Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P. in The Wonders of the Holy Name reminds the reader of the strong relationship between the saints and the Holy Name. He writes, “All the Saints had an immense love for and trust in the Name of Jesus. They saw in this name, as in a clear vision, all the love of Our Lord, all His Power, all the beautiful things He said and did when on earth….They did all their wonderful works in the Name of Jesus. They worked miracles, cast out devils, cured the sick and gave comfort to everyone, using and recommending to all the habit of invoking the Holy Name. St. Peter and the Apostles converted the world with this all-powerful Name.” (p.19)
Fr. O’Sullivan offers a lengthy list of saints who rose to great heights of sanctity due to their love of the Name of Jesus. Noting Fr. O’Sullivan’s caveat—that to list all the miracles wrought through the Holy Name would be impossible because, of course, every miracle is performed through it—he cites some exceptional examples of saintly devotion to the Name of Jesus.
We read about “St. Vincent Ferrer, one of the most famous preachers that the world has ever heard” who “converted 80,000 Jews and 70,000 Moors…This great Saint burned with love for the Name of Jesus and with this Divine Name worked extraordinary wonders.” (26)
We learn about St. Frances of Rome who “enjoyed the extraordinary privilege of constantly seeing and speaking to her Angel Guardian. When she pronounced the Name of Jesus, the Angel was radiant with happiness and bent down in loving adoration. Sometimes the devil appeared to her, seeking to frighten her and do her harm. But when she pronounced the Holy Name, he was filled with rage and hatred and fled in terror from her presence.” (28)
And then there’s St. Gemma Galgani: “Almost in our own day this dear girl Saint also had the privilege of frequent and intimate converse with her Angel Guardian. Sometimes the Angel and Gemma entered into a holy contest as to which of them could say more lovingly the Name of Jesus. (29)
Or St. Edmund, to whom the Christ Child appeared, instructing him to making the Sign of the Cross before bed while saying, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” to be delivered from an unprovided-for death” (28).
Or Blessed Catherine of Racconigi, a spiritual daughter of St. Dominic, “who repeated frequently and lovingly the Name of Jesus, so that after her death, the Name of Jesus was found engraved in letters of gold on her heart” (29).
Fr. O’Sullivan encourages us in this devotion, and if we’re faithful to it “the Name of Jesus will be emblazoned on our souls for all Eternity in the sight of the Saints and Angels in Heaven,” which would be pretty awesome. But it’d be enough to simply be able to do the dishes without descending into a black pit of discouragement. Or to be able to smile while getting the children off to school. Or not have such ugly thoughts while checking Facebook. To be more courageous when everyone at home is being grouchy. To happily rise above the petty annoyances of the day. In short, to stop looking like a pickled pepper, like Pope Francis warned against.