Dominican Saints

The Holy Name of Jesus as a Seal on One’s Heart

Manuscript illumination of Bl. Henry Suso

This letter from our Dominican brother, Blessed Henry Suso, speaks in his distinctive evocative style of devotion to Our Lord and to the Holy Name of Jesus.  Although he is writing to Dominican nuns as their spiritual father, his words may apply to all who love and seek God.

Pone Me ut signaculum super cor tuum!

The eternal God pleads for a resting-place with His bride: “Lay me upon thy heart like a love-token” (Song of Songs).

My dear children, I am sending you these letters to provide food for your souls by which your heart and spirits may be constantly renewed and set aflame in tender love of the fair and gentle eternal wisdom.  For here is the deepest joy we can have in this life, when, alas, the purest contemplation, the most tender and intimate embrace and unchanging, everlasting union with Him is still impossible to us.

By means of them we can always be thinking of our lover, our chosen one, can long for Him in our hearts, speak of Him always, read His affectionate messages to us, unite ourselves with Him in all our work, be attached to nothing else on this earth.  Our eyes should look at Him with love, our ears be open to His word, our heart, mind, and spirit embrace Him.  When we have angered him, we must plead for pardon: when He tries us, we must bear it patiently: when He hides Himself from us, we must seek our adored one and never relinquish our search until we have found him, again and again.  When we have found Him, we must cling to Him in tenderness and virtue.

Whether standing or walking, eating or drinking, the golden sign of Jesus should always be engraved upon our heart.  If we can do no other, we must impress His image upon our soul though our eyes, let His sweet name sound on our tongues.  We should be so occupied with Him during the day that our dreaming at night is of Him alone.  Let us echo the heartfelt sigh of the prophet: “Oh, beloved God, Thou fair, tender, most excellent wisdom, how good thou art to that souls which seeks Thee, which desires Thee alone!”

Image of the Holy Name

This, in turn, reminds us of the hymn we sing for the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus at the beginning of this month of January.  If we were not already nuns, this hymn would make us want to enter the monastery to belong to Jesus alone!

Jesu dulcis memoria
dans vera cordi gaudia:
sed super mel et omnia
ejus dulcis praesentia.

Sweet is the memory of Jesus, giving true joys to the heart; but above honey and all things is His sweet presence.

Nil canitur suavius,
nil auditur jucundius,
nil cogitatur dulcius,
quam Jesus Dei Filius.

Nothing sweeter is sung, nothing more pleasant is heard; nothing more lovely is thought, than Jesus, the Son of God.

Jesu, spes paenitentibus,
quam pius es petentibus!
quam bonus te quaerentibus!
sed quid invenientibus!

O Jesus, hope of penitents, how kind art Thou to those who pray!  How good to those who seek Thee!  But what to those who find Thee!

Nec lingua valet dicere,
nec littera exprimere:
expertus potest credere,
quid sit Jesum diligere.

No tongue can tell, nor written word express it; only one having experienced it, can imagine what it is to love Jesus.

Sis, Jesu, nostrum gaudium,
qui es futurus praemium:
sit nostra in te gloria,
per cuncta semper saecula.

O Jesus, be Thou our joy, who art to be our reward; in Thee be our glory forever.  Amen.