What's in a name? On January 3rd, the Church has given her children the optional memorial to celebrate the the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This is a wonderful feast to celebrate, for the Lord Jesus' name is a powerful weapon against the devil and a great cry of praise to God. We know from Scripture that Jesus was given his name by the angel Gabriel, when he came to Joseph and Mary to announce the birth of Jesus.
By his very name Jesus would be “God is with us” and the “God who saves.” Scripture also tells us how powerful Jesus' name is too, for example; in John 16:23, Jesus says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” We also see in Mark 16:17-18 the power of Jesus' name to those who have faith in it “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” But wait there's more!
Holy Mother Church tells us: The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often in a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping empty phrases, but holds fast to the word and brings “forth fruit with patience.” This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus (CCC 2668). One good prayer to offer Jesus is to just say his name. “To pray to Jesus is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes, the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him” (CCC 2666). As Christians we should always pray Jesus' name with love and affection, offering it to Jesus and God the Father in reparation for all the disrespect and degrading ways his name is used in our culture today. So it is right, for us to celebrate the most holy name of Jesus, for it is also the only name by which man is saved. And thanks to the efforts of St. Bernard, St. Bernadine of Siena and St. John Capistran several popes have granted indulgences to the faithful who are devoted to the holy name.