumcision would have taken place. Maybe its a mini-foreshadowing? Just as Jesus would shed his blood and three days later enter into Glory, so as an infant he shed blood and three days later comes into His own...?

One day I will research the topic. For now a quick perusal of the Internet yields Catholic Culture's always-helpful bit. Saint Bernard is mentioned there as well as in New Advent. FishEaters, though a tad RadTrad for my tastes, also reinforces the connection to the circumcision and supplies a healthy dose of Clairvaux poetry. Once again, Fr. Saunders comes to the rescue with a concise synopsis.

Apparently it didn't always take place on the 3rd- we have JPII to thank for that. It remains true that the shedding of blood would prefigure the Cross even if my supposition about the triduum proves erroneous. I think one way to begin restoring unity among Christians would be to pin down some agreement over calendrical dates like this one. At least it can be agreed that January is the month of the Holy Name.

Say it proud and say it loud!

...with due reverence.

I'm going to try to increase my devotion to the Holy Name this month. Learning about the Sacred Heart last year with the Visitation Nuns did wonders for my prayer life. How will the Lord work in this devotion?

One easy way to increase/express your devotion is to intentionally emphasize the Holy Name when praying the Hail Mary. Pray the phrase, "fruit of your womb, Jesus" in such a way that that becomes the focal point of the prayer when you say it aloud.

So often, we breeze right through the prayer and the Holy Name gets missed in an intake of breath at that point. When you intentionally pray so that the sentence concludes there, you exhale and then there is a pause after the utterance of the Name. It's simple and slight, but praying the Rosary with a friend in college who did that truly brought home for me the Christocentricity of Marian devotion.

Another obvious way to increase your devotion to the Holy Name would be to curb or entirely eliminate any violation of the Second Commandment even- and especially- in casual speech. Protestants are excellent models in this area. It's amusing sometimes to hear the many exclamations that are used as alternatives, such as "golly gee willikers"-- but Catholics shouldn't laugh. If salvation were wholly dependent on obedience to the Decalogue, we'd be chuckling all the way to the abyss.

It's super hard to break this habit, so don't get overly zealous about it. But note how many times you exclaim 'Ohmigawd' in a day. If you are prone to shouting 'aw, jeez' at the drop of a hat, note that too. Note how often your parents say it. In general, use the month of January to swear less. And if you find that you are particularly prone to taking the name of the Lord in vain, make a point of breaking this habit over the course of Lent.

Once again, I love being Catholic. The liturgical year is full of little ways to be joyful.

And in case you were wondering, the IHS is a shorthand moniker for Iesus. The Jesuits employ this symbol frequently. Let's pray that they re-focus their work in service to the Vicar of Christ in this week's General Assembly.

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