"What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." That oft-quoted Shakespearean truism may ring true for most names of persons or objects in most cultures in recent centuries. But in the Middle East in ancient times, a person's name was more than a mere label to distinguish one person from another. A name served to describe a person's qualities, characteristics, values or goals. Hence, in biblical times, names were often changed to denote a change or upgrading of vocation or status (something like the names of popes, monks, nuns, etc. today). Hence, Abram morphed to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul, etc. Thus, in a biblical mindset, a personal name conveyed something significant by which the individual could be better known. Thus, the various names referring to God revealed something about him of profound significance. For instance, the name Elohim-a plural form in Hebrew-suggests a pre-Christian hint of the Trinitarian nature of God, like the name Adonai, which stresses God as man's master, authority and provider. El Shaddai (Almighty God) emphasizes his power; El Elyon (the Most High God) portrays his strength, sovereignty and supremacy, El Olam (the Everlasting God) implied that he is unchangeable and inexhaustible. And Yahweh, (which in its vowel-less form, YHWH, shows its full pronouncing to be sacred) speaks of the very being of God as self-existent-a name rephrased as various compounds in several contexts. Once we grasp this often unappreciated truth that names provide knowledge about the one named, the words of Jesus' prayer of John 17:3 become profoundly nuanced and spiritually meaningful for us: "This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ whom you have sent." That insight, with its scriptural substrate, provides the very raison d' tre for the writing of this book. Father Jude has brought into focus (through quotations and through listing of popular prayers) some of the deeper implications of the devotional use of the name of God in its generic form, as well as in some of its more specific forms as found in the sacred Scriptures. God, as revealed by his names in the Old Covenant is shown to become even more meaningful to us in the New Covenant, where he is staged in his incarnate form as the God-man, Jesus Christ, with a litany of names that unveil our awesome Deity as even more self-revealing-and more love-revealing In five places in John's gospel, Jesus, as the Incarnate God, tells us to "ask in his name." Therefore, in his name I ask that every reader of this little tome will become deeply enriched by its contents and scriptural insights, so that the words of Paul (Colossians 3:17) will become their maxim of life: "Everything you do or say should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus as you give thanks through him to God the Father." Fr. John H. Hampsch, CMF Claretian Teaching Ministry Torrance, California, USA
In the Name of the Lord I Come Against You: Conquering the Golaiths of Our Lives
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