The Most Holy Name

                                       The Most Holy Name

     On this Tuesday’s Gospel (Jn 1: 32-34) John the Baptist says : ” I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon Him. I did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me,  ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, He is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.”

     This past New Year’s Eve my wife and I could have spent the time in an anonymous bar, or in front of the TV, half-a-sleep, drinking. Instead we had the opportunity to go to a chapel in St Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Queens, and wait for the new year in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We were singing songs with the people, praying, looking at Him in silence, realizing that here was Jesus, the Blessed, Living Name, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”(Jn 1:29b)

     This event could only have been possible through the efforts of two children of God, Grace and Maria. They arranged it with the parish priests. They invited whomever could make it. They prepared the sheets with songs and prayer. They hauled and provided all this food to be shared afterwards in the church hall. And they led us in song, with their guitar accompaniment, singing in such lovely harmony, like two angels.

     I could not help but feel the Spirit of God ” Come down and remain ” upon them, as I have often felt it in their presence before. I did not see a dove, or a halo over their heads. I saw their humanity, the precious humanity that we share with our Lord. Their presence leads me to whisper in my mind the Most Holy Name:  “Jesus”.

     I have experienced the same phenomenon countless times at the Immaculate Conception Monastery, and Passionist Retreat House in Jamaica, New York. Here, these holy men, priests, prophets, servants, have touched my life in so many ways. They guide me, inspire me, correct me, accept me. They have given me their friendship in God. Yes, what they say and how they say it has great power. What they do is so admirable. But it is their very selves, the invisible light that I feel emanating from their presence, that makes me think,

“Jesus, Son of God”.

     In Tuesday’s first reading, the first letter of St John, it says, ” Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know  that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope based on Him makes himself pure, as He is pure.”

I know that these Passionists are only men, like me, but the hope that I see in their eyes is what gives me the strength to hope that purity is possible, because

“We are God’s children now”.

    A number of them, people I came to love, have left us in the past year. I miss them. But I just know that what they truly are has now been ” revealed to them”, that they ” have seen Him as He is”. And I just have to smile and think, ” Jesus, blessed be Your Name”.

     On New Year’s Day, my wife and I were walking through the woods in Alley Pond Park, Queens. We passed a couple with their big dog. I didn’t even look at them. I was afraid of the dog, and I didn’t like the man’s face. A friendly voice came from beside me wishing them, “Happy New Year”. With such lovely smiles on their faces the couple answered back in kind. Even the dog seemed friendly. This interchange was started by my beloved wife, Berta, who more and more each day seems to have the Spirit of Love ” come down and remain ‘” with her. I am so grateful to God because so many times she sets me straight and reminds me of Whose child I am, and of what I can become. And I just smile and say ” Jesus, Son of God, thank you. Blessed be Your Name!”.          

                      Orlando Hernández

1 thought on “The Most Holy Name

  1. cenaclemary12

    You are blessed to have each other as a blessing! Wherever we re, we can plant seeds of love. Pope Francis quoted this prayer in his address to his advisors last year. He invited  them to look into the future with faith. God’s plan is unfolding, even if we don’t see it.
    “Every now and then it helps us to take a step back and to see things from a distance.
    The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is also beyond our visions.
    In our lives, we manage to achieve only a small part of the marvelous plan that is God’s work.
    Nothing that we do is complete, which is to say that the Kingdom is greater than ourselves.
    No statement says everything that can be said. No prayer completely expresses the faith.
    No Creed brings perfection. No pastoral visit solves every problem.
    No program fully accomplishes the mission of the Church.
    No goal or purpose ever reaches completion.
    This is what it is about: We plant seeds that one day will grow.
    We water seeds already planted, knowing that others will watch over them.
    We lay the foundations of something that will develop.
    We add the yeast which will multiply our possibilities.
    We cannot do everything, yet it is liberating to begin.
    This gives us the strength to do something and to do it well.
    It may remain incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.
    It is an opportunity for the grace of God to enter and to do the rest.
    It may be that we will never see its completion,
    but that is the difference between the master and the laborer.
    We are laborers, not master builders, servants, not the Messiah.
    We are prophets of a future that does not belong to us.”


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