Wednesday, March 29, 2017



Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 St. Charles Borromeo Church Parm, Ohio

Let him who has ears heed the Spirit's word to the churches! To the victor I will give the hidden manna; I will also give him a white stone upon which is inscribed a new name, to be known only by him who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)

Do you find this scripture passage intriguing?  I've often wondered if we will be called by a new name in heaven?  There are a few passages from the Bible that one can turn to for meditation on this subject.

At the Annunciation, it seems that Our Lady, Mary, is given a new name, for the angel Gabriel refers to her as "full of grace."
(Luke 1:28) He doesn't call her by her earthly name. Then, when Mary visits Elizabeth she exclaims in her joyful "Magnifcat" that God has another name destined for her: Blessed! She tells us directly, through the Holy Spirit, that all generations will call her blessed. (Luke 1:48) And, in fact, the entire Church refers to her as the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel also announces the name of her Son: Jesus!

Before the Visitation, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and proclaimed a name for his son...John. Zechariah finally consents to God's will, and breaking family tradition, names the child, John.

It seems that names are very important to God.

Another person, who was given a new name is Peter.  Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, which means rock.

I for my part declare to you, you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church... (Matthew 16:18).

An in-turn, Peter calls the Lord by another name: Messiah!

You are the Messiah...the Son of the living God! (Matthew 16:15)

In religious life, monks and nuns are given a new name and a religious title when they are clothed in the habit. We, as Secular Carmelites take a religious title when we make our promises. My religious title is Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I also have a second title that one can request during great celebrations of the Order. During the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, which the order celebrated last year, I requested an additional title: Rosemarie of Jesus the Living Water. These titles are only used for devotional purposes, in community on occasions, and when communicating officially with the Carmelite Order.

As Catholics, we receive a new name when we are confirmed. We choose a saint that we can identify with or a saint that we would like to emulate. 

At the time of their ordination, priests can choose a devotional name as well. This is an option for them, it is not required.

Names, names, and more names.  The Church has many names and titles for Jesus and Mary. Perhaps you are familiar with the Litany of Loreto. This litany is full of beautiful names and titles for Our Lady:

V. Lord, have mercy.
R. Christ have mercy.
V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.
R. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us. 
Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 
Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,

V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be freed from present sorrow, and rejoice in eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Spouses sometimes refer to each other with "pet names." Perhaps you call each other 'Honey' or 'Sweetheart.'  Terms of endearment that mean something special to the couple. It is an intimate sharing between those who love each other. In the intimate encounters of prayer, St. Teresa of Avila would tell Our Lord, " I am Teresa of Jesus." And he would lovingly respond, " I am Jesus of Teresa."

Until the mystery of a new name in heaven is revealed to us, let us fulfill our baptismal promises under the name in which we were baptized. Let us ask our confirmation patron saint to help us lead a life of virtue and holiness. And let us seek the help of the Saints to assist us in life and at the hour of our death.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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