Our newly beatified Bl. Solanus Casey was known to have a great love for The Mystical City of God, a history of the life of Our Lady said to have been revealed by her to Ven. Mary of Agreda in the seventeenth century. Because of my mom’s great love for Bl. Solanus, she decided to read the book that was so dear to him, and she fell in love with it as well, and has talked about it ever since — well over thirty years. In fact, her tattered copy of it is a fixture in my memories of my childhood home.
(It’s important to note that the contents of The Mystical City of God consist of private revelation, and are therefore not required to be believed by the faithful. [see CCC, no. 67])
I was looking through the book recently for the first time, and discovered a section regarding the naming of Jesus. Thanks to the St. Andrew Novena, I’d already been meditating frequently this Advent on “the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold,” and because my own experiences with giving birth have included the naming of the baby as soon as he’s born, I’d forgotten that Jesus wouldn’t have been named until His circumcision eight days later. But also, I’d never thought about His actual naming, beyond simply the acknowledgment that He would be known as Jesus per God’s instruction, and I loved reading this bit:
Then most holy Mary and Joseph took counsel concerning the name to be given to the divine Infant in the Circumcision [in which they shared with each other that the name Jesus had been revealed to them both]… While the great Mistress of Heaven and St. Joseph thus conversed with each other, innumerable angels descended in human forms from on high, clothed in shining white garments, on which were woven red embroideries of wonderful beauty … The holy angels divided into two choirs in the cave, keeping their gaze fixed upon the King and Lord in the arms of His virginal Mother. The chiefs of these heavenly cohorts were the two princes, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, shining in greater splendor than the rest and bearing in their hands, as a special distinction, the most holy name JESUS, written in larger letters on something like cards of incomparable beauty and splendor.
The two princes presented themselves apart from the rest before their Queen and said: “Lady, this is the name of thy Son (Matt. 1:21), which was written in the mind of God from all eternity and which the Blessed Trinity has given to thy Only-begotten Son and Our Lord as the signal of salvation for the whole human race …” (pp. 243–244)
I’ve written before about the power of names, and specifically the power of the Name of Jesus, at which mention “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10) and in which “[a]ll whatsoever you do in word or in work” should be done (Colossians 3:17), so I don’t have a hard time at all believing that the revelation of His Name would be accompanied by such heavenly fanfare and celebration! It’s a beautiful thing to think on as we celebrate Jesus’ birth.
Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne
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