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The Name of God

August 20, 2014

A lovely quote from Pope Benedict, from the folks at the Daily Gospel online.   They chose it to accompany the reading for the 7th Sunday of Easter, John 17:1-11a.    I have highlighted a couple sentences that really struck me because I had been recently reading about St. Bernadine of Siena and thinking about devotion to the Holy Name.

What, then, does “the name of God” mean?… The Revelation of John speaks of the adversary of God, the “beast”. This beast, the power opposed to God, has no name, but a number. The seer tells us: “Its number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Rv 13,18). It is a number, and it makes men numbers. We who lived through the world of the concentration camps know what that means. The terror of that world is rooted in the fact that it obliterates men’s faces… But God has a name, and God calls us by our name. He is a Person, and he seeks the person. He has a face, and he seeks our face. He has a heart, and he seeks our heart. For him, we are not some function in a “world machinery”. On the contrary, it is precisely those who have no function that are his own. A name allows me to be addressed. A name denotes community.

This is why Christ is the true Moses, the fulfillment of the revelation of God’s name. He does not bring some new word as God’s name; he does more than this, since he himself is the face of God. He himself is the name of God. In him, we can address God as “you”, as person, as heart. His own name, Jesus, brings the mysterious name at the burning bush to its fulfillment (Ex 3,14); now we can see that God had not said all that he had to say but had interrupted his discourse for a time. This is because the name “Jesus” in its Hebrew form includes the word “Yahweh” and adds a further element to it: God “saves”. “I am who I am”-thanks to Jesus, this now means: “I am the one who saves you.” His Being is salvation.

Der Gott Jesu Christi (trans. The God of Jesus Christ, Ignatius press 2008, p. 23)

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One Comment
  1. August 20, 2014 8:10 am

    That is an excellent meditation. Love it!

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