From the HouseTops, Catholic Magazine

Saint Benedict Magazine





Dear Friends,

Shakespeare once said, “What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” As popular as this saying is, this is not the way God sees things. Names can be very significant or at least they are meant to be. For they signify the quality or essence of the thing named.

Names of persons are especially important in the eyes of God. He changed the name of Abram to Abraham to signify that he was to be the Father of a great nation. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, signifying one who has prevailed with God. Throughout the Old Testament, God intervened to show the importance of a name. 

Jesus, like His heavenly Father, changed names at the very beginning of His public life: Thou art Simon the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter. (John 1:42) And Peter means Rock to signify that he is to be the rock upon which Christ will build His Church.

The most important of all names of course is the Holy Name of Jesus. Saint Peter tells us: Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under Heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Jesus means Saviour. This name, which according to Saint Paul is the “name above all names,” originated in Heaven and was first announced on earth by an angel sent by God to calm the fears of Saint Joseph. In his justice and great humility, Saint Joseph did not want the world to think that he was the father of Him who had come to save the world. He believed himself unworthy to be associated with so great a mystery as the incarnation.

However, the angel related that it was the will of God to take the roll reserved for fathers and give the Child His name. The angel confirmed that Mary conceived of the Holy Ghost but thou (Joseph) shall call his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:21)

In the Gospels there is no record of Joseph speaking but we know he spoke the Holy Name of Jesus when he gave it to Our Lord. We can imagine how reverently he used it when calling or speaking to Jesus. And we can imagine how lovingly Jesus used the name of Father when speaking to Joseph.

Through the centuries, great wonders have been worked through the Holy Name. In the name of Jesus miracles have been worked, devils have been cast out, great sinners converted, cities and even countries saved from plague and destruction. Besides Its power against evil, the saints found sweetness and consolation in reverently pronouncing It.

We, too, will find strength, protection, and peace when calling upon the Name of Jesus—always, of course, with respect and love.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Br. Thomas Augustine, M,I.C.M