04 January 2011

A Wondrous Name

Below are teachings from a series by Saint Cyril of Jerusalem titled the “Mystagogical Catecheses” which is a series of instructions given to new converts to Christianity in Jerusalem during the fourth century. In this particular part of his series, Saint Cyril explains Who Jesus is, and what we believe about Him. Cyril calls the Name of Jesus, “Wondrous”. In our glorious history there have been great promoters of the Holy Name of Jesus. Certainly Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is one among those, as he spoke of it in many of his homilies. Also great promoters of this devotion were Saint Bernardine of Siena and Saint John Capistrano. Today in many of our church buildings are seen the letters representing the Holy Name of Jesus: “IHS”. On this day, 4 January 2011, the Carthusian Order celebrates this “wondrous” feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.

We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God. We say One Lord Jesus Christ, that His Sonship may be Only-begotten: we say One, that you may not profanely diffuse the many names of His action among many sons.

He is called a Door; but do not take the name literally for a thing of wood, but a spiritual, a living Door, discriminating those who enter in.

He is called a Way, not one trodden by feet, but leading to the Father in heaven.

He is called a Sheep, not an irrational one, but the One which through its precious Blood cleanses the world from its sins, which is led before the shearers, and knows when to be silent.

This Sheep again is called a Shepherd, who says, I am the Good Shepherd: a Sheep because of His manhood, a Shepherd because of the loving-kindness of His Godhead.

There is One Lord Jesus Christ, a wondrous Name, indirectly announced beforehand by the Prophets. For Isaiah the Prophet says, Behold, your Saviour comes, having His own reward. Now Jesus in Hebrew is by interpretation Savior. For the Prophetic gift, foreseeing the killing of Him by the Jews, veiled His name, lest from knowing it plainly beforehand they might plot against Him readily. But He was openly called Jesus not by men, but by an Angel, who came not by his own authority, but was sent by the power of God, and said to Joseph, Fear not to take unto you Mary your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus. And immediately he renders the reason of this name, saying, for He shall save His people from their sins.

Consider how He Who was not yet born could have a people, unless He was in Being before He was born. This also the Prophet says in His person, From the womb of My Mother has He made mention of My Name; because the Angel foretold that He should be called Jesus.

Jesus then means according to the Hebrew Savior, but in Greek The Healer; since He is Physician of souls and bodies, Curer of spirits, curing the blind in body , and leading minds into light, healing the visibly lame, and guiding sinners' steps to repentance, saying to the paralyzed, Sin no more, and, Take up your bed and walk. For since the body was paralyzed for the sin of the soul, He ministered first to the soul that He might extend the healing to the body.

If, therefore, any one is suffering in soul from sins, there is the Physician for him: and if any one here is of little faith, let him say to Him, Help my unbelief. If any is encompassed also with bodily ailments, let him not be faithless, but let him draw near; for to such diseases also Jesus ministers, and let him learn that Jesus is the Christ.

This is Jesus Christ Who came a High-Priest of the good things to come; Who for the bountifulness of His Godhead imparted His own title to us all. For kings among men have their royal style which others may not share, but Jesus Christ being the Son of God gave us the dignity of being called Christians.

If there is any one who formerly believed not, let him now believe; and if any was before a believer, let him receive a greater increase of faith, by believing in our Lord Jesus Christ, and let him understand Whose Name he bears.

You are called a Christian: be tender of the name; let not our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, be blasphemed through you, but rather let your good works shine before men that they who see them may in our Lord Christ Jesus glorify the Father Who is in heaven.

To Him be the glory, both now and forever. Amen.