The Holy Name of Jesus


The name Jesus is endowed with immense power!

We come to consider how this holy Infant, now born spiritually, shall be named.  I think there is no name more fitting for him than Jesus, for Scripture says:  He was called Jesus (Lk 2:21).  This is the most sacred of all names.  It was foretold by the prophets, announced by an angel, proclaimed by the Apostles, and desired by all the saints.  O powerful name!  O grace-filled and joyous name!  O delightful and glorious name!

This name is powerful, because it brings down our enemies, restores our strength, and renews our mind.  It is grace-filled, because in it is contained the foundation of faith, the ground of hope, and the fulfillment of holiness.  It is joyous, because it is gladness to the heart, music to the ear, honey to the tongue, and splendor to the mind.  It is delightful, because it nourishes when it is recalled, soothes when it is uttered, anoints when it is invoked, refreshes when it is written, and instructs when it is read.  It is a truly glorious name, because it gives sight to the blind, makes the lame walk, brings hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and life to the dead.  O blest name endowed with such powers!

Devout soul, whether you are writing, reading, or teaching or whatever you are doing — may nothing have taste for you, nothing please you, apart from Jesus.  To the little Infant begotten in you spiritually, give the name Jesus, which means:  Savior, amidst the miseries of this life.  May he save you from the vanities of the world which entice you, from the deceits of the devil which surround you, and from the weakness of the flesh which torments you.

Devout soul, amidst the many scourges of this life cry out:

Jesus, Savior of the world, save us
whom you have redeemed by your cross and blood.
Help us, O Lord our God.
Save us, sweet Jesus, our Savior.
Strengthen the weak, comfort those who mourn,
help the frail and give constancy to the faint-hearted.




St. Bonaventure. "The Holy Name of Jesus." excerpt from Bonaventure: Mystic of God's Word (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press of the Focolare, 1999).

Reprinted with permission of the publisher.

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in January 2014.


Bonaventure of Bagnoregio (ca. 1217 to 15 July 1274), the religious name of Giovanni di Fidanza, was a Franciscan friar, Master of Theology at the University of Paris, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, and Cardinal of the Catholic Church.  During his lifetime he rose to become one of the most prominent men in Latin Christianity.  His academic career as a theologian was cut short when in 1257 he was put in charge of the Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M.).  He steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason.  He thought of Christ as the "one true master" who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.  Bonaventure was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages. His works, as arranged in the most recent Critical Edition by the Quaracchi Fathers (Collegio S. Bonaventura), consist of a Commentary on the Sentences of Lombard, in four volumes, and eight other volumes. His books in English include Bonaventure: Mystic of God's Word, Bonaventure Mystical Writings, Bonaventure: The Soul's Journey into God, the Tree of Life, the Life of St. Francis.

Copyright © 1999 New City Press of the Focolare

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