Name Change

No, I’m not renaming the Haven.  I was reading Owen’s recent post with much interest, and one thing just led to another.  First I thought of Abram’s name-change to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah; and of course there was Saul to Paul.  Then I thought of others, like Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity who became Laudem Gloriae (Praise of Glory), and Saint Faustina who realized she was not just Sister Faustina, but Sister Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.  The list goes on and on.

Then I thought of a song entitled, “I Will Change Your Name”, written by D.J. Butler.  The version I have at home is a lovely one by Eden’s Bridge, on their CD “Celtic Worship 2”.  I was not able to find that for you online, but I found a beautiful version by Terry Eutsler, of The Gate Christian Fellowship

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confident, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks My face

Have you experienced a spiritual name-change?  Please don’t tell me in the comments; it should be a secret between you and God.  But wouldn’t this be a beautiful time to reflect on this; during May, the month of Our Mother, and as we approach Pentecost, why don’t we take some time to sit in silence with the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Spirit,  listening for our new name.  Then, let’s live it!


17 thoughts on “Name Change

  1. I have not experienced a spiritual name change. In fact, where we “came home” they do not encourage adults who are converting to choose a confirmation name.

    I come to embrace who I am, who I am becoming and to love the name I have been given by God through my parents – I didn’t always like my name.

    Is there another name for me written on a white pebble? Apparently so but I don’t need to know that name now. Not being at all contradictory 🙂 just answering the question and it is an interesting one. Peace.

  2. This is a song I love on how God knows us, our names, even when we aren’t known otherwise.

    It was written by Tommy Walker when he met a child in an orphanage and Tommy remembered the child’s name later.

  3. Sometimes when my husband and I are closer than friends and co-parents who remain Catholic through it all–I guess I could’ve just said when we’re “spice” (spouses)!–I’ve noted the three little creases at the side of his eye in smiles. The creases are mine, exclusively.. they are for me, uniquely. They are marks of a growing history. Whenever I see them on other faces, I look away. Maybe the white stone name thing is a lot like and as recognizable as 3 personal eye-creases.

    I’ve often wondered if my mom who labored so over my name choice, ever knew it meant “hymn of joy to God.” If so, they both have been disappointed at times, along with a few others. I seriously cannot imagine the Lord changing it, tho’, unless it is hyphenated.

    And since you mention Mary, I wonder if part of Jesus’ happy anticipation in the Last Supper was because the time was coming when He could say it officially so that it would resound around the world in all ages: “Behold thy Mother.”

  4. Hi everybody – I love hearing all your different points of view – this is a very personal thing, isn’t it!

    Truevyne, that’s a really lovely song, and beautifully performed – so sincere. Thanks for sharing it with us, and for coming by to visit.

    Now I’m just thinking, maybe some bloggers took on names that really expressed their sense of self in relation to our Lord, like Truevyne and Veritas!

  5. Maybe that’s an inspiration from the Holy Spirit or the angels, JT. Who better to do that than you, my friend. Doesn’t have to be a tome at this point in your life when you are so busy…but could be a wonderful article…

  6. Hi everyone,

    Yes the notion of a name is beautiful and powerful, isn’t it? It always gets me excited, so I can’t help but write ….

    In the Gospels, it is particularly mysterious whenever Jesus calls out someone’s name. If you notice, it often happens when the other recognizes Him.

    But also, in John’s Gospel, neither John’s name nor Mary’s name is used. John is “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. Mary is “the mother of Jesus”. Their names are hidden in the Lord, and their public identity is, as you said Gabrielle, in relation to Our Lord. It is a sign that they themselves are hidden in Him, they belong to Him, and no longer exist outside of relation to Him. They have both “died in Christ” – they both live and act “in the name of Jesus.”

    The analogy I like to think of is Christian marriage. The bride and groom give each other their names, though in different ways – the bride’s is hidden in her husband (it’s not intended to be tossed out!), and the husband’s is taken on publicly by the bride. The bride now acts “in the name of” her husband. (A boon for some, a bust for others, I suppose!) In one sense her name has changed, but in another it hasn’t (it is still hidden in her husband). Only her husband knows her *real* name. But her interest is not in her own name, but in her husband’s (OK, of course this is all in the ideal, to illustrate the way it is with the Lord Jesus and each of us!)

    So for you married folks, there is a deep mystery of grace to be explored there!

    Anyway, before getting too carried away I’ll stop.

    Thanks for this thread, Gabrielle and everyone else.


  7. Hmm.. maybe this is a real stretch, but what you’re saying, Jerome, strikes me as being similar to the parish clustering: each church that remains open will maintain its unique name in the heart–but that will eventually be lost in the shuffle somewhere down the road, yet it’s not going to ever be nameless; it’s to become a Blood part of a bigger parish with a new yet unified name.

  8. During the fall perhaps Gab. Think about all Treebeard’s names alone, or even Gandalf’s. It’s big stuff. You can see some of that in Michael O’Brien’s writings too.

  9. Hi Jerome. Your paragraph about John and Mary is very much along the lines of what I was thinking as I was posting this, especially when you write: “They have both “died in Christ” – they both live and act “in the name of Jesus.” If we go back to the context of Owen’s original post, I had looked up some Bible notes re the passage, and the “secret name” on the small white pebble, stone, or amulet (according to the notes I read) is to represent our “new life in Christ”. But also in the song that I posted, it seems to me that we are not always talking about a specific name-change, but that this can be a metaphor for what takes place within us after Jesus heals us, and our weaknesses are turned into strengths.

    Carol, I think I see what you mean. Parishes closing or amalgamating can be such a time of grieving for parishioners, and it takes courage, patience and hope to get through it. In the midst of it, it’s often not easy to accept that it’s a wise decision from “those on high”, and it truly feels like a death, and indeed, is a loss of heritage. We have to trust that the Lord will turn it all to good, and the Holy Spirit will breathe unity and new life into the parishes that remain open.

    Oh JT, you’ll be aghast no doubt, but in truth, I’ve never been a big fan of Tolkien. It’s not for lack of trying. Oh gosh, I just lied. Yes, it’s for lack of trying. I tried to try. I really did. 🙂 So I’ll definitely have to leave Treebeard et al to you, but I could put a reminder on my calendar to bug you about it in the fall, if you want. 🙂

  10. ROFL! I can see you doing that, G!

    Well, I should confess that to see the words “white stone” is to recall a Lenten parish mission exercise once, where we each were to take a white stone from the basket on our way out and (along with confession-to-come!) cast into it our most stubborn sin and then while standing before a body of water or a huge field, cast the thing away from us with the greatest goodwill in amending the problem. But it’s very interesting to read of the scripture behind the white stone, which is so different. I like it, and indeed, a “name” changes.. In the deaf community, too, one receives a certain name when one has lost the illusion of hearing better than them. But a name from God our Father.. whew. One hardly dares think on it. 🙂

    Oh, gosh, I’m not worried about the clustering, but others certainly are grieving. Way back when we first started breaking up the parish cliques by bringing in all the city priests to speak to our RCIA groups, and other groups, and then holding each of the three Scrutiny rites in 3 parishes, I thought the unifying not only was marvelous, but more along the lines of what Christ would want. The clustering is no tragedy — cluster is a far kinder word than catacomb, that’s for sure — but if we have the Eucharist, even if only in Liturgy of the Word some days, we have all we truly need for Viaticum, for all in heaven and purgatory and all on earth are there in His Bread, one Body.. That is the best Communion for which we any of us dare take in, for Christ the Eucharist is raised above all heads, like Moses’ staff of utter victory.

  11. Carol, I thought a little about the parish closing relation, and I thought, in my opinion, what you explained about your husband was beautiful and more in the center of that mystery of names. I thought that it was right in the center, in fact. …

    Gabrielle, yes I was thinking of both, the outward and interior name change. The song by Owen makes me think of Isaiah 62 – the words are very similar, and when I just looked it up, Isaiah makes reference there to marriage. It is a beautiful passage.

    OK, speaking for myself, here’s what I think – I think the name change can be summed in us going from, for example, Someone-else’s-Jerome to His-Jerome. I believe it’s root is in a change of possession, change of relation, so that it’s all about Who you belong to. There is so much in Scripture about being His people or not His people: “For you have been bought with a price.” 1 Cor 6:20. And the Marian consecration is the epitome of baptism and discipleship: Totus Tuus, totally yours, O Jesus through Mary…

    From that, I could then think of a new name for His Jerome, and maybe be called Paul. Or I could keep my “original” name Jerome, as Owen mentioned. In either case, I would be missing something if I don’t put in some explanation to express both the continuity (in the former) and change (in the latter). But, this could be an explanation why some people change their names and some don’t. One name can’t cover everything that’s going on, so some of us are more comfortable entering the mystery from one direction (continuity), and some from the other (change).

    Being active in some ministries, I am called to think often of what the Lord says in Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Their names are given and hidden away in heaven, in the Heart of God, belonging to Him, as they themselves belong to Him. So, that I am His is the thing that really matters, not what great works might come about through me.

    I feel labor pains for birthing a new blog post ….

  12. 🙂

    I look forward to reading that, His Jerome.

    I’ll share one (more) catsup-bottle thought with you folks. By that, I mean sometimes we are just walloped by a holy a-ha! in a mundane moment, such as while reaching for the catsup bottle in the fridge. I was musing deeply (uh, staring at the front room wall right there with my mouth hanging open), when the thought came that our names, just as we ourselves would write them, are burned (by Love) into the wood of His cross — by His choice. I recalled how many years I’d spent thinking His had been solely a collective redemption of us. It was Personal. It couldn’t have been more Personal. It doesn’t make any sense to try to sense other names there. They are all there.

  13. Dear HisCarol, definitely personal.

    Dear HisJerome, look forward to reading it too. Could I put mid-wife on my resumé now? 🙂

  14. That’s funny, HisGabrielle, you and the rest on this comments page definitely played a part in the delivery! Yeah, a spiritual mid-wife. Part of your vocation? … I’m not going to go any further though down a road that is best left for you ladies …

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