At the Name of Jesus, Every Knee Should Bend.

The Seventh Wednesday of Easter; or, the Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest.

Lessons from the feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Acts 20: 28-38.
• Psalm 68: 29-30, 33-36.
• John 17: 11-19.

The Third Class Feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Confessor.

First lesson from the common, second lesson from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Ecclesiasticus 31: 8-11.
• Matthew 19: 27-29.*

The Feast of the Holy Martyr Thaleleus.

Lessons from the pentecostarion, according to the typicon of the Byzantine-Ruthenian Rite:

• Acts 23: 1-11.
• John 16: 15-23.

9:13 AM 5/20/2015 — Today we are blessed to celebrate the Memorial of Saint Bernardine of Siena, of whom we spoke way back in January, just after the Octave of Christmas, on the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. His full name was Bernardine Albizechi, and he was born in 1380 in Siena to a very noble family, but was known, even as a very young man, for his devotion to the Mother of God and for the poor; he spent a lot of time performing works of mercy and charity at the Santa Maria della Scala hospital in Siena. When he came to consider the religious life, he was led by God to choose the Franciscan order, in which he was known for his humility and patience, and in which he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood.
     He suffered from a speech impediment which afflicted him with a very weak and hoarse voice, so he was a little agitated when his superiors decided that he should devote himself to preaching; but, being an obedient friar, he applied himself to the task, and found that, as a result of his obedience, God blessed him with a cure of this handicap, and he became a very effective preacher, traveling all over Italy which, at that time, had fallen into a condition of spiritual and moral decline. He fought against this by preaching that devotion which we know today as the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
     He was not a simple soul, but was quite versed in the Fathers of the Church, and took as an emblem for his preaching of the Holy Name an ancient monogram from the third century which appears to us to read “IHS.” You see it often on the covers of books and missals, and you often see it embroidered on liturgical vestments. In fact, these vestments I'm wearing now, which I typically wear only on Sundays and feasts, display this emblem, which is why I wore them today. Everyone recognizes the monogram, but a lot of people don't know what it means; they either think it stands for something in Latin, or else they come up with their own bizarre theories: you might remember, back at Christmas time, I mentioned that I had once met someone who actually tried to tell me that the reason it's displayed on a priest's vestments, especially those which are very old fashioned like these, is because it stands for “In His Service.” Well, it doesn't. It's really very simple: it's the first three letters of the name “Jesus” in Greek.
     Several times each day we pray the Hail Mary. It's official title, as you know, is the Angelic Salutation, and it comes from chapter one of Luke's Gospel, in which the angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin with the words: “Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1: 28 Knox). When it started to become popular as a prayer in the 11th century, the name of the Mother of God was inserted into it, and it started the take the form we know today: “Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui—Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” But it was Bernardine of Siena, as part of his preaching about the Most Holy Name, who first added the Holy Name of Jesus to the end of that sentence.
     So, on his memorial today, let's include, in the intentions that each of us bring to this Holy Sacrifice, a prayer that the Most Holy Name of Jesus, so often used today in profane and godless ways, will be given the respect that the name of God deserves, so that the words of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Philippians might be fulfilled: “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (2: 10-11 NABRE).

* The Gradual Psalm continues to be omitted through Ascensiontide to the end of the Octave of Pentecost, resuming thereafter for the rest of the Pentecost season.