Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.
When Jorge Mario Bergolio was baptised on Christmas Day 1936, his parents, Regina Maria and Mario José, gave him the name Jorge. He was known by this name until 13th March 2013 when he was elected Pope. He had little time to choose a name by which he would be known from then onwards. He chose Francis, because of his admiration for and devotion to St Francis of Assisi.
For centuries when a Pope is chosen, he takes the name of a Saint or in the case of John Paul 1 and John Paul 11, two saints’ names. There is a long history to this custom and it is likely to continue way into the future. The person remains the same, but the change of name indicates a new mission given for which they have been chosen. In the past, religious women and men were obliged to change their Baptismal Name to that of a Saint on the day of religious profession. I’m grateful that this had changed when I took vows. I’ve always been happy with the baptismal names, Aidan Joseph, given by my Parents.
God recognises our names, especially our Baptismal names, received the day God adopted us into His family. There is an intimacy in the way God uses names. Young Samuel is in the Temple and presumes that it is Eli who is calling his name. But it is not; it is God. This call is special and will remain with Samuel for the rest of his life.
Something similar happens between Jesus and some of those who will become disciples in the future. In the invitation of Jesus to “come and see”, there must have been something that intrigued those first followers. It is hard to explain what this is. They remember that it was at 4 o’clock when the call of Jesus was first heard.
But maybe each of us could look into our own experience of God in our lives.
I have never heard the actual sound of God’s voice. But, almost daily I know that He speaks to my heart. Maybe, He has a ‘secret’ name for each of us that only He uses. Our task is to discover the whisper of God using our ‘secret’ name to attract our attention, in a gentle way.
Were you ever thinking of some person or talking about them and then they are on the phone to talk to you? It is almost as if by a form of telepathy, you are joined at some level beyond or below our conscious mind. I love to imagine God looking at each of His adopted children and knowing that we need His soothing voice. Sometimes, I keep enough noise going on in my mind and heart and I miss His call. The good thing to know is that He will call again!
God is not a ventriloquist. Yet, He can use us to speak His word to another. A lovely part is that I may not be aware that I am echoing His words for another. You may have had the experience of a persson telling you, how something you said or did for them, made a difference in their need. You may not even remember what you said or did. God chooses us to call others. He respects the freedom of all and will not force a message onto anyone. He will give us a word, a gesture to let another know that they are loved, valued and not alone.
The Book of Revelation is a favourite of mine. St John in this wonderful piece of writing, may be recalling the day He first met the Lord. He went and saw and stayed the rest of his life. He became the ‘Beloved Disciple’ – what a great name to have!
John praises the church at Pergamum for having held fast to ‘my name’. Then John tells us that the Spirit, “will give us a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.” (Apoc. 2:7) Keep praying to discover the ‘secret’ name by which God calls you! He often uses it to call you.