The Name of Jesus Makes a Contemplative Man

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Richard Rolle

My favourite representative of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus is the delightfully eccentric and utterly incandescent Richard Rolle, a mystic of fourteenth century England. Richard Rolle associated the Name of Jesus with three things: calor, heat; dulcor, sweetness; and canor, song. Listen to his teaching:

If you will be well with God, and have grace to rule your life, and come to the joy of love: this name Jesus, fasten it so fast in your heart that it come never out of your thought. And when you speak to him, and through custom say, "Jesus," it shall be in your ear, joy; in your mouth; honey; and in your heart, melody: for men shall think joy to hear that name be named, sweetness to speak it, mirth, and song to think it.
If you think the name "Jesus" continually, and hold it firmly, it purges your sin, and kindles your heart; it clarifies your soul, it removes anger and does away slowness. It wounds in love and fulfills charity.
It chases the devil, and puts out dread. It opens heaven, and makes a contemplative man. Have Jesus in mind, for that puts all vices and phantoms out from the lover.

Into Modern Times

The spirituals of the mystical invasion of the Grand Siècle -- Bérulle, Olier, Marie de l'Incarnation, and a multitude of others -- were enamoured of the Sacred Name of Jesus. Practices and devotions proliferated in honour of the Holy Name.

Across the Channel, persecuted Irish Catholics and English recusants sustained their faith by repeating the invocation: Ihesu, Ihesu, Ihesu, esto mihi Jhesus -- "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, be to me a Jesus." At the Carmel of Tours in the nineteenth century, Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre and her lay collaborator, the saintly Monsieur Dupont, associated the Holy Name of Jesus with devotion to the Holy Face, giving rise to a popular movement of reparation and adoration that continues into the present day.

In every generation the Holy Spirit has whispered the adorable Name of Jesus to the Churches, inspiring new expressions of what remains unchanged from age to age, the confession of Saint Peter in the Acts of the Apostles: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Ac 4:12).

1 Comments

In a sense, this is very much connected to the Eastern "Jesus Prayer", wouldn't you say, Father?

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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