OLDIE PODCAzT 119: The Holy Name and Blasphemy

From 2011:

Today is the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena (+1444) in both the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite, and therefore I use this opportunity to offer something from one of his discourses about the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

St. Bernardine was famous for his preaching about the Holy Name and against the horrible sin of blasphemy.

We hear today a short selection from St. Bernardine’s Discourse 49, about the glorious Name of Jesus chosen for today’s Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours.  I read a bit of the Italian… sorry, it’s modern Italian… I don’t have the original version, alas, and then English.

Then I rant for while.

The piece is very thought provoking and useful for an examination of conscience.  We are made in the image and like of God, brought into being by the Word, now the Word made flesh.  We are made to speak with words.  But we so often fail in speech to live up to our dignity as images of God.  At least I do.  We occasionally lapse, but sometimes people fall into habits of speech, sometimes even habits of blasphemy which causes scandal making it easier for others to sin.

We have to examine closely our habits of speech and not by our speech disfigure the image of God, the Word made flesh.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. James Joseph says:

    Lately, when confronted with a co-worker exclaiming, “JESUS!” I have been curtly following-up with, “…Mary and Joseph is the name of the Holy Family.”

    I think it might be having a small impact.

  2. Laura Lea says:

    I have a great fear of committing this sin. I really wish you would give some examples of blasphemy. There are supernatural occurrences in our lives sometimes that a person initially believes it to be the working of the Holy Spirit. Is it a sin, if you doubt that it is? Or change your mind and think that what looked like a positive thing at first might not be what is seems to be on the surface of things? That it might even be a demonic spirit. I know this sounds crazy, but even the bible says that the devil can present himself as a being of light. Is it blasphemy if you doubt something that is good and initially presented itself as the working of the Holy Spirit, but later a small detail didn’t “sit right” and caused you to doubt the validity of the entire occurrence. In other words, if you doubt the origins of the supernatural occurrence and it is only in your mind and never vocalized, is that the sin of blasphemy?

  3. The Masked Chicken says:

    “In other words, if you doubt the origins of the supernatural occurrence and it is only in your mind and never vocalized, is that the sin of blasphemy?

    No. In some cases, it might even be reasonable to question the origin. St. Paul said to test the spirits. Having a doubt about the origin of something spiritual should be seen as a prompting to seek discernment about the event from someone else, preferably, someone knowledgeable about these things. Some priests are, some aren’t. St. Teresa of Avila gave the counsel that if there is doubt about the origin of something, a locution, etc., one ought no to act upon it until it can be discerned by competent authority. There are emergency situations where such discernment is not possible and then, one must be humble, rely on the help of one’s Guardian Angel, and do the best on can within the limits of human experience and reason.

    Blasphemy is, essentially, using God’s name in vain, not attempting to ascertain the truth of a phenomenon (that can be a meritorious act, if done with good intention and humility towards the teachings of the Church). As the CCC states:

    2148 Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. St. James condemns those “who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called.” The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God’s name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God’s name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.

    The Chicken

  4. Will D. says:

    A sin that I have struggled with. In confession, my priest told me to say the Divine Praises when I slip up and take the Lord’s name in vain, or when others do. It has helped me to stop committing that sin and to be aware of how cavalierly the Lord’s name is used in the culture today.

  5. Laura Lea says:

    Thank you very much Mr. Masked Chicken. I very much appreciate your acceptance of what I said as the truth. I’ve been afraid to talk to a priest about these occurrences, both good ones and not good ones. It isn’t exactly a sin, the good occurrences though, so I’ve never brought them up in confession. I thought the priest wouldn’t believe that these occurrences are real and they definitely are. They have sporadically occurred for years, both the good ones and the not good ones. But I never blame God for them, just question the presence of an unholy spirit.

    Thank you for listening. It helped just to vocalize it and to learn from you that my thoughts about these occurrences are not a sin. What a relief!

  6. marypatricia says:

    A friend used to say “Blessed be His holy Name” whenever anyone used the name of Jesus in a blasphemous way.
    I try to do the same–often I mutter it, sometimes I have the courage to say it out loud and sometimes I say it internally. Wish I had the guts to say it out loud all the time.

  7. The Egyptian says:

    I have been thinking along this line for a while, taking the name of God in vain, or invoking his name.
    Maybe it is just a coincidence, but not long ago our president gave a speech to Planned Parenthood, he ended with “and for all the wonderful work you do, God bless you”, Is it my imagination or has his life suddenly gotten “very complicated”? I was taught long ago if you invoke the name of God He is listening, so be careful what you say. IMHO asking God to bless the horror of PP may have brought the house down on him, Divine retribution maybe???, I may be way off base, what does the brain trust here think

  8. Mariana2 says:

    Thank you, Father, for these perfect Gesamtkunstwerke of podcasts of yours!

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