03 January 2013

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

January 3rd we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. This feast originated toward the end of the 15th century. Two promoters of this feast were Saint Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) and his disciple Saint John Capistrano (1386-1456). Bernardine, a Franciscan, placed great emphasis on the Holy Name of Jesus and associated it with the IHS Christogram. He used the devotion as a way of overcoming bitter struggles and family rivalries in Italian city-states. Franciscan, Dominican, and, beginning in the 16th century, Jesuit preachers spread the devotion.

In the book SAINT OF THE DAY edited by Leonard Foley, OFM, and revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM, the following story is related:

"At Bologna, Bernardine preached mightily against the evils of gambling. As was the custom, a huge bonfire was made in the public square, to be a holocaust consuming all the instruments of the vice - playing cards, dice and the like. A manufacturer of playing cards complained that Bernardine was taking away his livelihood. The saint told him to start making the symbol IHS and he made more money than ever before."

Sr. Joanne Gonter, V.H.M.

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