Saint Bernardine of Siena

Franciscan Priest (1380-1444)

Saint Bernardine of SienaBorn near Siena in the year 1380, Bernardine joined the Friars Minor and was ordained priest. He travelled throughout Italy preaching, with great spiritual success, propagating devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, and producing a number of theological works. He did much to further discipline and study in his Order, and died in the year 1444. He was canonized by Pope Nicholas V in 1450.

From the Sermons of Saint Bernardine of Siena

Sermon 49, ch.2, Op. Om. IV 505

The name of Jesus is the crowning glory of preachers. It is due to him that their preaching and its reception are blessed with extraordinary enlightenment. How else in the world could the fervent light of faith be kindled so suddenly if not by the name of Jesus? It is not by the light of this name that God is said to have called us into his own glorious light? To the enlightened who see light in that light, Saint Paul says: “You were once all darkness; now you are all light in the Lord; walk then as children of the light.” It is not a name to be hidden; it is to be proclaimed for its light to shine. An unclean heart and a sordid mouth are no fit way to speak this name. The preacher should be a choice vessel, holding and proffering this name.

That is how the Lord speaks of the Apostle: “This man is for me a vessel of election, to carry my name before nations and kings and the children of Israel.” He speaks of a chosen vessel ‐ one where the choicest drink is presented to tempt the appetite while it twinkles and sparkles in quality jars ‐ a vessel to carry my name.

You clean a field by lighting a fire, getting rid of weeds and thorns; when the s u n is up, darkness vanishes and all the thieves and prowlers and housebreakers go to ground. That is how it was with Paul in his preaching. His was a tongue with a thunderclap ‐ like a forest fire or a brilliant sunrise, weeding out infidelity, exposing falsehood, letting the truth radiate, like candle‐wax liquefying in a strong flame.

He carried the name of Jesus everywhere, in his preaching, his letters, his miracles, his example. He praised the name of Jesus continuously; its praise was always on his lips.

He carried the name before kings, nations and the house of Israel like a torch, and it was always the same message: “The night is passed, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light.” Let us walk uprightly as in the daylight. He displayed to everyone a shining and burning light, proclaiming everywhere Jesus, and him crucified.

Therefore, the Church, the spouse of Christ, enlightened by his witness, rejoices in the words of the prophet: “Lord, you have instructed me from youth and I shall proclaim your wonders for ever.” And the prophet also exhorts us: “Sing to the Lord and bless his name; tell from day to day of his salvation”, that is, of Jesus our Saviour.


God our Father,
you gave Saint Bernardine of Siena
a most tender love of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Grant, by his merits and prayers,
that your Spirit of love may always inflame us.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.