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The Jesus Prayer — Online Book


Online book of  “The Jesus Prayer”. A clas­sic trea­tise on the Jesus Prayer writ­ten by Fr. Lev Gillet, also known through many of his writ­ings as “A Monk of the East­ern Church”.

The Jesus Prayer
By Fr. Lev Gillet

1. THE SHAPE OF THE INVOCATION OF THE NAME

… And Jacob asked him and said: Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said: Where­fore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. Gen­e­sis 32:29

The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus can be put into many frames. It is for each per­son to find the form which is the most appro­pri­ate to his or her own prayer. But, what­ev­er for­mu­la maybe used, the heart and cen­tre of the invo­ca­tion must be the Holy Name itself, the word Jesus. There resides the whole strength of the invo­ca­tion.

The Name of Jesus may either be used alone or be insert­ed in a more or less devel­oped phrase. In the East the com­mon­est form is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mer­cy upon me, a sin­ner.” One might sim­ply say: “Jesus Christ”, or “Lord Jesus”. The invo­ca­tion may even be reduced to one sin­gle word “Jesus”.

This last form—the Name of Jesus only—is that most ancient mould of the invo­ca­tion of the Name. It is the short­est, the sim­plest and, as we think, the eas­i­est. There­fore, with­out depre­ci­at­ing the oth­er for­mu­las, we sug­gest that the word “Jesus” alone should be used.

Thus, when we speak of the invo­ca­tion of the Name, we mean the devout and fre­quent rep­e­ti­tion of the Name itself, of the word “Jesus” with­out addi­tions. The Holy Name is the prayer.

The Name of Jesus maybe either pro­nounced or silent­ly thought. In both cas­es
there is a real invo­ca­tion of the Name, ver­bal in the first case, and pure­ly men­tal in the sec­ond. This prayer affords an easy tran­si­tion from ver­bal to men­tal prayer. Even the ver­bal rep­e­ti­tion of the Name, if it is slow and thought­ful, makes us pass to men­tal prayer and dis­pos­es the soul to con­tem­pla­tion.

2. THE PRACTICE OF THE INVOCATION OF THE NAME

… And I will wait on thy name. Psalm 52:9.

The invo­ca­tion of the Name may be prac­ticed any­where and at any time. We can pro­nounce the Name of Jesus in the streets, in the place of our work, in our room, in church, etc. We can repeat the Name while we walk. Besides that “free” use of the Name, not deter­mined or lim­it­ed by any rule, it is good to set apart cer­tain times and cer­tain places for a “reg­u­lar” invo­ca­tion of the Name. One who is advanced in that way of prayer may dis­pense with such arrange­ments. But they are an almost nec­es­sary con­di­tion for begin­ners.
If we dai­ly assign a cer­tain time to the invo­ca­tion of the Name (besides the “free” invo­ca­tion which should be as fre­quent as pos­si­ble), the invo­ca­tion ought to be practiced—circumstances allowing—in a lone­ly and qui­et place : “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner cham­ber, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). The bod­i­ly pos­ture does not mat­ter much. One may walk, or sit down, or lie, or kneel. The best pos­ture is the one which affords most phys­i­cal qui­et and inner con­cen­tra­tion. One may be helped by a phys­i­cal atti­tude express­ing hum­ble­ness and wor­ship.

Before begin­ning to pro­nounce the Name of Jesus, estab­lish peace and rec­ol­lec­tion with­in your­self and ask for the inspi­ra­tion and guid­ance of the Holy Ghost. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (Α Corinthi­ans 12:3). The Name of Jesus can­not real­ly enter a heart that is not being filled by the cleans­ing breath and the flame of the Spir­it. The Spir­it him­self will breathe and light in us the Name of the Son.

Then sim­ply begin. In order to walk one must take a first step; in order to swim one must throw one­self into the water. It is the same with the invo­ca­tion of the Name. Begin to pro­nounce it with ado­ra­tion and love. Cling to it. Repeat it. Do not think that you are invok­ing the Name; think only of Jesus him­self. Say his Name slow­ly, soft­ly and qui­et­ly.

A com­mon mis­take of begin­ners is to wish to asso­ciate the invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name with inner inten­si­ty or emo­tion. They try to say it with great force. But the Name of Jesus is not to be shout­ed, or fash­ioned with vio­lence, even inward­ly. When Eli­jah was com­mand­ed to stand before the Lord, there was a great and strong wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earth­quake, but the Lord was not in the earth­quake; and after the earth­quake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a still small voice, “And it was so, when Eli­jah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his man­tle, and went out, and stood…” (I Kings 19.13) Stren­u­ous exer­tion and the search for inten­si­ty will be of no avail. As you repeat the Holy Name, gath­er qui­eti lit­tle by lit­tle, your thoughts and feel­ings and around it; gather-.around it your whole being. Let the name pen­e­trate your soul as a drop of oil spreads out and impreg­nates a cloth. Let noth­ing of your­self escape. Sur­ren­der your whole self and enclose it with­in the Name.

Even in the act of invo­ca­tion of the Name, its lit­er­al rep­e­ti­tion ought not to be con­tin­u­ous. The Name pro­nounced maybe extend­ed and pro­longed in sec­onds or min­utes of silent rest and atten­tion. The rep­e­ti­tion of the Name may be likened to the beat­ing of wings by which a bird ris­es into the air. It must nev­er be labored and forced, or hur­ried, or in the nature of a flap­ping. It must be gen­tle, easy and~ let us give to this word its deep­est mean­ing-grace­ful. When the bird has reached the desired height it glides in its flight, and only beats its wing from time to time in order to stay in the air. So the soul, hav­ing attained to the thought of Jesus and filled her­self with the mem­o­ry of him, may dis­con­tin­ue the rep­e­ti­tion of the Name and rest in Our Lord. The rep­e­ti­tion will only be resumed when oth­er thoughts threat­en to crowd out the thought of Jesus. Then the invo­ca­tion will start again in order to gain fresh impe­tus.

Con­tin­ue this invo­ca­tion for as long as you wish or as you can. The prayer is nat­u­ral­ly inter­rupt­ed by tired­ness. Then do not insist. But resume it at any time and wher­ev­er you maybe, when you feel again so inclined. In time you will find that the name of Jesus will spon­ta­neous­ly come to your lips and almost con­tin­u­ous­ly be present to your mind, though in a qui­es­cent and latent man­ner. Even your sleep will be impreg­nat­ed with the Name and mem­o­ry of Jesus. “I sleep, but my heart waketh” (Song of Songs 5:2).
When we are engaged in the invo­ca­tion of the Name, it is nat­ur­al that we should hope and endeav­or to reach some “pos­i­tive” or “tan­gi­ble” result, i.e., to feel that we have estab­lished a real con­tact with the per­son of Our Lord: “If I may but touch his gar­ment, I shall be whole” (Matthew 9:21). This bliss­ful expe­ri­ence is the desir­able cli­max of the invo­ca­tion of the Name : “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Gen­e­sis 32:26). But we must avoid an overea­ger long­ing for such expe­ri­ences; reli­gious emo­tion may eas­i­ly become a dis­guise for some dan­ger­ous kind of greed and sen­su­ous­ness. Let us not think that, if we have spent a cer­tain time in the invo­ca­tion of the Name with­out “feel­ing” any­thing, our time has been wast­ed and our effort unfruit­ful. On the con­trary this appar­ent­ly bar­ren prayer may be more pleas­ing to God than our moments of rap­ture, because it is pure from any self­ish quest for spir­i­tu­al delight. It is the prayer of the plain and naked will. We should there­fore per­se­vere in assign­ing every day some reg­u­lar and fixed time to the invo­ca­tion of the Name, even if it seems to us that this prayer leaves us cold and dry; and such an earnest exer­tion of the will, such a sober “wait­ing” on the Name can­not fail to bring us some bless­ing and strength.
More­over, the invo­ca­tion of the Name sel­dom leaves us in a state of dry­ness. Those who have some expe­ri­ence of it agree that it is very often accom­pa­nied by an inner feel­ing of joy, warmth and light. One has an impres­sion of mov­ing and walk­ing in the light. There is in this prayer no heav­i­ness, no lan­guish­ing, no strug­gling. “Thy name is as oint­ment poured forth… Draw me; we will run after thee” (Song of Songs 1:3–4).

3. THE INVOCATION OF THE NAME AS A SPIRITUAL WAY

I will strength­en them in the Lord, and they shall walk tip and down in his name. Zechari­ah 10:22

The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus maybe sim­ply an episode on our spir­i­tu­al way (an episode is, ety­mo­log­i­cal­ly, some­thing that hap­pens “on the way”). Or it may be for us a way, one spir­i­tu­al way among oth­ers. Or it may be the way, the spir­i­tu­al way which we def­i­nite­ly and pre­dom­i­nant­ly (if not exclu­sive­ly) choose. In oth­er terms the invo­ca­tion of the Name maybe for us either a tran­si­to­ry act, a prayer which we use for a time and leave it for oth­ers; or-more than an act‑a method which we con­tin­u­ous­ly use, but in addi­tion to oth­er forms and meth­ods of prayer; or the method around which we ulti­mate­ly build and orga­nize our whole spir­i­tu­al life. It all depends on our per­son­al call, cir­cum­stances and pos­si­bil­i­ties. Here we are only con­cerned with “begin­ners”, with those who wish to acquire the first notions about that prayer and a first con­tact with the Holy Name, and also with those who, hav­ing had this first con­tact, wish to enter “the way of the Name”. As to those who are already able to use the invo­ca­tion of the Name as a method or as the only method, they do not need our advice.

We must not come to the invo­ca­tion of the Name through some whim or arbi­trary deci­sion of our own. We must be called to it, led to it by God. If we try to use the invo­ca­tion of the Name as our main spir­i­tu­al method, this choice ought to be made out of obe­di­ence to, a very spe­cial voca­tion. A spir­i­tu­al prac­tice and much more a spir­i­tu­al sys­tem ground­ed on a mere caprice will mis­er­ably col­lapse. So we should be moved towards the Name of Jesus under the guid­ance of the Holy Spir­it; then the invo­ca­tion of the Name will be in us a fruit of the Spir­it itself.

There is no infal­li­ble sign that we are called to the way of the Name. There may be, how­ev­er, some indi­ca­tions of this call, which we ought to con­sid­er humbly and care­ful­ly. If we feel drawn towards the invo­ca­tion of the Name, if this prac­tice pro­duces in us an increase of char­i­ty, puri­ty, obe­di­ence and peace, if the use of oth­er prayers even is becom­ing some­what dif­fi­cult, we may, not unrea­son­ably, assume that the way of the Name is open to us.
Any­one who feels the attrac­tion of the way of the Name ought to be care­ful not to depre­ci­ate oth­er forms of prayer. Let us not say: “The invo­ca­tion of the Name is the best prayer”. The best prayer is for every­body the prayer to which he or she is moved by the Holy Spir­it, what­ev­er prayer it may be. He who prac­tices the invo­ca­tion of the Name must also curb the temp­ta­tion of an indis­creet and pre­ma­ture pro­pa­gan­da on behalf of this form of prayer. Let us not has­ten to say to God: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren” (Psalm 22:22), if he is not espe­cial­ly entrust­ing us with this mis­sion. We should rather humbly keep the secrets of the Lord.

What we may say with sober­ness and truth is this. The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus sim­pli­fies and uni­fies our spir­i­tu­al life. No prayer is sim­pler than this “one-word prayer” in which the Holy Name becomes the only focus of the whole life.

Com­pli­cat­ed meth­ods often tire and dis­si­pate thought. But the Name of Jesus eas­i­ly gath­ers every­thing into itself. It has a pow­er of uni­fi­ca­tion and inte­gra­tion. The divid­ed per­son­al­i­ty which could say: “My name is legion, for we are many” (Mark 5:6) will recov­er its whole­ness in the sacred Name:
” Unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11).

The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus ought not to be under­stood as a “mys­ti­cal way” which might spare us the asceti­cal purifi­ca­tions. There is no short cut in spir­i­tu­al life. The way of the Name implies a con­stant watch over our souls. Sin has to be avoid­ed. Only there are two pos­si­ble atti­tudes in this respect. Some may guard their mind, mem­o­ry and will in order to say the Holy Name with greater rec­ol­lec­tion and love. Oth­ers will say the Holy Name in order to be more rec­ol­lect­ed and whole­heart­ed in their love. To our mind the lat­ter is the bet­ter way. The Name itself is a means of purifi­ca­tion and per­fec­tion, a touch­stone, a fil­ter through which our thoughts, words and deeds have to pass to be freed from their impu­ri­ties. None of them ought to be admit­ted by us until we pass them through the Name, and the Name excludes all sin­ful ele­ments. Only that will be received which is com­pat­i­ble with the Name of Jesus. We shall fill our hearts to the brim with the Name and thought of Jesus, hold­ing it care­ful­ly, like a pre­cious ves­sel, and defend­ing it against all alien tam­per­ing and admix­ture. This is a severe asceti­cism. It requires a for­get­ful­ness of self, a dying to self, as the Holy Name grows in our souls: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

We have to con­sid­er the invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name in rela­tion to oth­er forms of prayer. Of litur­gi­cal prayer and of the prayers fixed by some Com­mu­ni­ty rule we shall say noth­ing, as we are only con­cerned here with indi­vid­ual and pri­vate prayer. We do not dis­par­age or under­val­ue in the least litur­gi­cal prayer and the prayers set­tled by obe­di­ence. Their cor­po­rate char­ac­ter and their very fix­i­ty ren­der them extreme­ly help­ful. But it is for Church­men and Com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to ascer­tain whether or how far the invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus is com­pat­i­ble, in their own case, with the offi­cial for­mu­la­ries. Ques­tions may be raised about some oth­er forms of indi­vid­ual prayer. What about the “dia­logue prayer”, in which we lis­ten and speak to God at about the pure­ly con­tem­pla­tive and word­less prayer, “prayer of qui­et” and “prayer of union”? Must we leave these for the invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name, or inverse­ly. Or should we use both? The answer must be left for God to give in each indi­vid­ual case. In some rare cas­es the divine call to the invo­ca­tion of the Name maybe exclu­sive of all oth­er forms of prayer. But we think that, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, the way of the Name is broad and free; it is, in most cas­es, per­fect­ly com­pat­i­ble with moments of lis­ten­ing to the inner Word and answer­ing it and with inter­vals of com­plete inner silence. Besides, we must nev­er for­get that the best form of prayer which we can make at any giv­en moment is that to which we are moved by the Holy Spir­it.
The advice and dis­creet guid­ance of some spir­i­tu­al “elder” who has a per­son­al expe­ri­ence of the way of the Name may very often be found use­ful by the begin­ner. We per­son­al­ly would rec­om­mend resort to some such con­duc­tor. It is, how­ev­er, not indis­pens­able. “When the Spir­it of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

4. THE INVOCATION OF THE NAME AS WORSHIP

… I will glo­ri­fy thy name for ever­more. Psalm 86:12

We have con­sid­ered until now the invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus in a gen­er­al man­ner. Now we must con­sid­er the diverse aspects of this invo­ca­tion. The first aspect is ado­ra­tion and wor­ship.

Too often our prayers are lim­it­ed to peti­tion, inter­ces­sion and repen­tance. As we shall see the Name of Jesus can be used in all these ways. But the dis­in­ter­est­ed prayer, the praise giv­en to God because of His own excel­len­cy the regard direct­ed towards Him with the utmost respect and affec­tion, the excla­ma­tion of Thomas: “My Lord and my God! “–this ought to come first.
The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus must bring Jesus to our mind. The Name is the sym­bol and bear­er of the Per­son of Christ. Oth­er­wise the invo­ca­tion of the Name would, be mere ver­bal idol­a­try. “The let­ter kil­leth, but the spir­it giveth life” (II Corinthi­ans 3:6). The pres­ence of Jesus is the real con­tent and the sub­stance of the Holy Name. The Name both sig­ni­fies Jesus’ pres­ence and brings its real­i­ty.

This leads to pure ado­ra­tion. As we pro­nounce the Name, we should respond to the pres­ence of Our Lord. “They… fell down and wor­shipped him” (Matthew 2:11). To pro­nounce thought­ful­ly the Name of Jesus is to know the all­ness of Our Lord and our own noth­ing­ness. In this knowl­edge we shall adore and wor­ship. “God also hath high­ly exalt­ed him and giv­en him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philip­pi­ans 2:9–10).

5. THE HOLY NAME AS A MYSTERY OF SALVATION

… Save me, o God, by thy name. Psalm 54.1

The Name of Jesus brings us more than his pres­ence. Jesus is present in his Name as Sav­ior, for the word “Jesus” means just this: sav­ior or sal­va­tion. “Nei­ther is there sal­va­tion in any oth­er; for there is none oth­er name under heav­en giv­en among men, where­by we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus began his earth­ly mis­sion by heal­ing and for­giv­ing, i.e., by sav­ing men. In the same man­ner the very begin­ning of the way of the Name is the knowl­edge of Our Lord as our per­son­al Sav­ior. The invo­ca­tion of the Name brings deliv­er­ance to us in all our neces­si­ties.

The Name of Jesus not only helps us to obtain the ful­fill­ment of our needs (“What­so­ev­er ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hith­er­to have ye asked, noth­ing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive” [John 16:23–24] ). But the Name of Jesus already sup­plies our needs. When we require the suc­cour of Our Lord we should pro­nounce his Name in faith and hope, believ­ing that we already receive in it what we ask for. Jesus Him­self is the supreme sat­is­fac­tion of all men’s needs. And He is that now, as we pray. Let us not regard our prayer in rela­tion to ful­fill­ment in the future, but in rela­tion to ful­fill­ment in Jesus now. He is more than the giv­er of what we and oth­ers need, He is also the gift. He is both giv­er and gift, con­tain­ing in Him­self all good things. If I hunger he is my food. If I am cold he is my warmth. If I am ill he is my health. If I am per­se­cut­ed he is my deliv­er­ance. If I am impure he becomes my puri­ty. He “is made unto us… right­eous­ness, and sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion and redemp­tion” (I Corinthi­ans 1:30). This is quite anoth­er thing than if he had mere­ly giv­en them to us. Now we may find in his Name all that He is. There­fore the Name of Jesus, in so far as it links us with Jesus Him­self, is already a mys­tery of sal­va­tion.

The Name of Jesus brings vic­to­ry and peace when we are tempt­ed. A heart already filled with the Name and pres­ence of Our Lord would not let in any sin­ful image or thought. But we are weak, and often our defens­es break down, and then temp­ta­tion ris­es with­in us like angry waters. In such case do not con­sid­er the temp­ta­tion, do not argue with your own desire, do not think upon the storm, do not look at your­self. Look at Our Lord, cling­ing to Him, call upon His holy Name. When Peter, walk­ing upon the waters to come to Jesus, saw the tem­pest, “he was afraid” (Matthew 14:30) and began to sink. If, instead of look­ing at the waves and lis­ten­ing to the wind, we sin­gle-heart­ed­ly walk upon the waters towards Jesus, He will stretch forth his hand and take hold of us. The Name may then be of great use, as it is a def­i­nite, con­crete and pow­er­ful shape able to resist the strong imagery of temp­ta­tion. When tempt­ed, call upon the Holy Name per­sis­tent­ly, but qui­et­ly and gen­tly. Do not shout it nor say it with anx­i­ety or pas­sion. Let it pen­e­trate the soul lit­tle by lit­tle, till all thoughts and feel­ings come togeth­er and coa­lesce around it. Let it exer­cise its pow­er of polar­iza­tion. It is the Name of the Prince of Peace; it must be invoked in peace, and then it will bring us peace, or, bet­ter still, it will (like Him whose sym­bol it is) be our peace.

The Name of Jesus brings for­give­ness and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. When we have griev­ous­ly sinned (and so much the more when we have sinned light­ly), we can, with­in one sec­ond, cling to the Holy Name with repen­tance and char­i­ty and pro­nounce it with our whole- heart, and the Name thus used (and through which we have reached the per­son of Christ) will already be a token of par­don. After sin let us not “hang about”, delay and linger. Let us not hes­i­tate to take up again the invo­ca­tion of the Name, in spite of our unwor­thi­ness. A new day is break­ing and Jesus stands on the shore. “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord he cast him­self into the sea” (John 21:7). Act like Simon. Say “Jesus”, as though begin­ning life afresh. We sin­ners shall find Our Lord anew at the invo­ca­tion of His Name. He comes to us at that moment and as we are. He begins again where He has left us, or rather, where we have left Him. When he appeared to the dis­ci­ples after the Res­ur­rec­tion, He came to them as they were-unhap­py, and lost, and guilty-and, with­out reproach­ing them with their past defec­tion, He sim­ply
entered anew into their every­day life”. He said unto them: ‘Have ye here any
meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish and of an hon­ey­comb’ ” (Luke 24:41–42). In the same man­ner, when we say “Jesus” again, after an act of sin or a peri­od of estrange­ment, He does not require from us long apolo­gies for the past, but He wants us to mix, as before, His Per­son and his Name with the detail and rou­tine of our life—with our broiled fish and our honeycomb—and to re-plunge them in the very mid­dle of our exis­tence.

Thus the Holy Name can bring about rec­on­cil­i­a­tion after our actu­al sins. But it can give us a more gen­er­al and fun­da­men­tal expe­ri­ence of the divine for­give­ness. We can pro­nounce the Name of Jesus and put into it the whole real­i­ty of the cross, the whole mys­tery of the atone­ment. If we link the Name with faith in Jesus as pro­pi­ti­a­tion for the sins of all men, we find in the Holy Name the sign of the Redemp­tion extend­ed to all times and to the whole uni­verse. Under this Name we find “the lamb slain from the foun­da­tion of the world” (Rev­e­la­tion 13:8), “the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

All this does not gain­say or tend to lessen the objec­tive means of pen­i­tence and remis­sion of sins offered to us by the Church. We are here only con­cerned with the hid­den life of the soul. What we have in view is the inner abso­lu­tion which repen­tance pro­duced by char­i­ty already obtains, the abso­lu­tion which the pub­li­can received after his prayer in the tem­ple and of which the Gospel says: “This man went down to his house jus­ti­fied” (Luke 18:14).

6. THE NAME OF JESUS AND THE INCARNATION

… And the Word became flesh. John 1:14

We have con­sid­ered the “sav­ing” pow­er of the Holy Name; we must now go fur­ther. In pro­por­tion as the Name of Jesus grows with­in us, we grow in the knowl­edge of the divine mys­ter­ies. The Holy Name is not only a mys­tery of sal­va­tion, the ful­fill­ment of our needs, the abate­ment of our temp­ta­tions, the for­give­ness of our sins. The invo­ca­tion of the Name is also a means of apply­ing to our­selves the mys­tery of the Incarnation.lt is a pow­er­ful means of union with Our Lord. To be unit­ed to Christ is even more blessed than to stand before Him or to be saved through Him. Union is greater than pres­ence and med­i­ta­tion.

You may pro­nounce the Name of Jesus in order “that Christ may dwell in your hearts” (Eph­esians 3:17). You may, when His Name is formed on your lips, expe­ri­ence the real­i­ty of His com­ing in the soul: “I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev­e­la­tion 3:20). You may enthrone His Per­son and His Name, as sig­ni­fy­ing the Per­son, with­in your­selves “They have built Thee a sanc­tu­ary there­in for Thy name” (II Chron­i­cles 20:8). It is the “I in them” of Our Lord’s priest­ly prayer (John 17:26). Or we may throw our­selves into the Name and feel that we are the mem­bers of the Body of Christ and the branch­es of the true vine. “Abide in me” (John 15:4). Of course noth­ing can abol­ish the dif­fer­ence between the Cre­ator and the crea­ture. But there is, made pos­si­ble by the Incar­na­tion, a real union of mankind and of our own per­sons with Our Lord,–a union which the use of the Name of Jesus may express and strength­en.

Some anal­o­gy exists between the Incar­na­tion of The Word and the indwelling of the Holy Name with­in us. The Word was made flesh. Jesus became man. The inner real­i­ty of the Name of Jesus, hav­ing passed into our souls, over­flows into our bod­ies. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). The liv­ing con­tent of the Name enters phys­i­cal­ly into our­selves. “Thy Name is as oint­ment poured forth” (Song of Songs 1:3). The Name, if I repeat it with faith and love, becomes a strength able to par­a­lyze and over­come “the law of sin which is in my mem­bers” (Romans 7:23). We can also put on our­selves the Name of Jesus as a kind of phys­i­cal seal keep­ing our hearts and bod­ies pure and con­se­crat­ed: “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm” (Song of Songs 8:6). But this phys­i­cal seal is not a piece of wax or lead. It is the out­ward sign and the Name of the liv­ing Word.

7. THE NAME OF JESUS AND TRANSFIGURATION

… The ful­ness of Him that fil­leth all in all. Eph­esians 1:2–3

The use of the Holy Name not only brings anew the knowl­edge of our own union with Jesus in His Incar­na­tion. The Name is also an instru­ment by which we may obtain a wider view of Our Lord’s rela­tion to all that God has made. The Name of Jesus helps us ‘to trans­fig­ure the world into Christ (with­out any pan­the­is­tic con­fu­sion). Here is anoth­er aspect of the invo­ca­tion of the Name: it is a method of trans­fig­u­ra­tion.

It is so in regard to nature. The nat­ur­al uni­verse may be con­sid­ered as the hand­i­work of the Cre­ator: “… The Lord that made heav­en and earth” (Psalm 134:3) can be con­sid­ered as the vis­i­ble sym­bol of the invis­i­ble divine beau­ty:
“The heav­ens declare the glo­ry of God” (Psalm 19:1)“Consider the lilies of the field… ” (Matthew 6:28). And yet all this is insuf­fi­cient. Cre­ation is not sta­t­ic. It moves, striv­ing and groan­ing, towards Christ as its ful­fill­ment and end. “The whole cre­ation groaneth and tra­vail in pain” (Romans 8:22) till it be “deliv­ered from the bondage of cor­rup­tion into the glo­ri­ous lib­er­ty of the chil­dren of God” (Romans 8:21). What we call the inan­i­mate world is car­ried along by a Christ­ward move­ment. All things were con­verg­ing towards the Incar­na­tion. The nat­ur­al ele­ments and the prod­ucts of the earth, rock and wood, water and oil, corn and wine, were to acquire a new mean­ing and to become signs and means of grace. All cre­ation mys­te­ri­ous­ly utters the Name of Jesus: “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would imme­di­ate­ly cry out” (Luke 19:40). It is the utter­ance of this Name that Chris­tians should hear in nature. By pro­nounc­ing the Name of Jesus upon the nat­ur­al things, upon a stone or a tree, a fruit or a flower, the sea or a land­scape, or what­ev­er it is, the believ­er speaks aloud the secret of these things, he brings them to their ful­fill­ment, he gives an answer to their long and appar­ent­ly dumb await­ing. “For the earnest expec­ta­tion of the crea­ture wait­eth for the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the sons of God” (Romans 8.19). We shall say the Name Jesus in union with all cre­ation: “.,. at the name of Jesus every knee should, bow, of things in heav­en and things in earth and thing under the earth …” (Phüip­pi­ans 2.10).

The ani­mal world may also be trans­fig­ured by us. When Jesus remained forty days in the wilder­ness, he “was with the wild beasts” (Mark 1.13). We do not know what hap­pened, then, but we may be assured that no liv­ing crea­ture is left untouched by Jesus’ influ­ence. Jesus him­self said of the spar­rows that “not one of them is for­got­ten before God” (Luke 12.6). We are like Adam when he had to give a name to all the ani­mals. “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them” (Gen­e­sis 2.19). Sci­en­tists call them as they think fit. As to us, if we invoke the Name of Jesus upon the ani­mals, we give them back their prim­i­tive dig­ni­ty which we so eas­i­ly for­get, — the dig­ni­ty of liv­ing beings being cre­at­ed and cared for by God in Jesus and for Jesus. “That was the name there­of” (Gen­e­sis 2.19).

It is main­ly in rela­tion to men that we can exer­cise a min­istry of trans­fig­u­ra­tion. The risen Christ appeared sev­er­al times under an aspect which was no longer the one his dis­ci­ples knew. “He appeareth in anoth­er form…” (Mark 16.12); the form of a trav­eller on the road to Emmaus, or of a gar­den­er near the tomb, or of a stranger stand­ing on the shore of the lake. It was each time in the form of an ordi­nary man such as we may meet in our every­day life. Jesus thus illus­trat­ed an impor­tant aspect of his pres­ence among us, — his pres­ence in man. He was thus com­plet­ing what he had taught: “I was an hun­gered and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and ye gave me drink… naked and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye vis­it­ed me. I was in prison, and ye came unto me… Inas­much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25.35−36,40). Jesus appears now to us under the fea­tures of men and women. Indeed this human form is now the only one under which every­body can, at will, at any time and in any place, see the Face of Our Lord. Men of today are real­is­ti­cal­ly mind­ed; they do not live on abstrac­tions and phan­toms; and when the saints and the mys­tics come and tell them “We have seen the Lord”, they answer with Thomas: “Except I shall… put my fin­ger into the print of the nails and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20.25). Jesus accepts this chal­lenge. He allows Him­self to be seen and touched, and spo­ken to in the per­son of all his human brethren and sis­ters. To us as to Thomas He says: “Reach hith­er thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faith­less, but believ­ing” (John 20.27). Jesus shows us the poor, and the sick, and the sin­ners, and gen­er­al­ly all men, and tells us: “Behold, my hands and my feet… Han­dle me and see; for a spir­it hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24.39). Men and women are the flesh and bones, the hands and feet, the pierced side of Christ, — His mys­ti­cal Body. In them we can expe­ri­ence the real­i­ty of the Res­ur­rec­tion and the real pres­ence (though with­out con­fu­sion of essence) of the Lord Jesus. If we do not see Him, it is because of our unbe­lief and hard-heart­ed­ness: “Their eyes were hold­en that they should not know Him” (Luke 24.16). Now the Name of Jesus is a con­crete and pow­er­ful means of trans­fig­ur­ing men into their hid­den, inner­most, utmost real­i­ty. We should approach all men and women — in the street, the shop, the office, the fac­to­ry, the “bus, the queue, and espe­cial­ly those who seem irri­tat­ing and antipa­thet­ic — with the Name of Jesus in our heart and on our lips. We should pro­nounce His Name over them all, for their real name is the Name of Jesus. Name them with his Name, with­in His Name, in a spir­it of ado­ra­tion, ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice. Adore Christ in them, serve Christ in them. In many of these men and women — in the mali­cious, in the crim­i­nal — Jesus is impris­oned. Deliv­er Him by silent­ly rec­og­niz­ing and wor­ship­ping Him in them. If we go through the world with this new vision, say­ing “Jesus” over every man, see­ing Jesus in every man, every­body will be trans­formed and trans­fig­ured before our eyes. The more we are ready to give of our-selves to men, the more will the new vision be clear and vivid. The vision can­not be sev­ered from the gift. Right­ly did Jacob say to Esau, when they were rec­on­ciled: “I pray thee, if now I have
found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand, for there­fore I have seen thy face as though I had seen the face of God” (Gen­e­sis 33.10).

8. THE NAME OF JESUS AND THE CHURCH

… To gath­er togeth­er in one all things in Christ, both which are in heav­en and which are on earth. Eph­esians 1.10.

In pro­nounc­ing the Name of Jesus we inward­ly meet all them that are unit­ed with Our Lord, all them of whom He said: “Where two or three are gath­ered togeth­er in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Math­ew 18.20).
We should find all men in the heart of Jesus and in His love. We should throw all men into His Name and enclose them there­in. Long lists of inter-ces­sions are not nec­es­sary. We may apply the Name of Jesus to the name of this or that per­son who is in par­tic­u­lar need. But all men and all just caus­es are already gath­ered togeth­er with­in the Name of Our Lord. Adher­ing to Jesus is to become one with Him in His solic­i­tude and lov­ing kind­ness for them. Adher­ing to Our Lord’s own inter­ces­sion for them is bet­ter than to plead with Him on their behalf.

Where Jesus is, there is the Church. Who­ev­er is in Jesus is in the Church. If the invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name is a means of union with Our Lord, it is, also a means of union with that Church which is in Him and which no human sin can touch. This does not mean that we are clos­ing our eyes to the prob­lems of the Church on earth, to the imper­fec­tions and dis­uni­ty of Chris­tians. But we only deal here with this eter­nal, and spir­i­tu­al, and “unspot­ted” side of the Church which is implied in the Name of Jesus. The Church thus con­sid­ered tran­scends all earth­ly real­i­ty. No schism can rend her. Jesus said to the Samar­i­tan woman: “Believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall nei­ther in this moun­tain, nor yet at Jerusalem, wor­ship the Father.. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true wor­ship­pers shall wor­ship the Father in spir­it and in truth” (John 4 .1, 23). There is an appar­ent con­tra­dic­tion in the words of Our Lord: how could the hour be still com­ing and yet already be? This para­dox finds its expla­na­tion in the fact that the Samar­i­tan woman was then stand­ing before Christ. On the one hand the his­tor­i­cal oppo­si­tion between Jerusalem and Gariz­im still exist­ed, and Jesus, far from treat­ing it as a tri­fling cir­cum­stance, empha­sized the high­er claims of Jerusalem: ‘Ye wor­ship ye know not what. We know what we wor­ship: for sal­va­tion is of the Jews” (John 4.22).In that sense the hour was not yet, but was still com­ing. On the oth­er hand the hour already was, because the woman had before her Him who is greater than Jerusalem or Gariz­im, Him who “will tell us all things” (John 4.25) and in Whom alone we can ful­ly “wor­ship in spir­it and in truth” (John 4.24). The same sit­u­a­tion aris­es when, invok­ing the Name of Jesus, we cling to His Per­son. Assured­ly we do not believe that all the con­flict­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of the Gospel which we hear on earth are equal­ly true nor that the divid­ed Chris­t­ian groups have the same mea­sure of light. But, ful­ly pro­nounc­ing the Name of Jesus, entire­ly sur­ren­dered to His Per­son and His claims, we implic­it­ly share in the whole­ness of the Church, and so we expe­ri­ence her essen­tial uni­ty, deep­er than all our human sep­a­ra­tions.
The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus helps us to meet again, in Him, all our
depart­ed. Martha was wrong when, speak­ing of Lazarus, she said to our Lord: “I know that he shall rise again in the res­ur­rec­tion at the last day” (John 11.24). Over­look­ing the present she was pro­ject­ing all her faith into the future. Jesus cor­rect­ed her mis­take: “I am the res­ur­rec­tion and the life” (John 11.25). The life and the res­ur­rec­tion of the depart­ed is not mere­ly a future event (although the res­ur­rec­tion of the indi­vid­ual bod­ies is such). The per­son of the risen Christ already is the res­ur­rec­tion and the life of all men. Instead of try­ing to estab­lish — in our prayer, or in our mem­o­ry, or in our imag­i­na­tion — a direct spir­i­tu­al con­tact with our depart­ed, we should try to reach them with­in Christ, where their true life now is. One can, there­fore, say that the invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus is the best prayer for the depart­ed. The invo­ca­tion of the Name, giv­ing us the pres­ence of Our Lord, makes them also present to us. And our link­ing of the Holy Name with their own names is our work of love on their behalf.

These depart­ed, whose life is now hid­den with Christ, form the heav­en­ly Church. They belong to the total and eter­nal Church, of which the Church now mil­i­tant on earth is but a very small part. We meet in the Name of Jesus the whole com­pa­ny of the Saints: “His Name shall be in their fore­heads” (Rev­e­la­tion 22.4). In it we meet the angels; it is Gabriel who, first on earth, announced the Holy Name, say­ing to Mary: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus” (Luke 1.31). In it we meet the woman “blessed among women” to whom Gabriel spoke these words and who so often called her son by His name. May the Holy Spir­it make us desire to hear the Name of Jesus as the Vir­gin Mary first beard it and to repeat that Name as Mary and Gabriel uttered it! May our own invo­ca­tion of the Name enter this abyss of ado­ra­tion, obe­di­ence and ten­der­ness!

9. THE NAME OF JESUS AS EUCHARIST

… This do in remem­brance of me. Luke, 22.1,9

The mys­tery of the Upper Room was a sum­ming ‑up of the whole life and mis­sion of Our Lord. The sacra-men­tal Eucharist lies out­side the scope of the present con­sid­er­a­tions. But there is a “eucharistie” use of the Name of Jesus in which all the aspects which we have seen till now are gath­ered and uni­fied.
Our soul also is an Upper Room where an invis­i­ble Lord’s Sup­per may be cel­e­brat­ed at any time. Our Lord secret­ly tells us, as of old: “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you (Luke 22.15) • • • Where is the guest-cham­ber where I shall eat the passover with my dis­ci­ples (Luke 22.11)… There make ready” (Luke 22.11). These words do not sole­ly apply to the vis­i­ble Lord’s Sup­per. They also apply to his inte­ri­or Eucharist, which, though only spir­i­tu­al is very real. In the vis­i­ble Eucharist Jesus is offered under the signs of bread and wine. In the Eucharist with­in us He can be sig­ni­fied and des­ig­nat­ed by His Name alone. There­fore the invo­ca­tion of Holy Name may be made by us a Eucharist.

The orig­i­nal mean­ing of “eucharist” is: thanks­giv­ing. Our inner Lord’s Sup­per will first be a thanks-giv­ing over the great gift, the gift made to us by the Father in the per­son of His Son. “By him… let us offer the sac­ri­fice of praise to God con­tin­u­al­ly…” (Hebrews 13.15). The Scrip­ture imme­di­ate­ly explains the nature of this sac­ri­fice of praise: “… that is, the fruit of our lips giv­ing thanks to His name.” So the idea of the Name is linked with that of thanks­giv­ing. Not only may we, while pro­nounc­ing Jesus’ Name, thank the Father for hav­ing giv­en us His Son or direct our praise towards the Name of the Son him­self, but we may make of the Name of the Son the sub­stance and sup­port of the sac­ri­fice of praise ren­dered to the Father, the expres­sion of our grat­i­tude and our offer­ing, of thanks.

Every Eucharist is an offer­ing. “That they may offer unto the Lord an offer­ing in right­eous­ness ” (Malachi 3.3). We can­not offer to the Father a bet­ter offer­ing than the per­son of His Son Jesus. This offer­ing alone is wor­thy of the Father. Our offer­ing of Jesus to His Father is one with the offer­ing which Jesus is eter­nal­ly mak­ing of Him­self, for how could we, alone, offer Christ? In order to give a con­crete shape to our offer­ing we shall prob­a­bly find it help­ful to pro­nounce the Name of Jesus. We shall present the Holy Name to God as though it were bread and wine.

The Lord, in His Sup­per, offered to His dis­ci­ples bread which was bro­ken and wine which was shed. He offered a life which was giv­en, His body and blood ready for the immo­la­tion. When we inward­ly offer Jesus to his Father, we shall always offer Him as a vic­tim— both slain and tri­umphant: “Wor­thy is the Lamb that was slain to receive… hon­or, and glo­ry, and bless­ing” (Rev­e­la­tion 5.12). Let us pro­nounce the Name of Jesus with the aware­ness that we are washed and made “white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev­e­la­tion 7.14). This is the sac­ri­fi­cial use of the Holy Name. This does not mean that we think of a new sac­ri­fice of the cross. The Holy Name, sac­ri­fi­cial­ly used, is but a means to apply to us, here and now, the fruits of the obla­tion once for all made and per­fect. It helps us, in the exer­cise of the uni­ver­sal priest­hood, to make spir­i­tu­al­ly actu­al and, present the eter­nal sac­ri­fice of Christ. The sac­ri­fi­cial use of the Name of Jesus will also remind us that we can­not be one with Jesus, priest and vic­tim if we do not offer with­in Him, with­in His Name, our own soul and body: “In burnt offer­ings and sac­ri­fices for sin thou hast had no plea­sure : Then said I, Lo, I come” (Hebrews 10.6−7).

There is no Lord’s Sup­per with­out a com­mu­nion. Our inner Eucharist also is what tra­di­tion has called “spir­i­tu­al com­mu­nion”, that is, a feed­ing by faith on the Body and Blood of Christ with­out using the vis­i­ble ele­ments of bread and wine. “The bread of God is he which cometh down from heav­en, and giveth life unto the world… I am that bread of life” (John 6.33,48). Jesus always re-mains the bread of life which we can receive as a food, even when we do not par­take of any sacra­men­tal ele­ment : “It is the spir­it that quick­eneth; The flesh prof­iteth noth­ing” (John 6.63). We can have a pure­ly spir­i­tu­al and invis­i­ble access to the Body and Blood of Christ. This Inner, but very real, mode of approach to Our Lord is some­thing dis­tinct from any oth­er approach to His Per­son, for here is a spe­cial gift and ben­e­fit, a spe­cial grace, a spe­cial rela­tion­ship between Our Lord, as both feed­er and food, and our­selves par­tak­ing (though invis­i­bly) ofthat food. Now this spir­i­tu­al com­mu­nion of the divine Bread of life, of the Body and Blood of the Sav­iour, becomes eas­i­er when it is giv­en expres­sion in the Holy Name, receiv­ing from the Name of Jesus its shape, its frame and sup­port. We can pro­nounce the Name of Our Lord with the spe­cial inten­tion of feed­ing our soul on it, or rather on the sacred Body and pre­cious Blood which we try to approach through it. Such a com­mu­nion maybe renewed as often as we desire. Far from us the error of treat­ing light­ly or low­er­ing in esteem the Lord’s Sup­per as prac­tised in the Church. But it is to be hoped that every­body who fol­lows the way
of the Name may expe­ri­ence that the Name of Jesus is a spir­i­tu­al food and com­mu­ni­cates to hun­gry souls the Bread of life. “Lord, ever­more give us this bread” (John 6.34). In this bread, in this Name, we find our­selves unit­ed with all them that share in the same Mes­sian­ic meal: “We being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all par­tak­ers ofthat one bread” (i Corinthi­ans 10.17).

Through the Eucharist we “do show the Lord’s death till he come” (i Corinthi­ans 11.26). The Eucharist is an antic­i­pa­tion of the eter­nal King­dom. This “eucharistie” use of the Name of Jesus leads us to its “escha­to­log­i­cal” use, that is, to the invo­ca­tion of the Name in con­nec­tion with the “end” and with the Com­ing of Our Lord. Each invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name should be an ardent aspi­ra­tion to our final re-union with Jesus in be heav­en­ly king­dom. Such an aspi­ra­tion is relat­ed to the end of the world and the tri­umphal Com­ing of Christ, but it has a near­er rela­tion to the occa­sion­al (and, as we should ask, more and more fre­quent) break­ings in of Christ into our earth­ly exis­tence, His won­der­ful forcible entrances into our, every­day life, and still more to the Com­ing of Christ to us at the time of our death . There is a way of say­ing “Jesus” which is a prepa­ra­tion for death, an aspi­ra­tion towards death con­ceived as the long-expect­ed appear­ing of the Friend “whom hav­ing not seen, ye love” (i Peter 1.8), a call for this supreme meet­ing, and here and now a throw­ing of our heart beyond the bar­ri­er. In that way of say­ing “Jesus”, the long­ing utter­ance of Paul, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear. .. ” (Colos­sians 3.4) and the cry of John, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev­e­la­tion 22.20), are already implied.

10. THE NAME OF JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

… I saw the Spir­it descend­ing from heav­en like a dove, and it abode upon him. John, 1–32

The Name of Jesus occu­pied a pre-emi­nent place in the mes­sage and action of the Apos­tles. They were preach­ing in the Name of Jesus, heal­ing the sick in His Name; they were say­ing to God: “Grant unto thy ser­vants… that signs and won­ders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus” (Acts 4.29,30). Through them “the name of the Lord Jesus was mag­ni­fied” (Acts 19.17). It is only after Pen­te­cost that the Apos­tles announced the Name “with pow­er”. Jesus had told them: ‘Ye shall receive pow­er, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1.8). In this “Pen­te­costal” use of the Name of Jesus we find clear evi­dence of the link between the Spir­it and the Name. Such a Pen­te­costal use of the Name is not restrict­ed to the Apos­tles. It is not only of the Apos­tles, but of all “them that believe” that Jesus said : “In. my name shall they cast out dev­ils; they shall speak with new tongues… they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recov­er” (Mark 16.17−18). Only our lack of bold faith and char­i­ty pre­vents us from call­ing upon the Name in the pow­er of the Spir­it. If we real­ly fol­low the way of the Name, a time must come when we become able (with­out pride, with­out look­ing at our­selves) to man­i­fest the glo­ry of Our Lord and to help oth­er men through “signs”. He whose heart is become a ves­sel of the Holy Name should not hes­i­tate to go about and repeat to those who need spir­i­tu­al or bod­i­ly relief the words of Peter: “Sil­ver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3.6). o that the Spir­it of Pen­te­cost may come and write with­in us the Name of Jesus in flames!

The Pen­te­costal use of the Name is but one aspect of our approach to the Holy Ghost through the Name of Jesus. The Name will lead us to some oth­er and more inward expe­ri­ences of the Spir­it. While pro­nounc­ing the Name we may obtain a glimpse of the rela­tion­ship between the Spir­it and Jesus. There is a cer­tain atti­tude of the Spir­it towards Jesus and a cer­tain atti­tude of Jesus towards the Spir­it. In repeat­ing the Name of Jesus we find our­selves at the cross­roads, so to speak, where these two “move­ments” meet.

When Jesus was bap­tized “The Holy Ghost descend­ed in a bod­i­ly shape like a dove upon Him” (Luke 3.22). The descent of the dove is the best expres­sion of the atti­tude of the Spir­it towards Our Lord. Now let us, while say­ing the Name of Jesus, try to coin­cide, if we may say with the Jesus-ward move­ment of the Spir­it, with the Spir­it direct­ed by the Father’ towards Jesus, look­ing to Jesus, com­ing to Jesus. Let us try to unite our­selves — as much as a crea­ture can unite itself to a divine action — to this flight of the dove (“Oh that I had wings like a dove…” (Psalm 55.6)) and to the ten­der feel­ings expressed by her voice: “The voice of the tur­tle is heard in our land” (Song of Songs 2.12). Before mak­ing “inter­ces­sion for us with groan­ings which can­not be uttered” (Romans 8.26), the Spir­it was and eter­nal­ly remain sigh­ing after Jesus. The book of Rev­e­la­tion shows us the Spir­it, togeth­er with the Bride (that is, the Church), cry­ing to Our Lord. When we utter the Name of Jesus, we can con­ceive it as the sigh and aspi­ra­tion of the Holy Ghost, as the expres­sion of the Spir­it’s desire and yearn­ing. We shall thus be admit­ted (accord­ing to our fee­ble human capac­i­ty) into the-mys­tery of the lov­ing rela­tion-ship between the Holy Ghost and the Son.

Con­verse­ly the Name of Jesus may also help us to coin­cide with the atti­tude of Our Lord towards the Spir­it. Jesus was con­ceived by Mary “of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1.20). He remained dur­ing His whole earth­ly life (and still remains) the per­fect receiv­er of the Gift, He let the Spir­it take com­plete pos­ses­sion of Him, being “led up of the Spir­it” (Matthew 4.1) or dri­ven by it. He cast out dev­ils “by the Spir­it of God” (Matthew 12.28). He returned from the desert “in the pow­er of the Spir­it” (Luke 4.14). He declared: “The Spir­it of the Lord is upon me” (Luke 4.18). In all this Jesus shows a hum­ble docil­i­ty towards the Holy Ghost. In pro­nounc­ing the Name of Jesus we can (as far as it is giv­en to man) make our­selves one with Him in this sur­ren­der to the Spir­it. But we can also make our­selves one with Him as with the start­ing point from which the Spir­it is sent to men: “He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16–15)… I will send him unto you” (John 14.7). We can see the Name of Jesus as the focus from which the Spir­it radi­ates towards mankind: we can see Jesus as the mouth from which Spir­it is breathed. Thus, in the utter­ance of the Name of Jesus, we can asso­ciate our­selves with these two moments: the fill­ing of Jesus with the Spir­it, the send­ing of the Spir­it by Jesus. To grow in the invo­ca­tion of the Holy Name is to grow in the knowl­edge of the “Spir­it of his Son” (Gala­tians 4.6).

11. THE NAME OF JESUS AND THE FATHER

… He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. John, 14–9

Our read­ing of the Gospel will remain super­fi­cial as long as we only see in it a mes­sage direct­ed to men or a life turned towards men. The very heart of the Gospel is the hid­den rela­tion­ship of Jesus with the Father. The secret of the Gospel is Jesus turned towards Him. This is the fun­da­men­tal mys­tery of the life of Our Lord. The invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus may afford us some real, though faint and tran­sient, par­tak­ing in that mys­tery.
“In the begin­ning was the Word” (John 1.1). The Per­son of Jesus is the liv­ing Word spo­ken by the Father. As the Name of Jesus, by a spe­cial divine dis­pen­sa­tion, has been cho­sen to mean the liv­ing Word uttered by the Father, we may say that this Name par-takes to some extent in this eter­nal utter­ance. In a some-what anthro­po­mor­phic man­ner (easy to cor­rect) we might say that the Name of Jesus is the only human word which the Father eter­nal­ly pro­nounces. The Father eter­nal­ly begets His word. He gives Him­self eter­nal­ly in the beget­ting of the Word. If we endeav­our to approach the Father through the invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus, we have first, while pro­nounc­ing the Name, to con­tem­plate Jesus as the object of the Father’s love and self-giv­ing. We have to feel (in our lit­tle way) the out­pour­ing of this love and this gift on the Son. We have already seen the dove descend­ing upon Him. It remains to hear the Father’s voice say­ing: “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3.22).

And now we must humbly enter into the fil­ial con­scious­ness of Jesus. After hav­ing found in the word “Jesus” the Father’s utter­ance: “My Son ! “, we ought to find it in the Son’s utter­ance: “My Father ! Jesus has no oth­er aim than to declare the Father and be His Word. Not only have all Jesus’ actions, dur­ing His earth­ly life, been acts of per­fect obe­di­ence to the Father “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me” (John 4.34); not only has the sac­ri­fi­cial death of Jesus ful­filled the supreme require­ment of the divine love (of which the Father is the source): “Greater love hath no man than this, that a may lay down his life…” (John 15.13) — not only the deeds of Jesus, but His whole being were the per­fect expres­sion of the Father. Jesus is “the bright­ness of his glo­ry, and the express image of his per­son” (Hebrews 1.3). The Word was “towards God” (John 1.1) — the trans­la­tion “with God” is inac­cu­rate. It is this eter­nal ori­en­ta­tion of the Son towards the Father, his eter­nal turn­ing to Him, which we should expe­ri­ence with­in the Name of Jesus. There is more in the Holy Name than the “turn­ing to” the Father. In say­ing “Jesus” we can in some mea­sure join togeth­er the Father and the Son, we can real­ize and appro­pri­ate their one­ness. At the very moment when we utter the Holy Name, Jesus Him­self says to us as He said to Philip: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me?… Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (John 14.10,11).

12. THE NAME AND THE TOTAL PRESENCE

… that ye may be filled unto all the ful­ness … Eph­esians 3.19

We have con­sid­ered the main aspects of the invo­ca­tion of the Name of Jesus. We have dis­posed them accord­ing to a kind of ascend­ing scale, and we think that this scale cor­re­sponds to the nor­mal progress of the life of the soul. Nev­er­the­less God, who, “giveth not the Spir­it by mea­sure” (John 3.34), over­pass­es all our lim­its. These aspects of the Name inter­min­gle; a begin­ner may straight­way be raised to the high­est per­cep­tion of the con­tent of the Name, while some­body who has been wait­ing on the Name for years may not go beyond the ele­men­tary stages (it is not this that mat­ters, the only thing that mat­ters is to do what Our Lord wants us to do). So the pat­tern which we have fol­lowed is, to a large extent, arti­fi­cial and has but a rel­a­tive val­ue.

This becomes quite evi­dent to any­body who has had some expe­ri­ence of all the aspects of the Name which have been described here. At that stage — the reach­ing of which does not nec­es­sar­i­ly imply a greater per­fec­tion, but often some intel­lec­tu­al and spir­i­tu­al acu­men, some quick­ness of per­cep­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion con­cern­ing the things of God — it becomes dif­fi­cult, even weari­some and tedious, and some­times even impos­si­ble, to con­cen­trate on this or that par­tic­u­lar aspect of the Name of Jesus, how­ev­er lofty it may be. Our invo­ca­tion and con­sid­er­a­tion of the Holy Name then becomes glob­al. We become simul­ta­ne­ous­ly aware of all the impli­ca­tions of the Name. We say “Jesus”, and we are rest­ing in the full­ness and total­i­ty of the Name of Our Lord; we are unable to dis­join and iso­late its diverse aspects, and yet we feel that all of them are there, as a unit­ed whole. The Holy Name is then bear­ing the whole Christ and intro­duces us to His total Pres­ence.

This total Pres­ence is more than the Pres­ence of prox­im­i­ty and the Pres­ence of indwelling of which we have already spo­ken. It is the actu­al “given­ness” of all the real­i­ties to which the Name may have been for us an approach: Sal­va­tion, Incar­na­tion, Trans­fig­u­ra­tion, Church, Eucharist, Spir­it and Father. It is then that we appre­hend “what is the breadth and length and depth and height…” (Eph­esians 3.18), and that we per­ceive what to “gath­er togeth­er in one all things in Christ” (Eph­esians 1.10) means.

This total Pres­ence is all. The Name is noth­ing with­out the Pres­ence. He who is able con­stant­ly to live in the total Pres­ence of Our Lord does not need the Name. The Name is only an incen­tive to and a sup­port to the Pres­ence. A time may come, even here on earth, when we have to dis­card the Name itself and to become free from every­thing but the name­less and unut­ter­able liv­ing con­tact with the per­son of Jesus.

When we sep­a­rate­ly con­sid­er the aspects or impli­ca­tions of the Name of Jesus, our invo­ca­tion of the Name is like a prism which splits up a beam of white light into the sev­er­al col­ors of the spec­trum. When we call on the “total Name” (and the total Pres­ence) we are using the Name as a lens which receives and con­cen­trates the white light. Through the means of a lens a ray of the sun can ignite some com­bustible sub­stance. The Holy Name is this lens. Jesus is the burn­ing Light which the Name, act­ing as a lens, can gath­er and direct till a fire is kin­dled with­in us. “I am come to send fire on the earth…” (Luke 12.49).

The Scrip­ture often promis­es a spe­cial bless­ing to them that cal­Lon the Name of the Lord. We may apply to the Name of Jesus which is said of the Name of God. We shall there­fore repeat: “Look upon me, and be mer­ci­ful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name” (Psalm 119.132). And of every one of us may the Lord say what he said to Saul: “He is a cho­sen ves­sel unto me, to bear my name…” (Acts 9.15).