Recently, I’ve learned that three different young couples I know, two of whom I married, are expecting their first child. Early Saturday morning, other friends of mine just became grandparents for the first time. Of course, a big part of this “birthing process” is the awesome responsibility of naming their children.
I’m of the mind that God is actually the one who names each of us, it is just up to the parents to figure out what this “divine handle” is. A similar discussion took place during the recent confirmation season, when some of the priests and women religious gathered ahead of Mass for dinner. The group was discussing some of the confirmation names chosen by the young people. They were wondering why these names were chosen. I am also of the mind that the saints actually choose the young person, rather than the other way around.
What gives me this thought? Let’s look at some Sacred Scripture passages:
Psalm 139: You, LORD, created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb…When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there – you saw me before I was born.
Luke 1:57-65: In this passage, we see the dynamic at work in the naming of John the Baptist by his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah. After this passage, we see the beautiful proclamation of the identity and mission that John will fulfill, and the promises of God coming to fulfilment in this time.
This all tells us of the power our names carry, precisely because they “speak” to the fundamental relationship we share with the living God. I have made so many “connections” with this reality of my own name in these last 51 years, and this, too, serves to strengthen my own belief in the role God plays in this very primordial, and foundational part of each person’s life.
Our names carry a profound and significant “meaning’. Ultimately, there is no greater name than the name of God. “Let me speak the praise of the Lord, let all mankind bless his holy name for ever, for ages unending.” Psalm 145 “Who would dare refuse you honor, or the glory due your name, O LORD? Revelation 15:3-4
I mention this because it is imperative that our world re-discover the reality of “God”, and the life giving relationship we are called to live with God through Jesus Christ. A friend of mine recently told me of a bumper sticker he likes very much. It simply states: “I’m for the Constitution”. In the political reality of our world today, this is a strong statement.
In our culture today, it is just as strong a statement for us to say: “I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ.” “I’m for the Kingdom of God.”
Lord, be near to all who call upon you in truth and increase the dediction of those who revere you. Hear their prayers and save them that they may always love you and praise your holy name. (Friday Evening Prayer, Week IV)