January 3, 2012 1 Comment
January 3rd, Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
In the Extraordinary Form, the feast of the Holy Name is of the “second class” (making it equal to Sundays throughout the year, complete with the recitation of the Gloria and the Credo), but in the Ordinary Form the memorial of the Holy Name was not even included in the calendar after 1970. Happily, the feast was re-instituted as an optional memorial by Bl. John Paul II – we should think that the Name deserves at least this much honor!
In fact, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is of comparatively recent origin, not having become popular until the Franciscan St. Bernadine of Siena preached this devotion in the 15th century. It has been celebrated in numerous ways in the Latin rite – at first the feast was kept on the Second Sunday after Epiphany, then it was moved to the Sunday after the Octave of Christmas (the Sunday between January 2nd and 5th). It is desirable that this feast be celebrated closer to the day in which Christ historically received his name, the day of his circumcision (eight days after his birth, January 1st), and thus the feast is kept on January 3rd in the Novus Ordo.
The insignia “IHS” is associated with this feast, but what does IHS mean? Why is IHS a sign for the Name of Jesus?
What IHS really means – Jesus
The name “Jesus”, in Greek, is written ιησους which is transliterated as “ihsous” and pronounced iēsous. This is the Holy Name as it was written in the Gospels.
However, in Hebrew, the name “Jesus” is written ישוע which is transliterated as “yeshu‘a” and pronounced yeshūa.
Finally, in Latin, the Holy Name is written Iesus which gives us the English “Jesus”, since the “j” often replaces the “i” at the beginning of a word (as well as between vowels).
The insignia “IHS” comes from the Latinized version of the Greek ιησους, taking the first three letters in capitals IHS(ous). Much as the popular “chi-rho” symbol (pictured right, X – P) comes from the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ, χριστος (Christos) – XPistos.
This is the true meaning of IHS, it is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of the Holy Name of Jesus. The insignia is nothing more (and nothing less) than the symbol of the Holy Name…
You can read on here.