Names have meaning. I become my name, it becomes me. My name is who I am but that began with the origin of all things, with God — He has a Name, at once precious and holy. I, in a certain sense, am my name. I am Karen. But He — He is simply I AM. He exists in a way that I cannot and do not. But at the same time, He wants me to have a share in that existence, to be part of what He is. To be called by name.I've talked about the power of names before, here:
But it did give me the though that we depersonalize when we refuse to give or use someone's name - I think of prisoners with numbers instead of names. Names are powerful, and to take away a person's name can take away part of their identity, part of who they are, making them less than.
I just think about God giving Adam the authority to name all the animals, God changing people's names all over the Bible (Abram-Abraham, Sarai-Sarah, etc.). Names mean something.And here:
If you can refuse to call someone by their name, refuse to meet them as a person worthy of dignity (God-given), then you can cease seeing that person as a person. They become lower than you, less than you. He (or she) becomes an it, a thing with no immortal, eternal soul, and so who cares whether he is dead?
And so this mentality pervades much of the horrors throughout history: make a group of people become less than, become objects for a dictator to dispose of as they wish and you have a recipe for disaster.To name someone or something, we personalize that being. To give our name to someone, to be allowed to use someone's name (or allow someone to use our name), is to enter into a relationship with that person. When someone we know gets our name wrong, or shortens/lengthens our name when that's not our preference, it can be upsetting because we can feel like that person doesn't really know us or doesn't care enough to get our name right.
In thinking about God's name and what it means to me in the context of this prayer, we are given God's name and again we are reminded of the intimacy that God wants to share with us.
Fr. Groeschel, in the book "Life in Christ" says this about the 2nd Commandment:
If our mere human names are so valuable to us, then how infinitely more precious must be the name of God Himself? "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," we say as we begin prayer and as we end it. "Hallowed be Thy name," we say whenever we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us. We recognize these as holy words, and they remind us that the name of God is unique and deserving of reverence and awe. We must not use the name of God lightly. We must not use it to swear falsely. We must not ever turn it into a curse. We are blessed to know the name of Jesus as the human name of God, and we bow our heads at its every mention. In this name of Jesus, we find the name of a person with whom we can be in a relationship. Each time we invoke it prayerfully, we open the door again to that relationship with our divine Savior, with the Holy Trinity.With every word we are journeying through in the Our Father (and thank you so much to Jennifer at Conversion Diary for getting this conversation going!), keeps drawing me closer and closer to the kind of relationship that God desires with each of us. You know, it's funny, because the Our Father can seem like such a 'simple' prayer, a rote prayer, a throw-away prayer, a prayer we can get bored with. Not anymore, for me, after doing this series!
Our Father, in Whom is Heaven, holy is Your name!
Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer of our souls,
holy is Your name!
Holy Spirit, Sustainer and Sanctifier,
holy is Your name!
Holy Trinity, ever-living God, the whole universe
reverberates with the majestic sound of Your name.
In awe and trembling we utter Your name.
In joy and exaltation we sing Your name.
In pain and anguish we call upon Your name.
In doubt and uncertainty we hear Your name
whispered in the silence of our hearts.
Creator of all, lover of souls, You live in holiness
and give meaning to our lives.
May the praise of Your holy name
never depart from our lips. Amen.
(from "Life in Christ" by Fr. Groeschel)