What name has power like His? Amidst all the information, data, flashing lights, noise and raging rapids of life, no other name sticks us in the heart, demands our surrender, pins us to a wall of peace and marks us with a “wound of love” (St. Teresa of Avila’s phrase). Listen to St. Bernard:
It is medicine. Does one of us feel sad? Let the name of Jesus come into his heart… Does someone fall into sin? Does his despair even urge him to suicide? Let him but invoke this life-giving name and his will to live will be at once renewed. The hardness of heart that is our common experience, the apathy bred of indolence, bitterness of mind, repugnance for the things of the spirit – have they ever failed to yield in presence of that saving name? The tears dammed up by the barrier of our pride – how have they not burst forth again with sweeter abundance at the thought of Jesus’ name? And where is the man, who terrified and trembling before impending peril, has not been suddenly filled with courage and rid of fear by calling on the strength of that name? Where is the man who tossed on the rolling seas of doubt, did not quickly find certitude by recourse to the clarity of Jesus’ name. Was ever a man so discouraged, so beaten down by afflictions, to whom the sound of this name did not bring new resolve? In short, for all the ills and disorders to which flesh is heir, this name is medicine. For proof we have no less than his own promise: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Ps. 49:15).
Who need we look at in this life other than the face of Jesus? A very wise man – and spiritual father to us all – counseled us on the central task that the Church needs as she plunges into the third millennium. He said, “I would not hesitate to describe it as the contemplation [beholding and uniting with what one loves] of the face of Christ” (Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte). St. Bernard again:
Come then, follow, seek him; do not let that unapproachable brightness and glory hold you back from seeking him or make you despair of finding him. “If you can believe all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk. 9:22). “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom. 10:8). Believe, and you have found him. Believing is having found. The faithful know that Christ dwells in their hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17). What could be nearer? Therefore seek him confidently, seek him faithfully, “The Lord is good to the soul who seeks him” (Lam. 3:25). Seek him in your prayers, follow him in your actions, find him in faith.
As we go through Holy Week once again, may our lives and our whole persons be shaken by the centrality of Jesus. Let’s surrender to Jesus. Let’s walk with Jesus. Let’s look to Jesus. Let’s gaze upon Jesus. Let’s be knocked flat on our backs by Jesus. Let’s hang our lives on Jesus. Let’s trust in Jesus. Let’s hope in Jesus. Let’s love Jesus. What else – Who else – do we need but Him?
And as we gaze upon Him, He will take us for Himself:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)
We are made to give Him praise. We are made to behold His Glory and to be glorified ourselves! Brooke Ligertwood describes and exemplifies this with sparkling awe (seriously, listen to these lyrics!):
Jesus is the Christ and the Lord – of my life and of your life! May all eyes, hearts and hands turn toward Him this week, falling at His feet in pure, jubilant praise!