Friday, January 1, 2021
January: Month of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ


In the Church, each of the twelve months in the year is dedicated to a particular facet of the Catholic Faith. However, the particular focus assigned to each month is not a dogmatic matter which has been defined by the Church’s solemn authority. Rather, these devotions have been practiced by the faithful and grown as popular piety. January is traditionally devoted to the Holy Name of Jesus.

On January 1st we recall our Lord's Circumcision and the giving of the divine name to Him 8 days after His nativity. We recall this in a special Feast of the Holy Name each year on the Sunday of January 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th, or when no Sunday occurs on these days, then the feast is celebrated on January 2nd.

The honor of God’s name is not merely an intellectual exercise. It necessitates real actions in our lives. One of the manifestations of this is the proper capitalization of God’s name as well as all pronouns (e.g. He, Him, His) that refer to God, or any of the three divine persons. Known as reverential capitalization, this practice used to be commonplace until continued liberalism in education began to erode at this practice. As Catholics, we do our part to honor God's holy name by always capitalizing it and all references to the Divine Name.

Similarly, the Church in her worship prescribes that the priest bow his head “when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.”  By extension, the faithful are admonished to also bow their heads whenever the Holy Name of Jesus is mentioned, even in casual conversation. Therefore, we should bow our heads during the Gloria Patri prayer whether during Mass, while saying the Rosary, or at the end of the Psalms in the Divine Office. While the bow of the head is required at the mention of “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ”, it is not required only at the mention of “Christ”, which is a title as opposed to being the Name of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made flesh.

The practice of bowing the head at the mention of His Name was formally written into the law of the Church at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274: 

“Those who assemble in church should extol with an act of special reverence that Name which is above every Name, than which no other under Heaven has been given to people, in which believers must be saved, the Name, that is, of Jesus Christ, Who will save His people from their sins. Each should fulfil in himself that which is written for all, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious Name is recalled, especially during the sacred Mysteries of the Mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head.” 

If you have not done so, that is a great resolution to make this year in honor of the Divine Name of our Lord. January is also a great month to daily pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus or the Chaplet of the Holy Name.

Prayer to Honor the Lord's Holy Name:

O God, Who didst constitute Thine only-begotten Son the Savior of mankind, and didst bid Him be called Jesus: mercifully grant, that we who venerate His holy Name on earth, may fully enjoy also the vision of Him in heaven. Through the same our Lord.

1 comment(s):

del_button January 3, 2021 at 7:39 PM
johnnyc said...


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