If we begin to lose track of what faith is all about and of the difference being a Christian really makes, we simply have to say one word, which is a perfect prayer: Jesus! St. John promises, “You possess eternal life — you who believe in the Name of the Son of God” (1 Jn 5:13). That eternal life begins to animate and transform our earthbound one every time we utter the Holy Name in adoration. “A repetition of the name Jesus with faith in the Lord’s power will ‘break’ the thread of the bad or useless thought and gradually instill into us ‘the mind which was in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 2:5)” (R. Cantalamessa).
St. Paul, who was speaking from personal experience, gives us the best advice he knows: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13). And “to be saved” — salvation — is to be granted an escape from our own inability and want. Praying the Holy Name even undoes our evil: “Through his Name your sins have been forgiven” (1 Jn 2:12). The communion we crave becomes a reality in “that noble Name which has made you God’s own” (James 2:7).
The mystic Richard Rolle (+1349) wrote this:
If you think the name Jesus continually, and hold it firmly, it purges your sin, and kindles your heart; it clarifies your soul, it removes anger and does away slowness. It wounds in love and fulfills charity. It chases the devil, and puts out dread. It opens heaven, and makes a person a contemplative. It puts all vices and phantoms out from the one who loves.
Let us devoutly claim this precious gift from the One who never stops longing to call us friend. “The Name of Jesus is the highest honor of the believer” by which the pillars of the Church “mount up to heaven till the end of time” (St. Bernardine of Siena).
Find Fr. Cameron’s series on prayer here.