Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This Sunday, January 22, has been designated the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On this day we pray for an end to abortion in our country and throughout the world. May our good Lord Jesus have mercy on us and on the whole world!
This week I want to continue with an excerpt from the marvelous little booklet on the efficacy of the Holy Name of Jesus written by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.
“We shall now quote a few examples to show the power of the Holy Name.
Chapter 3 – The World in Danger Saved by the Holy Name
In the year 1274 great evils threatened the world. The Church was assailed by fierce enemies from within and without. So great was the danger that the Pope, Gregory X, who then reigned, called a council of Bishops in Lyons to determine on the best means of saving society from the ruin that menaced it. Among the many means proposed, the Pope and Bishops chose what they considered the easiest and most efficacious of all, viz., the frequent repetition of the Holy Name of Jesus.
The Holy Father then begged the Bishops to call on the Name of Jesus and to urge their peoples to place all their confidence in this all-powerful Name, repeating it constantly with boundless trust. The Pope entrusted the Dominicans especially with the glorious task of preaching the wonders of the Holy Name in every country, a work they accomplished with unbounded zeal.
Their Franciscan brothers ably seconded them. St. Bernardine of Siena and St. Leonard of Port-Maurice were ardent apostles of the Name of Jesus. Their efforts were crowned with success so that the enemies of the Church were overthrown, the dangers that threatened society disappeared and peace once more reigned supreme.
This is a most important lesson for us because, in these our own days, dreadful sufferings are crushing many countries, and still greater evils threaten all the others. No government or governments seem strong and wise enough to stem this awful torrent of evils. There is but one remedy, and that is prayer.
Every Christian must turn to God and ask Him to have Mercy on us. The easiest of all prayers, as we have seen, is the Name of Jesus. Everyone without exception can invoke this Holy Name hundreds of times a day, not only for his own intentions, but also to ask God to deliver the world from impending ruin.
It is amazing what one person who prays can do to save his country and save society. We read in Holy Scripture how Moses saved by his prayer the people of Israel from destruction, and how one pious woman, Judith of Betulia, saved her city and her people when the rulers were in despair and about to surrender themselves to their enemies.
Again, we know that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, which God destroyed by fire for their sins and crimes, would have been pardoned had there been only ten good men to pray for them!
Over and over again we read of kings, emperors, statesmen and famous military commanders who placed all their trust in prayer, thus working wonders. If the prayers of one man can do much, what will not the prayers of many do?
The Name of Jesus is the shortest, the easiest and the most powerful of prayers. Everyone can say it, even in the midst of this daily work. God cannot refuse to hear it. Let us then invoke the Name of Jesus, asking Him to save us from the calamities that threaten us.
Chapter 4- The Plague in Lisbon: The City Saved by the Holy Name: A devastating plague broke out in Lisbon in 1432. All who could do so fled in terror from the city and thus carried the plague to every corner of the entire country of Portugal.
Thousands of men, women and children of all classes were swept away by the cruel sickness. So virulent was the epidemic that men died everywhere, at table, in the streets, in their houses, in the shops, in the marketplaces, in the churches. To use the words of historians, it flashed like lightning from man to man, or from a coat, a hat or any garment that had been used by the plague-stricken. Priests, doctors and nurses were carried off in such numbers that the bodies of many lay unburied in the streets, so that the dogs licked up the blood and ate the flesh of the dead, becoming as a result themselves infected with the dread disease and spreading it still more widely among the unfortunate people.
Among those who assisted the dying with unflagging zeal was a venerable bishop, Monsignor Andre Dias, who lived in the Convent or Monastery of St. Dominic. This holy man, seeing that the epidemic, far from diminishing, grew every day in intensity, and despairing of human help, urged the unhappy people to call on the Holy Name of Jesus. He was seen wherever the disease was fiercest, urging, imploring the sick and the dying, as well as those who had not as yet been stricken down, to repeat, "Jesus, Jesus."
"Write it on cards," he said, "and keep those cards on your persons; place them at night under your pillows; place them on your doors; but above all, constantly invoke with your lips and in your hearts this most powerful Name." He went about as an angel of peace filling the sick and the dying with courage and confidence. The poor sufferers felt within them a new Life, and calling on Jesus, they wore the cards on their breasts or carried them in their pockets.
Then summoning them to the great Church of St. Dominic, he once more spoke to them of the power of the Name of Jesus and blessed water in the same Holy Name, ordering all the people to sprinkle themselves with it and sprinkle it on the faces of the sick and the dying. Wonder of wonders! The sick got well, the dying arose from their agonies, the plague ceased and the city was delivered in a few days from the most awful scourge that had ever visited it.
The news spread to the whole country and all began, with one accord, to call on the Name of Jesus. In an incredibly short time all Portugal was freed from the dread sickness.
The grateful people, mindful of the marvels they had witnessed, continued their love and confidence in the Name of our Savior, so that in all their troubles, in all dangers, when evils of any kind threatened them, they invoked the Name of Jesus. Confraternities were formed in the churches, processions of the Holy Name were made monthly, altars were raised in honor of this Blessed Name, so that the greatest curse that had ever fallen on the country was transformed into the greatest blessing.
For long centuries this great confidence in the Name of Jesus continued in Portugal and thence spread to Spain, to France, and to the whole world.”
Through the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, St. Paul, and St. Michael, may our good Lord Jesus bless us with a fervent love for His Holy Name!
In Christ through Mary,