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St. Bernard on the Name of Jesus

January 2, 2017

From Faith and Life, here is an excerpt from St. Bernard on the Name of Jesus:

“His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Father of the age to come, the Prince of Peace.” Great names indeed. But where is the name that is above every name, the Name of Jesus, in which every knee shall bow? Perhaps you will find in all these names that one Name, but drawn out at length and poured forth. For it is that of which the Spouse says in the song of love, “Thy Name is ointment poured forth.” Therefore you have, out of all these titles, the one name Jesus; nor could He at all be called or be a Saviour, if by chance one of these were wanting. Have we not each of us found Him to be truly Wonderful, in the change wrought on our wills? For this is the beginning of our salvation, when we begin to loathe what we used to love, to be pained by what once gave us pleasure, to embrace what once we feared, to follow what we fled from, to wish for what we despised. Truly Wonderful is He who works such wonders. But not the less needful is it that He should show Himself a Counsellor, in our choice of penitence and setting in order of our life; lest haply we should have zeal without knowledge, and prudence should be lacking to good will.  It is also necessary that we should prove Him to be God, that is, in the remission of our past sins; for without this, salvation is impossible to us; and no one can forgive sins but God alone. But not even this would suffice for our salvation; we must also find Him to be mighty in defeating our assailants, lest we should again be overcome by the same lusts, and our latter end be worse than our beginning. Does any thing still seem lacking for a Saviour? Certainly the main point of all would be lacking, unless He were also Father of the age to come, that is, that through Him we might rise again to immortality, having been begotten for death by the father of the present world. Neither is this enough, if He did not also, as Prince of Peace, reconcile us to the Father, to whom He is to deliver the kingdom; lest, haply, as children of perdition, not of salvation, we should seem destined to rise again unto punishment.

St. Bernard, Second Sermon on the Circumcision.

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