About the Holy Name Icon
The following is a transcription of a short explanation of the Holy Name icon given by the icon writer Lucho Alvarez at the Poor Clare
‘ Jesus has His arms open to embrace us all. With His hands He blesses and invites us to sanctity, to come and be with the Trinity through the two natures of Christ, the divine and human and to become sharers, to participate in His sanctity. He embraces the whole of humanity represented by the Earth. He comes full of grace and shows His wounds so that we can see that He has already paid the price for our salvation. This is why He has His arms extended symbolising that although He was on the Cross, He is now risen. He has been ‘lifted up from the world and ascended into heaven but He will come again. This is the invitation: to wait until He will come again, and we have His grace.
On the upper part of the icon we have the monogram of St. Bernardine of Siena: YHS with two angels bowing to the Name of Jesus. I think this is important for the times in which we live. We can sometimes be very careless and pronounce the Name of Jesus without respect.
I hope and pray that this icon will bring the sisters and all who come to venerate it many blessings and a deeper awareness that in the Name of Jesus we have salvation today. ‘
Further Commentary on the Icon based on a talk given by Lucho Alvarez on the Icon
Christ’s hands are also extended to embrace us and all of humanity. One arm is slightly above the other, as is usual when one is going to embrace. He is standing in a gesture which invites us into His embrace. This resonates very much with the tone of Pope Francis’ exhortation called ‘The Joy of the Gospel ‘ (no. 3):
Whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.
He is also in a post Resurrection stance, with the wounds on His hands clearly visible, showing the price at which our salvation was won.
In His halo, is the symbolic name that God revealed to Moses – I Am who Am, signifying that Jesus is God. The symbols either side of His head are the usual designations to represent Jesus. Therefore the Name is represented in many ways in the icon.
On the globe is written in Latin the quotation from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians ( 2:10)
‘In nomine Iesu omne genu flectatur coelestium terrestrium et infernorum ‘
‘At the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven, on earth and under the earth’
Therefore the angels are seen adoring, because all beings in Heaven, on the earth and under the earth must bend the knee at the Name of Jesus.