SERVING WITH THE ANGELS : WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Technical problems with Google indexing have made it desirable to re-post all of our material. I hope you will find interest in reflecting with me, on the history of the Church over the centuries and during the life of the Blog which began on 14th December 2009. This post first appeared on 13th May 2010.
|THE HOLY NAME - JESUS CHRIST - REPRESENTED BY THE CHI RHO SYMBOL|
Time was when you could always identify a Christian by his/her Christian name. In some Catholic and Orthodox countries, the big annual celebration is a person's "name day"- their patron saint's Feast Day. Their actual birthday was celebrated only by the immediate family, but everyone, of course, knew their name day! The selection of a name was often determined by the Feast Day on which a child was born. More often though, parents chose the child's name because of their devotion to a particular saint into whose care- patronage-they committed their beloved child.
Things have degenerated far and fast. Even among Catholics, it is hard not to laugh (or cry) at the absurd concoctions of names now given to hapless infants.
In the same way, the Church committed churches, parishes, schools and institutions to the care of a certain patron saint. However, in the post Conciliar period, the custom has broken down regarding many schools and institutions and even the occasional parish.
Members of most religious orders gave up their personal names and took names in religion which symbolised the offering of their personality totally to Christ, and the adoption of a patron saint. More lately, "I gotta be ME" became the "order" of the day and we all know what happened to those religious orders.
So, there is and can be, a great deal of lived Catholic culture in a name which taps into the glorious reality of the Communion of Saints. Clergy, parents and grandparents can do a great deal to breathe life back into the Catholic way by emphasising "what's in a name"for us. But its too late to begin objecting to inappropriate names at the Baptismal font. It takes careful remote preparation - from the pulpit, and in the home to get people to appreciate the riches at stake.
And we need Bishops with the gumption to insist that all Catholic Parishes, Buildings and Institutions bear the Patronage of a Saint. Bring back our Catholic Character - breathe life into the Faith of the people.