The thing I yearn for from you is a tender devotion to the Most Holy and sweet Name of Jesus. This is that great Name, which is above all names, in which we must be saved, and without which there is no health. Oh Most Sacred Name, Name of peace, Balsam of life, which was the center of all the sighs of the most fervent lovers of Jesus. The sign of those who truly love Jesus is to bear Jesus imprinted in the heart and to name often and with devotion the Most Holy Name of Jesus. St. Paul the Apostle had so impressed on his soul, that at all hours he still had it on his tongue and on his pen, and five hundred times he names in his Epistles the Most Holy Name of Jesus. Oh what a beautiful language! Ignazio Martire wore it with gold letters in the middle of his heart.
Oh what a beautiful embroidery! My Bernardine of Siena was the first to expose it in public veneration and with the Most Holy Name of Jesus he soaked the hardest hearts, converted the most obstinate sinners, and almost reformed Italy as a whole, and everywhere he wanted to see that beloved figure of the Most Holy Name of Jesus carved on the doors of houses, at the head of the bed, on the frontispiece of the Churches, everywhere he wanted to see the Most Holy Name of Jesus carved and painted. This is precisely what I want from you, my beloved listeners, let all of you have the Most Holy Name of Jesus carved or painted on the doors of your homes. And here I show you the model…
Oh, do not deny me this grace, which will all redeem for your good. Preaching our glorious St. Bernardine in the city of Ferrara assaulted by a fierce plague, he exhorted everyone to the devotion and veneration of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and all those citizens lit themselves up with such a beautiful devotion that they placed the Most Holy Name of Jesus on the doors of their homes, and with this they remained free from the infectious disease. Those from Padua obtained the same, who in persuasion of the Saint embraced so holy a devotion; and in Camaiore, land of the Republic of Lucca, the Saint promised that if they had carved, and painted the Most Holy Name of Jesus on the doors of their houses, they would never have been assaulted by the plague and, in conformity, promised, so it happened, although at various times all the surrounding places have been desolated by a scourge. What do you say, beloved? will you have repugnance to this little inconvenience? But consider it grace the great good that will come to all your houses, be assured, that in those houses, on the doors of which you will see the Most Holy Name of Jesus painted or carved, there will be nothing more than fear, nor of witches , neither of evil, nor of accidents of fate. Oh how many lightning strikes, how many disasters your houses will be free of! A hundred, therefore, a hundred, and a thousand times blessed are those houses which will bear the Most Holy Name of Jesus on their foreheads, and woe to those houses where Jesus will not be seen! it will be a nest of demons, and will be subject to a thousand misfortunes. Go on, compete with those who make him paint more beautiful, or waste your time, from tomorrow on, explain such a beautiful livery of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
Oh what a blessed place this will be; see all the houses embellished and sanctified by this Most Holy and Most Sweet Name! And because I seem to see you all willing, all inflamed with love and devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, I take heart to end the Preaching with that beautiful sentiment of the Apostle. “All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do ye all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, yes, whatever you do, do it all in honor and glory of Jesus, and in the Most Holy Name of Jesus. If you leave the house, go out with Jesus your servant; if you walk the streets, walk with Jesus your companion; if you enter the Church, you enter with Jesus your Advocate. Jesus be with you in your works, Jesus be among you in your speeches, Jesus be for you and your rest. The sun never comes out, that you are not with Jesus, nor the sun goes down, that you do not leave with Jesus. The Name of Jesus is the first, who opens your mouth in the morning, and the Name of Jesus is the last that you seal it up in the evening; so that Jesus is the one, who will gather your soul in his arms, when you give your last breath, dying with Jesus on the eyes, with Jesus in the mouth, with Jesus in the heart; and I hope it will succeed if you are Brothers of the Congregation of true lovers of Jesus and if you have the Most Holy Name of Jesus painted or sculpted on the door of your houses. Go up, as a sign that you want to obey, that you want to do everything, say all three times aloud: VIVA JESUS, VIVA JESUS, VIVA JESUS!
(Lenten sermons of B. Leonardo from Porto Maurizio Reformed Minor and Apostolic Missionary of the Retreat of San Bonaventura in Rome, Vol. III, Assisi, 1806, pp. 325-328)
This sacred emblem is placed on the doors of houses for protection against the plague. It is an ancient indulgenced practice linked to The Most Holy Name of Jesus. The main devotions are illustrated in this figure: to the Most Holy Trinity, to Mary Most Holy, to St. Joseph, to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart, to the Holy Rosary and to the Chair of St. Peter.