Jan 2: Once was...Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus


For reasons that are unclear to me, although the 1962 Roman EF calendar does contain it, the 1963 Benedictine calendar does not celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, traditionally set for January 2 or the nearest Sunday.  Instead, it constructs a completely new Office of the Second Sunday after the Nativity. 

And in the Novus Ordo calendar (in Australia at least) this day is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany (which actually traditionally occurs on January 6).

I suspect the absence of the feast from the calendar reflects the decision no longer to celebrate the Circumcision of Our Lord, since it was at that ceremony that he was formally named.  Certainly the absence of the feast in the Novus Ordo calendar is based on the claim that "the imposition of the name of Jesus is already commemorated in the office of the Octave of Christmas" (Paul VI, Mysterii Paschalis, 1969).

The Feast was however restored to the General Roman Calendar in 2002 as on optional memorial on January 3, so this may be one of those oddities of the 1962/3 period that would ordinarily have been eventually remedied.

In any case, for those inclined to say the Office of the feast devotionally but without access to the proper books, can I commend to you the Divinum Officium website.  And here are the second Nocturn readings for the feast from a Sermon of St Bernard:

"It is not idly that the Holy Ghost likeneth the Name of the Bridegroom to oil, when He maketh the Bride say to the Bridegroom: thy Name is as oil poured forth. Oil indeed giveth light, meat, and unction. It feedeth fire, it nourisheth the flesh, it sootheth pain; it is light, food, and healing. Behold, Thus also is the Name of the Bridegroom. To preach it, is to give light; to think of it, is to feed the soul; to call on it, is to win grace and unction. Let us take it point by point. What, thinkest thou, hath made the light of faith so suddenly and so brightly to shine in the whole world but the preaching of the Name of Jesus? Is it not in the light of this Name that God hath called us into His marvellous light, even that light wherewith we being enlightened, and in His light seeing light, Paul saith truly of us Ye were sometimes darkness, but now - are ye light in the Lord.

This is the Name which the Apostle was commanded to bear before Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel, the Name which he bore as a light to enlighten his people, crying everywhere The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,.and let us put on the armour of light, let us walk honestly as in the day. lie pointed out to all that candle set upon a candlestick, preaching in every place Jesus and Him crucified. How did that Name shine forth and dazzle every eye that beheld it, when it came like lightning out of the mouth of Peter to give bodily strength to the feet of the lame man, and to clear the sight of many a blind soul? Cast he not fire when he said In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.

The Name of Jesus is not a Name of light only, but it is meat also. Dost thou ever call it to mind, and remain unstrengthened? Is there anything like it to enrich the soul of him that thinketh of it? What is there like it to restore the fagged senses, to fortify strength, to give birth to good lives and pure affections? The soul is fed on husks if that whereon it feedeth lack seasoning with this salt. If thou writest, thou hast no meaning for me if I read not of Jesus there. If thou preach, or dispute, thou hast no meaning for me if I hear not of Jesus there. The mention of Jesus is honey in the mouth, music in the ear, and gladness in the heart. It is our healing too. Is any sorrowful among us? Let the thought of Jesus come into his heart, and spring to his mouth. Behold, when the day of that Name beginneth to break, every cloud will flee away, and there will be a great calm. Doth any fall into sin? Doth any draw nigh to an hopeless death? And if he but call on the life - giving Name of Jesus, will he not draw the breath of a new life again?"

No comments: