St. Bernardine’s Preaching

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St. Bernardine’s Preaching

The worship of this adorable name was still more widely extended and popularized by the preaching of the disciples of St. Francis. One of the foremost of them, St. Bernardine of Siena, was not satisfied with preaching the holy name of Jesus in the cities and towns of Italy, he had the monogram of Our Lord, surrounded with rays, painted on little tablets and advised allĀ his hearers to procure one of these tablets for their homes. He himself always wore one, and he would show it to the people at the end of his sermon, inviting the congregation to bend the knee before the holy picture in honor of Jesus. This devotion had a great effect in producing reverence, love, and fear for the Saviour of mankind.

When, in 1427, Bernardine was denounced to Pope Martin V for having introduced “a profane and idolatrous new devotion by exposing the people to the danger of adoring the letters of the name of Jesus, and not the Saviour Himself,” the saint, accompanied by St. John Capistran and Blessed Matthew of Girgenti, pleaded the cause of the Holy Name so well that the Pope exhorted him to pursue his fruitful apostolate, to teach the people reverence and love for the Holy Name of Jesus, and, moreover, told him that he might present without fear to the veneration of the faithful the representation of this blessed name. Then he ordered a general procession in Rome in honor of the Holy Name of Jesus, so as to leave no doubt as to the feeling of the Church for a devotion from which she gathered such precious fruits. St. John Capistran carried the banner of the name of Jesus, against which so many sacrilegious attacks had been directed. Religious of all Orders, the secular clergy and a large body of the people followed, singing canticles. Thus the holy name of Jesus was blessed, glorified, and extolled to the enthusiastic delight of every Christian heart.

The memory of this event was perpetuated later on in the Order of St. Francis, by the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Name of Jesus. This feast was, by permission of Pope Innocent VIII, established in the Franciscan Order in the year 1530, and observed on the I4th day of January. In 1721 Innocent XIII extended the celebration of the feast to the universal Church, and appointed it to be kept on the second Sunday after Epiphany. In 1863 Pius IX approved the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, at the request of the general of the Franciscan Order.

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