Posts Tagged ‘God’s name’

Exodus 3: Sacred Ground, Sacred Name

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Over the last few weeks, we have reflected on the seven times Jesus tells us, “I am . . .” We have looked to his words for wisdom; we have looked at his actions for guidance. Jesus’ statements also reflect the “I am who I am” statement and the sacred Tetragrammaton of four Hebrew consonants YHWH. Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us the importance of this name and today we consider just what this great I AM might mean to us.

From Richard Rohr, OFM: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Jewish revelation of the name of God. As we Christians spell and pronounce it, the word is Yahweh. In Hebrew, it is the sacred Tetragrammaton YHVH (yod, he, vay, and he). I am told that those are the only consonants in the Hebrew alphabet that are not articulated with lips and tongue. Rather, they are breathed, with the tongue relaxed and lips apart. YHVH was considered a literally unspeakable word for Jews, and any attempt to know what they were talking about was “in vain.” As the commandment said: “Do not utter the name of God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). All attempts to fully think God are in vain. From God’s side, the divine identity was kept mysterious and unavailable to the mind. When Moses asked for the divinity’s name, he received only the phrase that translates “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14) . . . When considered in this way, God is suddenly as available and accessible as the very thing we all do constantly—breathe. Exactly as some teachers of prayer say, “Stay with the breath, attend to your breath”—the same breath that was breathed into Adam’s nostrils by this Yahweh (Genesis 2:7); the very breath “spirit” that Jesus handed over with trust on the cross (John 19:30) and then breathed on us as shalom, forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit all at once (John 20:21-23). And isn’t it wonderful that breath, wind, spirit, and air are precisely nothing—and yet everything?

Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, pp. 25-26

(Rohr, Breathing Yahweh)

God the creator comes to us each morning as we rise to remind us that we are created in God’s image out of love, to be used in and for love. Christ the redeemer leads us each day to guide us with his example of hope and compassion. The Holy Spirit abides with us faithfully each evening, resting upon our open hearts to heal us as evening closes in. As we consider what God means with this great promise of I AM Who I AM, we put ourselves in the hands of the one who created us, the one who heals us, the one who loves us beyond all that is comprehensible.

Tomorrow, “you are . . .”

Rohr, Richard. “The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere.” Center for Action and Contemplation, 6 Oct. 2014, cac.org/.

Images from: http://1049theriver.com/he-is-yahweh/ and https://www.quora.com/Is-Jehovah-Yahweh

For more on the seven times Jesus says, “I am,” visit: https://www.voiceofprophecy.com/articles/blog/7-times-jesus-said-i-am


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Jeremiah 31:35-37: The Certainty of God’s Covenant

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Shepherd and Flock

A Favorite from January 3, 2008.

We have seen this chapter of Jeremiah before – the beautiful promise of the New Covenant – the gift of God’s eternal and all-saving love for us, God’s bride.  We have only to invoke God’s name to think of this covenant.

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and the Meditation in MAGNIFICAT is apropos.  Here is a piece of the citation from Fr. Raneiro Cantalmessa, O.F.M.CAP., the preacher to the papal household.

The invocation of the name Jesus helps, above all, to crush at the onset thoughts of pride, self-gratification, anger or impure thoughts.  All we have to do is observe our own thoughts as if they weren’t ours and follow their development. . .  What really spoils our heart is our self-seeking and the search for our own glory.  Those who contemplate God turn away from themselves: they are obliged to forget themselves and lose sight of themselves.  Those who contemplate God do not contemplate themselves!

Of course, we can swing too far in this direction as well . . . refusing to think about what needs sorting out about ourselves.  We can choose to ignore the things we need to work on and we can use the contemplation of God as an excuse.  Balance.  Spiritual and personal maturity always has balance.

Jesus himself spent days in the desert balanced by days wading among the people as he cured and healed them both physically and spiritually.  We can follow his example.  We can set aside a time during our activity-packed day to – as Jeremiah urges – contemplate the evil and good we see around us . . . and to meditate on the goodness of our God whom we call Lord of Hosts.

Dearest, abiding Lord, 

You who are greater than the natural laws, the foundations of the earth and the people . . .

You who are more immense than skies which contain the sun, the moon and the stars . . .

You who stir the waves of the sea to roar, who protects forever his people . . .

You who promise to hold us forever, who forgives us when we turn to you . . .

You maintain the balance of your immense universe yet you remember each one of us each day.

Fortify us in the certainty of your promise . . .

Bless us with the light of your love . . .

Answer us when we invoke your holy name . . .

Bring us the fire of your spirit. Amen.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 3.1 (2008). Print.  

Click on the shepherd and flock image to find more about God’s covenant with the people.

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godsplan1-2blk96gPsalm 54: Nothing is in Vain

Monday, May 29, 2017

Adapted from a Favorite from May 24, 2010.

Nothing I experience is useless; not even one second is in vain.  We should be aware of everything we live, because everything is for his plan.               

Monsignor Luigi Giussani (MAGNIFICAT, Monday, May 24, 2010 Meditation)

We read these words and comprehend their meaning; but this does not always translate into something we can live.  We are not always able to manage our anxiety and fear.

We know that sacred scripture is God speaking to us and that the Psalms of petition are particularly appropriate for the faithful to intone when they are frustrated, disheartened or discouraged.  Psalm 54, Confident Prayer in Great Peril, is one that we will want to pray often, especially when we feel that all we have said and done has been said and done in vain.  As Monsignor Giussani reminds us today, in God’s economy, no word and no act is lost or wasted.  All that we say and do finds a place in God’s plan.

In verse 7 we see that the psalmist asks that the work of the evil be turned back upon them.  The writer is familiar with how God moves in our lives for we know that when the wicked fall, it is by a plot of their own making that has turned in upon them.  And when the faithful flourish, they do so despite the evil that would severe their connection with God. In the closing verses, the psalmist recognizes the power we find in making petitions in God’s name and so we find the logic in ending each prayer with the final words of . . . we pray this in God’s name . . . or . . . we ask this in Jesus’ name . . . or . . . we make this petition in Jesus’ name who together with the Holy Spirit hears our prayers.

Your-Plan-B-is-Gods-Plan-AGod’s word lies open to us today and we have the opportunity to examine our word as we make our requests known to God.  We will want to consider if we pray in confidence or in hesitation.  We will want to examine our relationship with God. Does our doubt outweigh our faith? Is our disappointment stronger than our hope? Is our antagonism more intense than our love?  And we will want to take a look at how and when and why we think that the words we have uttered and the acts we have accomplished in God’s name may have been completed in vain.

Nothing I experience is useless; not even one second is in vain.  We should be aware of everything we live, because everything is for God’s plan.

When we petition the Lord, let us ask with confidence, let us know that God turns evil back upon itself, and let us believe that all we say and do has a place in God’s plan . . . especially when we ask in God’s name.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 24.5 (2010). Print.  


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