Evening Meditations for New Year’s Day ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

HIS NAME WAS CALLED JESUS (Gospel, Luke ii. 21).

I.

The Name of Jesus is a divine Name, announced to Mary on the part of God by St. Gabriel: and thou shalt call his name Jesus (Luke i. 31). For that reason it was called a name above all names (Phil. ii. 9). And it was also called a Name in which alone salvation is found: whereby we must be saved (Acts iv. 12).

This great Name is likened by the Holy Spirit unto oil: Thy name is as oil poured out (Cant. i. 2). For this reason, says St. Bernard, that as oil is light, food, and medicine, so the Name of Jesus is light to the mind, food to the heart, and medicine to the soul.

It is light to the mind. By this Name the world was converted from the darkness of idolatry to the light of Faith. We who have been born in these regions, where before the coming of Christ our ancestors were Gentiles, should all have been in the same condition had not the Messias come to enlighten us. How thankful ought we not, then, to be to Jesus Christ for the gift of Faith! And what would have become of us if we had been born in Asia, in Africa, in America, or in the midst of heretics and schismatics? He who believes not is lost: He that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark xvi. 16). And thus probably we also should have been lost.

O Jesus, Thou Who didst make the power of Thy Name to shine forth to deliver us from the servitude of sin, and the slavery of the devil, deign now and always to preserve our souls from all unworthy subjection. O Jesus all powerful, if the eyes of our souls had not been opened and enlightened by the light of Faith which Thou hast taught us by Thy own mouth, how should we ever have been able to know Thy divine mysteries! Without Thy aid we should always have been buried in the darkness of ignorance and the shadow of death. May thanks be ever given to our sweet Jesus Who has had compassion on us, and, in opening the gates of Heaven to us, has made us heirs of His Eternal Kingdom.

II.

The Name of Jesus is also food that nourishes our hearts; yes, because this Name reminds us of what Jesus has done to save us. Hence this Name consoles us in tribulation, gives us strength to walk along the way of salvation, supplies us with courage in difficulties, and inflames us with love for our Redeemer, when we remember what He has suffered for our salvation.

Lastly, this Name is medicine to the soul, because it renders it strong against the temptations of our enemies. The devils tremble and fly at the invocations of this Holy Name, according to the words of the Apostle: That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. ii. 10). He who in temptation calls upon Jesus shall not fall, and shall be saved: Praising, I will call upon the Lord; and I will be saved from my enemies (Ps. xvii. 4). And who was ever lost who when he was tempted invoked Jesus? He alone is lost who does not invoke His aid, or who, whilst the temptation continues, ceases to invoke Him. Oh, that I had always called upon Thee, my Jesus; for then I should never have been conquered by the devil! I have miserably lost Thy grace, because in temptation I have neglected to call Thee to my assistance. But now I hope for all things through Thy Holy Name. Write, therefore, O my Saviour, write upon my poor heart Thy most powerful Name of Jesus, so that, by having it always in my heart by loving Thee, I may have it always on my lips by invoking Thee, in all the temptations that hell prepares for me to induce me to again become its slave, and to separate myself from Thee. In Thy Name I shall find every good. If I am afflicted, it will console me when I think how much more afflicted Thou hast been than I am, and all for the love of me. If I am disheartened on account of my sins, it will give me courage when I remember that Thou camest into the world to save sinners. If I am tempted, Thy Holy Name will give me strength, when I consider that Thou canst help me more than hell can cast me down; finally, if I feel cold in Thy love, Thy Name will give me fervour, by reminding me of the love that Thou bearest me. I love Thee, my Jesus! To Thee do I give all my heart, O my Jesus! Thee alone will I love! Thee will I invoke as often as I possibly can. I will die with Thy Name upon my lips; a Name of hope, a Name of salvation, a Name of love. O Mary, if thou lovest me, this is the grace I beg of thee to obtain for me — the grace constantly to invoke thy name and that of thy Son; obtain for me that these most sweet Names may be the breath of my soul, and that I may repeat them constantly during life, in order to repeat them with my last breath. Jesus and Mary, help me; Jesus and Mary, I love You; Jesus and Mary I recommend my soul to You.

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