Friday in the Octave of Easter

Lectionary: 265

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”




As I understand, the great Franciscan preacher, Saint Bernard of Siena, encouraged the devout to add the name of Jesus to the end of the Hail Mary. At that time, the prayer consisted of two passages from the Gospel of Saint Luke, plus the word Mary, which Saint Thomas Aquinas added. The second part of the prayer would appear in reaction to the catastrophes of the 14th century, especially the Black Death. 
Bernard cited the Acts of the Apostles, which by my count, invokes the holy name of Jesus 43 times.  
According to the Early Documents of our Order, Saint Francis of Assisi had a particular reverence for the Name, and used it often when he urged the people to prayer. He would smack his lips with the pleasure of "tasting" that name. 
Names have power. When "Mother" calls you by your first, middle and last name you stop in your tracks. You know you're in trouble. When you're lost in a crowd and you hear your name called, you know you've been found. When you meet a stranger who names a friend or relative of yours you have a connection to that person.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments the name of God binds a people together. We are those who know God's name. Christians are set apart by their knowledge of Jesus' name. 
We use the name reverently and intentionally. Although our post-Christian culture may abuse the name, or make it a mockery, we invoke the name of Jesus with joy in our hearts and delight on our lips. We praise, bless, heal and plead in His Name. 
The word Christian appears rarely in the Bible, only three times. It may have been a taunt, which accounts for it's scarcity; but Saint Peter encouraged his people to be ready to suffer for the name of Christ with gratitude. Saint Luke tells us that Peter and John were, in a later exchange, flogged for preaching in that name and left the temple grateful that they had suffered as Jesus suffered, for the sake of the name
I don't pretend to know how the Lord will call us from our graves on the Last Day, but I think it will be by the power of that name. Lazarus heard his name called as he lay mouldering and reeking in a tomb, and came out. He knew that Voice and he responded. Perhaps when our dust has been redistributed around the Earth, or perhaps throughout the Universe, the Lord will utter our names one-by-one; and we will answer "Jesus!" to come bounding back to life, reunited, revived and resurrected to praise God's Holy Name for all eternity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.