What’s in a Name?

In this throw-away culture, what has staying power? What can truly last-place without proliferating stale, wearing out, or being rendered archaic? One thing seems pretty permanent in “peoples lives”: our specifies. They arrive before we do( generally concluded upon by parents before we’re born ), and they remain on earth after us( carved onto gravestones ). They don’t comes out like a necktie at ceasing term, and they can’t be rubbed like scalp against the sidewalk. They’re more stable than that because, in a certain sense, our lists go deeper than drapes or even our skin.

If names throws us a sense of stability, they’re too meaningful because they help us know ourselves, as well as others, in a way no other terms can. For a guy developing a mash on the young woman across from him in a college chide corridor, his first hope is to somehow find out her honour. Learning that fact begins to ground his affection in reality. She is becoming ever more real. Similarly, I’ll grant Juliet’s argument to Romeo: a rose by any other name would indeed smell as sweet. However, if you had no idea what that flower is called, whatever the honour is likely to be, your ability to enjoy it and communicate that indulgence to others would be diminished. “Here, dear. A dozen … heydays I don’t know the name of, just for you.” Nice try.

Names can come to possess an ineffable power over us, as well as a glory that is consistent with our intrinsic human dignity. There are many Judys in the world countries, but merely one Judy is my mom. So Judy intends something distinct to me, even though it’s common enough. That honour is also shorthand for a lifetime of particular storages, associations, and feelings for me, ones that will never be the same as any other person’s for the Judy in his or her life. W.H. Auden gets at this idea when he asserts, “Proper identifies are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable.”

Names may not be translatable, but they can be changed. Not by us, but by God’s prompting. We do not refer to Abram as our parent in religion. Simon is not the boulder upon which Christ improved the Church. Like Abraham and St. Peter, we who encounter the Lord do not return the same person we were before. We are made new, and for some, so are our names.

But the process is more personal, more closely involved than referring a change-of-name petition to a gues. In my example, before entering the Dominican Order I was very is connected to my baptismal name. When my mom was pregnant with me, my parents had decided on Timothy for a boy’s name. And then I just so happened to be born on the feast of St. Timothy, which the Church celebrates today( in lieu of knacks, by the way, move petitions satisfy !). This coincidence strengthened my devotion to St. Timothy and always left me with the sense that God had something special in mind for me in my “Timothy-ness.” And so even though I wanted to take a religious specify upon recruiting the Dominican novitiate( definitely, the revered Dominican, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, picked me as much as I preferred him. Another storey for another post ), it was a little bittersweet to hear the prior declare at the vestition formality 😛 TAGEND

In the world you were known as Timothy. In the Order you will be called Brother Jordan.

Then I manifested more on the verbs in this statement. Indeed, in the world countries I had well known, and I liked being known. Nevertheless , now I had been called. Furthermore, I realise my “Jordanicity” was actually the fulfillment–not the diminishment–of my “Timothy-ness.” The Church asks for and affirms our refer at our Baptism. The sacrament closes us with an indelible spiritual rating; formerly baptised, ever baptised( CCC 1272 ). So, in that way, formerly Timothy, ever Timothy. But Baptism exclusively kick-starts us into the life of the Church. We have a specific vocation that springtimes from Baptism: to matrimony, the priesthood, venerated religious life, or venerated single life. Therefore, I could not become Br. Jordan( a devoted religious) without first being Timothy( a baptised Catholic ). And I could not be fully Timothy without becoming Br. Jordan.

Such a process begins in the saving word of Jesus. His coming in the flesh is “the definitive translation of the meaning of God … and he does this without losing anything of the fullness of the Original, ” writes Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis( who too happens to go by a new mention now as a Trappist monk, Fr. Simeon ). Jesus alters God in a way we can understand because God becomes human in Him, like us in all things but guilt. Because Jesus is fully divine, however, He can perform a rendition most perfect than Auden or anyone else could imagine possible.

Jesus not only translates the Father’s inexhaustible beloved with the words of His teaches, but likewise, through the Crucifixion, transcribes that beloved onto His Body for all to read. It is inked with His Blood, upon the parchment of His Body, the tacks and a lance doing the writing. In this case, Divine Love by any other name would not–could not–appear so profound. Because this Word spells out our redemption, and enables us to be named the Father’s chose sons and daughters, sharers in His Son’s glory.

Editor’s note: This article primarily appeared on Dominicana and is reprinted here with style permission.

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