Our Real Name

At my brother’s wedding rehearsal last June, we all met in the church parking lot beforehand, talking. I had the chance to meet a lot of new people who were friends of my sister in law, so we were all making some new introductions.

In the midst of it, I went up to one woman and said, “Hi I’m Jerome, I’m the groom’s brother.” She gave me one of those looks, you know, where she can tell I had no idea who she was. She pointed over to her left and said, “I belong to him.” Standing there with a big smile was her husband, who I had just met.

So, anyway, they seemed like best of friends and a great couple. We all enjoyed the wedding. But you know, to this very day, I still don’t know her name. But I do remember what she called herself. I thought, that’s her real name.

In writing his Gospel, John never uses his own name. Instead, He calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” a total of five times in his Gospel. What is he doing? He is telling us that he belongs to Him. He is telling us his real name.

Jesus comes to us as a bridegroom to a bride. “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” (Mt 25:6) He seeks to enter into a personal covenant of the deepest union of love with each of us, a covenant that is like marriage, but even deeper. Just like in marriage, He wants to give each of us a new name: and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the LORD will give. (Is 62:2)

He wants to give us our real name:

“I belong to Him.”


5 thoughts on “Our Real Name

  1. You know, Jerome, after all our discussion about who we really are, our real names, our new names, and after reading this post too, it struck me tonight that these new names are not only particular to each one of us, but that we can have many as we grow. It made me think of the Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary – all those beautiful namelike descriptions attached to the Heart of Jesus and to Mary herself – praying them not only gives honour and glory where it is due, but causes us to really reflect on the beautiful characteristics and attributes of each name-description, and inspires us to imitation.

  2. Gabrielle, these are my thoughts as I read your comment:

    First, it reminds me of a Scripture passage I just read last night:

    “And we all, with unveiled face, revealing the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18)

    So we are progressing – God willing – toward that glory, that likeness of Christ that is described by our heavenly name. So that our names are being changed “from one degree of glory to another.”

    I believe that our heavenly names reveal our “intended” (I put that in quotes because it is a mystery) share in God’s glory – they are a participation in His glory: “The glory which you have given to me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17:22-23)

    So, this is a powerful passage, isn’t it? Our heavenly names are for God; and then – for His glory – for us, for each other, and for witness to the world, again all for His glory. The names reflect a relation to all of these.

    This also gets into the Communion of Saints, in which each person in heaven receives a role in the Kingdom, a sort of jurisdiction over God and His grace. Their name reveals this. Saints can have a variety of names, especially as they are patrons of different glories in the Kingdom. This is, what I think, you described with the Litanies. Their roles – and names – in the Kingdom are like a tree, with growing branches. Each of the names are related in that way, I believe. And there is a root to them all, that they all ultimately grow out of.

    It’s the baptismal grace of being His. This is the root, and it is common to all of us in His Kingdom, and it is the root that makes us “one” as the Lord prayed. All the other names and roles particular to each of us in the Kingdom grow out of this, and are in a complementary relation to each other.

    I will give one example: Our Lady. In her Ecce and Fiat, she declares that she belongs totally to God – she is His. The glory that she receives? The greatest: Mother of God! But that glorious identity stands on her total embracing of being His, what she herself calls her lowliness or her humility. And all her other names come from this as well, I believe. And in her, God reveals how much He loves humility! All the roles He gave her in His glory, all because she recognized that she is totally His! (And this defines humility for the Christian!)

    And the basis for each of our glorified names is imprinted in our nature, as God doesn’t do violence to our true nature (as He does to our fallen nature!). I was at dinner the other day with a friend who was telling me about two different events in his youth where he saw something and shouted internally, “I want to do that!” Right away, he went and did it, becoming a musician in one instance and a tour guide in the other. I believe that these are gifts of revelation of the basis for his role in the Kingdom, imprinted already in his nature. The “kernels” of what my friend was doing, the roles he was in as musician and tour guide, will be present forever and brought to fruition – God willing – in the Kingdom. But they will only be truly realized, they can only *begin* to be truly realized, when he truly becomes His.

    I think we see the same thing with Peter “I will make you fishers of men”. His role as fisherman is a glimpse of his eternal role – once he becomes His. Once he becomes His Peter, then all the natural roles of Peter can begin to become transformed in grace – a long, purifying, but beautiful, process!

    So our real names are very, very close to us, because they are imprinted in our nature and in the history of our lives. What blinds us to them is that we are not fully His! When we are fully humble, fully His, in heaven, then we will see Him and ourselves as we truly are: “Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.” (1 Jn 3:2)

    And so, I think of the great value of the Consecration to Jesus in Mary for me, in that it focuses my attention on being His (Totus Tuus), and that our goal as Christians is to focus on more and more becoming His.

    Was that a very long way of saying, “yes, I see the same thing!”, or what!

  3. One more, Gabrielle – I just came across this again, it was from the Holy Father on May 25 in his address to priests about being saints:

    “The Lord wants us to be saints,” he affirmed, “in other words, entirely his, not concerned with building a career that is interesting and comfortable in human terms, not seeking success and the praise of others, but entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to do our duty unto the end, aware of being ‘useful servants’ and happy to offer our poor contribution to the spreading of the Gospel.”

  4. Wow.. until today, I’d never thought of our Lady’s “Ecce”, but indeed, it’s there.. “behold the handmaid of the Lord. ” For some reason, it makes me understand that Pilate’s fallen “Ecce..” was made up for in advance, in that moment of her fiat. Jesus would’ve known that as He stood looking out at His former admirers. His Mother’s Ecce would’ve consoled Him.

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