In the year of our Lord 1453, Mohammed II conquered Constantinople. Motivated by his lust for power and domination, he now set his aim on Belgrade Hungary. Was there any hope for saving Belgrade? Humanly speaking, their army was no match for army of Mohammed II.
The only hope of saving this city seemed to rest not in military prowess, nor in physical might. The hope for saving Belgrade rested in the hands of a 70-year-old man – a Franciscan friar and missionary, St. John Capistrano.
Pope Calistus III asked St. John Capistran to preach a crusade against the Islamic invaders and to rally forces across Germany and Hungary to defend this Christian city. The night before the decisive battle John Capistrano heard confessions and spiritually prepared the men for battle. The saintly Priest drilled the soldiers over and over again that night in the practice that he had been teaching them for weeks. When the signal for attack should come every single soldier was to shout one word at the top of his voice. And what was that war-cry? It was one word – JESUS!
The dawn came. John Capistran, carrying the cross on which was printed the Holy Name, shouted one word – JESUS. The Christian army rushed the Turks and, while shouting the name of JESUS, were victorious in battle. Jesus tells us in Holy Scripture that, “If we the Father anything in [His] name, He will give it to you.” What should we ask the Father for in the name of Jesus? Courage, Faith, Zeal, Forgiveness?
Like the bold defenders of Belgrade more than 500 years ago we need devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. If they had not called upon the name of Jesus they would have been overcome. Were they frightened? Yes of course. But by the Holy Name they gained courage. And by that same Holy Name you can gain courage too – courage to be victorious in the battle against sin.
In that Holy Name you can find the courage to face the hardships of daily life. In the midst of a temptation, the mere whisper of the Name of Jesus terrifies the demons who afflict you.
Do this and you will be able then to boast with the Psalmist: “Some trust in chariots and horses; but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.” (Ps 19:8)
Frequently repeat that Holy Name. Repeat His Name and you will recall that he became a little Child in the crib at Bethlehem – for you. Keep his name on your lips often and you will recall his hidden years at Nazareth, when he was obedient to Joseph and Mary.
Breathe that Divine Name again and again and you will recall what Jesus went through to save you -–the agony in the garden, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the horror of Golgotha. Say that name over and over and you will recall his Resurrection glory, when he destroyed even the power of death itself.
Above all whisper that Holy Name as you see the Word become Flesh at every Mass -- at that sacred moment of the Consecration. And when you come forward to this communion rail to receive him in the Holy Eucharist let his name be ever on your tongue as he comes to make his Bethlehem in your heart.