One of the more pleasant but not often reflected-upon human experiences is the act of calling to mind a loved one: a spouse, family member, or friend. The mere mention of their name can evoke strong affection and memories. This experience translates to our Christian devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, leading us to ask ourselves, “What should the name of Jesus evoke within me?”
Jesus. The name might recall a prayer, an image, or a glancing thought toward Holy Scripture. Maybe it quickens gratitude for His mercy and salvation. Whatever the name of Jesus stirs in us, its power is so much more. Jesus is not just any name. It is a Holy Name, the most Holy Name. Nothing about Jesus is without power. If a brief touch to the hem of Jesus’ tunic cures the uncurable woman, what kind of power could we experience with His Name on our hearts and lips?
St. Bernard, in his commentary on the Song of Songs, reflects on the third verse of the opening chapter, Your name is as oil poured out. The speaker of this verse is like the Christian who lovingly dwells on Christ. St. Bernard says the name of Christ is fittingly compared to oil in three ways:
First, as light. As oil feeds the flame of a lamp, so too does Jesus’ name enlighten souls. Jesus is the light who is the life of mankind, and the darkness cannot comprehend it. His Name illuminates the truth we are to know.
Second, as nourishment. As a good oil nourishes the body and provides it with vitality, so too does the name of Jesus nourish hearts. Weary hearts feed on inspiration, and Jesus is the heart’s ultimate inspiration.
Lastly, as medicine. St. Bernard says that in the way oil is sometimes used as medicine to ease pain, when we invoke Jesus’ name, His grace heals us and eases our anguish.
Allow Jesus to remain in your heart and His Holy Name to frequently pass your lips. In the words of St. Bernard himself, “Hidden in the name of Jesus, O my soul, as in a vessel, thou hast a sovereign remedy against every ill. Keep it in the bosom always, ready to thy hand; so that all thine affections and actions may be centered upon him.”
Br. Cassian Smyth, O.P. | Meet the Brothers in Formation HERE