Making Disciples, our 4 day seminar on evangelization, begins today here in Colorado Springs so blogging will be scarce until Friday. We have participants coming from the Detroit area, Atlanta area (a parish associate and all her leaders) , Corpus Christi, Canton, Ohio (a pastor and his leaders, 15 in total!) Tennessee, Colorado Springs, and Singapore. I spent most of yesterday cleaning and cooking (i'll be having guests) while praying, praising, and pondering.
One of the things I was pondering was our Catholic tendency not to "name the name". We use all kinds of euphemisms for Jesus ("Our Lord" is a classic. Reverent certainly, but also subtly distancing and for non-Christians, a but confusing. Just who do we mean?) but we seldom name his name unless the liturgy or the office requires that we do so. We talk incessantly about the Church. But not about the Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Head of the Church. Not Jesus. Not by name. Not spontaneously without the liturgy to give us "cover". To do so, seems so naked, so unsophisticated, so pietistic, so what - Protestant??
I am not the only one who has noticed this aspect of American Catholic culture. A Catholic scholar friend of mine has mischievously coined a memorable phrase to describe it: Jesus is "He who must not be named".
It is light of this, that I was delighted to read the homily of the new Archbishop of Omaha over at Whispers. We have done quite of bit of work with the folks in Omaha lately and will be doing more in future. I would guess that Archbishop Lucas' words delighted them.
"You and I will never be able to put ourselves on the line in our time and place – to profess our faith in Jesus – to be witnesses as well as disciples – unless we are sure that He is alive – risen from the dead. We will never be convinced of that truth unless we have a personal encounter with Him, as Peter did. The Holy Spirit makes that personal encounter with the Lord possible right where we live, in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. In our Catholic faith, we not only remember Jesus, we meet him. We are formed into His living Body by the Holy Spirit. If we are really witnesses to Christ, then we look for opportunities to bring others to Him. We will never convince anyone to put faith in the risen Jesus unless we can offer them a personal experience of Him. That becomes possible when we put ourselves on the line for Him – when it is clear to our neighbors that we will not turn away from Jesus, the living truth, no matter what.
None of us would be here today if we were not convinced that Jesus is calling us to be his witnesses. And we see that none of us have to do it alone. We are given to each other that we might strengthen each other in the midst of a culture that is often inhospitable to faith and witness. The devil tempts us to become discouraged, but we lift each other up with the hope given to the baptized.
Sherry's note: I simply love the first sentence below! (The emphasis is mine.)
Since Jesus is alive, no good thing is impossible for us. Will we who know that Jesus is risen allow ourselves to think that chaste marriages are impossible? It is not impossible to witness to the risen Christ in this way. Knowing that Jesus lives, can we give up on feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless? Will we ever let ourselves think that it is impossible to foster a culture of life, to revere our brothers and sisters in the womb, the sick, the dying? Has it become impossible to teach the beauties of our Catholic faith to our children, including poor children?
Is it impossible to think that gifted young people would put aside their own plans to follow Jesus in the priesthood and the consecrated life? Is it impossible to accept forgiveness, even for grievous sins, as Peter did, from the crucified and risen Christ?
It is difficult now to be witnesses to the risen Christ – as it has been in every age. We are weak and we fall short. However, let us not think for a moment that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead has somehow become a smaller event over the years. Let us not think that the Holy Spirit has gotten tired over so many generations and so many miles, that we might not have a full portion of the Spirit in Northeast Nebraska in 2009."
Amen and Amen.
Gotta finish getting ready. Lets go wild this week. Let's make a point of Name-dropping as we go through the days. Name the Name. Praise the Name. Glory in the Name. Pray in the Name.
Here's a wonderful article on speaking and honoring the Holy Name of Jesus from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia:
"At the Holy Name of Jesus we uncover our heads, and we bend our knees; it is at the head of all our undertakings, as the Emperor Justinian says in his law-book: "In the Name of Our Lord Jesus we begin all our consultations". The Name of Jesus invoked with confidence brings help in bodily needs, according to the promise of Christ: "In my name They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover". (Mark 16:17-18) In the Name of Jesus the Apostles gave strength to the lame (Acts 3:6; 9:34) and life to the dead (Acts 9:40).
It gives consolation in spiritual trials. The Name of Jesus reminds the sinner of the prodigal son's father and of the Good Samaritan; it recalls to the just the suffering and death of the innocent Lamb of God.
It protects us against Satan and his wiles, for the Devil fears the Name of Jesus, who has conquered him on the Cross.
In the Name of Jesus we obtain every blessing and grace for time and eternity, for Christ has said: "If you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it you." (John 16:23) Therefore the Church concludes all her prayers by the words: "Through Our Lord Jesus Christ", etc.
So the word of St. Paul is fulfilled: "That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Philippians 2:10).
A special lover of the Holy Name was St. Bernard, who speaks of it in most glowing terms in many of his sermons. But the greatest promoters of this devotion were St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John Capistran. They carried with them on their missions in the turbulent cities of Italy a copy of the monogram of the Holy Name, surrounded by rays, painted on a wooden tablet, wherewith they blessed the sick and wrought great miracles. At the close of their sermons they exhibited this emblem to the faithful and asked them to prostrate themselves, to adore the Redeemer of mankind. They recommended their hearers to have the monogram of Jesus placed over the gates of their cities and above the doors of their dwelling (cf. Seeberger, "Key to the Spiritual Treasures", 1897, 102).
Because the manner in which St. Bernardine preached this devotion was new, he was accused by his enemies, and brought before the tribunal of Pope Martin V. But St. John Capistran defended his master so successfully that the pope not only permitted the worship of the Holy Name, but also assisted at a procession in which the holy monogram was carried. The tablet used by St. Bernardine is venerated at Santa Maria in Ara Coeli at Rome.
The emblem or monogram representing the Holy Name of Jesus consists of the three letters: IHS. In the Middle Ages the Name of Jesus was written: IHESUS; the monogram contains the first and last letter of the Holy Name. It is first found on a gold coin of the eight century: DN IHS CHS REX REGNANTIUM (The Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings). Some erroneously say that the three letters are the initials of: "Jesus Hominum Salvator" (Jesus Saviour of Men). The Jesuits made this monogram the emblem of their Society, adding a cross over the H and three nails under it. Consequently a new explanation of the emblem was invented, pretending that the nails originally were a "V", and that the monogram stands for "In Hoc Signo Vinces" (In This Sign you shall Conquer), the words which, according to a legendary account, Constantine saw in the heavens under the Sign of the Cross before the battle at the Milvian bridge (312).
Urban IV and John XXII are said to have granted an indulgence of thirty days to those who would add the name of Jesus to the Hail Mary or would bend their knees, or at least bow their heads when hearing the Name of Jesus (Alanus, "Psal. Christi et Mariae", i, 13, and iv, 25, 33; Michael ab Insulis, "Quodlibet", v; Colvenerius, "De festo SS. Nominis", x). This statement may be true; yet it was only by the efforts of St. Bernardine that the custom of adding the Name of Jesus to the Ave Maria was spread in Italy, and from there to the Universal Church. But up to the sixteenth century it was still unknown in Belgium (Colven., op. Cit., x), whilst in Bavaria and Austria the faithful still affix to the Ave Maria the words: "Jesus Christus" (ventris tui, Jesus Christus).
Sixtus V (2 July, 1587) granted an indulgence of fifty days to the ejaculation: "Praise be to Jesus Christ!" with the answer: "For evermore", or "Amen". In the South of Germany the peasants salute each other with this pious formula.
Sixtus V and Benedict XIII granted an indulgence of fifty days to all as often as they pronounce the Name of Jesus reverently, and a plenary indulgence in the hour of death. These two indulgences were confirmed by Clement XIII, 5 Sept., 1759. As often as we invoke the Name of Jesus and Mary ("Jesu!", "Maria!") we may gain an indulgence of 300 days, by decree of Pius X, 10 Oct., 1904. It is also necessary, to gain the papal indulgence in the hour of death, to pronounce at least in mind the Name of Jesus."
What a great idea to affix the monogram for Jesus' name above your door! Would it be great if you knew that you were at the door of a Catholic home because the Name was above the door?
Let the Name dropping begin!