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Meditation for a Short Novena to the Holy Name

St. Alphonsus De Liguori

Among the Jews a male child received his name at the rite of circumcision. On the day that the Divine Infant was circumcised, He received the Name of Jesus, which signifies Savior, and which had given Him by the Angel before he was conceived.

The angel Gabriel said to Mary, "Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a Son and give Him the Name Jesus. Great will be His dignity and He will be called Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:30-31).

The Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said to him, "Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this Child. She is to have a Son and You are to name Him Jesus because he will save His people from their sins" (Mathew 1:20-21).

Jesus taught the disciples to present their petitions to the Eternal Father in His Name. "I give you My assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in My name. Until now you have not asked for anything in My Name. Ask you shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24). Jesus assured them that by reason of the merits of His redemption, the power of such prayer would be irresistible.

But the greatness of that power would depend largely on their loyalty to and love for Him. Since those who love Jesus remain in Him, prayer offered in His Name is, as it were, His own.

Faith in Jesus and in the power of His Holy Name is the greatest spiritual force in the world today. It is a source of joy and inspiration in our youth; of strength in our manhood, when only His Holy Name and His grace can enable us to overcome temptation; of hope, consolation, and confidence at the hour of our death, when more than ever before, we realize that the meaning of Jesus is "Lord, the Savior." We should bow in reverence to His Name and submission to His Holy Will.

In His last discourse with His Apostles He said, "I go to the Father, and whatever you ask in My Name I will do, so as to glorify the Father in the Son. Anything you ask Me in My Name I will do" (John 14:12-13). Our Lord's words are a consolation and encouragement to persevere in prayer. It is good to know on His own testimony that our heavenly Father never grows weary of listening to our petitions. Jesus also assures us that he will grant our prayers if we ask in His Name.

But we must never forget that God may refuse our request, not because He does not love us, He may refuse our request either because what we ask may be harmful to us, or because He has good reason for delaying to grant our petition, or because He desires that we should ask it more urgently. We should submissively adore the wisdom of our God if He altogether withholds the favor we implore.

Taken from the Ascetical Works, Vol. IV., The Incarnation. Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ; or The Mysteries of the Faith. by Saint Alphonsus De Liguori, Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Agatha, and founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.

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