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Reflect on how tenderly Mary called Jesus by name

Mary and Jesus
Zvonimir Atletic | Shutterstock

Honoring the Holy Name of Jesus gains a fresh perspective when dwelling upon Mary’s use of it.

An interesting devotion in the Catholic Church is one focused on the Holy Name of Jesus. It takes its main inspiration from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

In this context, devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is more “regal” in nature and appears to be very formal. For this reason it can be tempting for some people to be put off by the devotion, thinking it old-fashioned and connected to outdated medieval piety.

However, this devotion gains a fresh perspective when reflecting on Mary’s use of Jesus’ name. There is a brief prayer composed by Alban J. Dachauer, S.J. in The Rural Life Prayerbook that highlights this reality. Here is one stanza from his prayer that considers Mary, as well as Joseph, and how they used the name of Jesus.

Help us remember how reverently and lovingly,
Your Mother Mary used the name of Jesus,
and how humbly Saint Joseph called You
and spoke to You by name.

Any parent can relate to this scene, especially when a child is still an infant. Both mother and father look tenderly upon their child and soothingly say their child’s name, with great care and love.

Imagine now the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, holding Jesus in their arms, softly reciting Jesus’ name. They do so with the realization that he is both their child and the God of the universe!

This brief meditation can help us take more care in our use of Jesus’ name and foster a deeper love of Jesus. While we do not have the same experience as the Holy Family, we can still love Jesus in a similar way, struck with awe at the love he has for us.

In this way, devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is made more approachable and relevant, recognizing it as a way to love Jesus in a new and deeper way.

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