Sunday 24th September 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

God Reveals His Name

March 21, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

In last week’s installment of this series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), we examined the fundamental significance of coming to know that all that we believe begins with God and ends with God. “I believe in God” is the first affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed, and likewise, Sacred Scripture begins with the words, “In the beginning God. . . .” (Gen. 1:1). Believing in the one, true God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is central to the Catholic faith and is the basis for each of the 12 articles of the Creed. It is upon professing our belief in God that the “other articles help us to know God better as He revealed Himself progressively to men” (CCC, n. 199).
We went on to acknowledge that all of the attributes of God are perfections that flow from His very Being — He is all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, and so on. God transcends all that our created minds can conceive.
So although we know that man can come to know of the existence of God through natural reason alone, it is equally true that our finite intellects are incapable of grasping but a brief glimpse, a fleeting shadow, of His incomprehensible essence. God, then, in His infinite love, gratuitously willed to make Himself more personally accessible to mankind. To accomplish this, in the early stages of salvation history “God revealed Himself to His people Israel by making His name known to them” (CCC, n. 203).
What is the significance of God’s desire to make known His name? The revealing of a name in ancient times was, in a sense, the disclosure of one’s inner self and life to others. By revealing His name, God wished to make Himself accessible to His people, to make Himself capable of being known and loved (cf. Fr. James Tolhurst, A Concise Companion and Commentary for the New Catholic Catechism, p. 18). As expressed in the Catechism, “a name expresses a person’s essence and identity and the meaning of this person’s life….To disclose one’s name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally” (CCC, n. 203). Furthermore, “the gift of a name belongs to the order of trust and intimacy” (CCC, n. 2143).
Throughout Sacred Scripture, God “revealed Himself progressively and under different names, but the most significant revelation was made to Moses at the burning bush, where He spoke to him from the midst of the fire to tell him that He was the God of his ancestors, Who was faithful to His promises and looked with compassion on the suffering of His people whom He would deliver from slavery” (Tolhurst, p. 18). Notice that God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). Recalling our discussion of typology in a previous installment, could not God’s reference to these three great patriarchs in identifying Himself be a type of the Holy Trinity? Although an analysis of such an observation is outside the scope of this series, a cursory Internet search shows this indeed has been the conjecture of some.
Moses, hiding his face and afraid to look at God, asked the Lord what his response should be when the Israelites surely inquired as to the name of “the God of your fathers.” The Lord identified Himself to Moses as “I AM WHO AM” (Exodus 3:14a) and went on to instruct him: “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14b), or in biblical Hebrew, YHWH (Yahweh). The Catechism explains that “in revealing His mysterious name . . . God says Who He is and by what name He is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is a mystery” (CCC, n. 206).
Let us now take a moment to further examine God’s name as He gave it to Moses. The ancient Hebrew language in which the Old Testament was originally written did not include vowels. Thus, God’s four-letter Hebrew name was given as “YHWH,” and is known as the Tetragrammaton. By inserting vowels between the consonants, “Yahweh” is formed. As Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, explains in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, “Jehovah is God, the English name for the Hebrew Yahweh” (p. 291).
The admonitions “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Ex. 20:7) and “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death” (Lev. 24:16) ultimately induced the Israelites not to pronounce the name God out loud for fear of accidentally taking His Divine Name in vain. Instead, they chose “to substitute for it the title ‘Adonai,’ meaning ‘the Lord’. . . or ‘Elohim’” (ibid., p. 291). In Greek, it is written Kyrios.
The revealed name of God, YHWH, is “at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what He is — infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: He is the ‘hidden God’ (cf. Isaiah 45:15), His name is ineffable, and He is the God Who makes Himself close to men” (CCC, n. 206). Now, what exactly does it mean when we say God’s name is ineffable? Fr. Hardon defines ineffable as “that which is incomprehensible. Only God is ultimately ineffable because only He cannot be fully comprehended by the finite mind” (ibid., p. 276). The fourth-century Doctor of the Church St. Augustine expresses this mystery as follows: “More true than our speech about God is our thinking of Him, and more true than our thinking is His Being” (De Trinitate, VII, 4, 7).
When God proclaimed to the Israelites that “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12) after having earlier revealed Himself as the “God of your fathers” (Exodus 3:6), He is, in effect, revealing “His faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past . . . as for the future. . . . God, Who reveals His name as ‘I AM,’ reveals Himself as the God Who is always there, present to His people in order to save them” (CCC, n. 207). Truly, He is a faithful God who never forsakes His people no matter how far they stray from His loving embrace.

Rich In Mercy

Let us now consider who we are in comparison to God. The Catechism tells us that “faced with God’s fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance” (CCC, n. 208). It would be good to take a moment to consider and reflect upon the fact that except for God we would be nothing — we would not even exist. Yet even though we have been given the incalculably precious gift of our very existence, do not we reject God by our sinfulness on a daily basis, just as the Israelites “turned away from God to worship the golden calf” (CCC, n. 210)?
But He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). For our part, we must but humbly approach Him for forgiveness in sacramental Confession, repent of our sins, and strive toward ongoing conversion. Indeed, as St. Paul tells us, God is “rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:6).
To conclude this installment, we will consider the basic difference between God and His creatures. In a word, it is the unchangeableness of God.
As the psalmist says to the Lord when comparing Him to creatures: “They will perish, but Thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away; but Thou art the same, and Thy years have no end” (Psalm 102:26-27). The Catechism beautifully expresses the truth that “God alone IS. . . . [He] is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from Him; but He alone is His very Being, and He is of Himself everything that He is” (CCC, n. 213).

+    +    +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

blogger

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

21 Sep 2017

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics for which he provided his illuminating insights are the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, an appraisal of the situation in which the Church finds herself in contemporary times, and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. (This interview appeared in three parts in The Wanderer in August 2017.) + + + Part 1 Q. We are in the midst of…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: priests must resist pressure on Communion for remarried

Bishop Schneider said that priests should ‘lovingly and respectfully’ tell their superiors that they cannot abandon the Church’s perennial teaching Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said priests have to follow the Church’s constant practice on Communion, even if their bishops and…Continue Reading

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading

JEFFERSON CITY’S CATHEDRAL SCHOOL RESISTS LGBT POLICY

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Cardinal Burke: ‘urgency’ to resolve dubia ‘weighs very heavily on my heart’

PARRAMATTA, Australia, September 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of the four dubia Cardinals seeking moral clarity from Pope Francis over his controversial teachings on marriage and family have died. But this will not stop the remaining two cardinals from continuing the “important work of resolving the dubia,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the dubia signers, in a new interview. In a wide-ranging interview with the Diocese of Parramatta’s Catholic Outlook, Burke said the “urgency of…Continue Reading

Pope: “Doctrine” does not come before mercy

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “The door that leads to encounter with Jesus is recognizing ourselves as we are, the truth. Sinners. And He comes”. “I want mercy and not sacrifices” said Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the gospel song of the day recalling the conversion of St. Matthew to return

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Poetic Insight

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY “Poet — lawyer — planter, and former soldier” is the description Walker Percy gives to his uncle, William Alexander Percy, the author of Lanterns on the Levee, reprinted by the Louisiana State University Press in 2011, from a 1973 edition. William Percy’s book is worth revisiting not simply for its observations…Continue Reading

A Book Review … Reflections On Our Lady’s Message Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Fatima and the Triumph of Mary: Reflections on the Fatima Message, by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, (World Apostolate of Fatima, 2016); 228 pages, $17.95 available via:http://giftshop.wafusa.org/browse.cfm/4,2578.html. Fatima and the Triumph of Mary is a compilation of articles by Fr. Andrew Apostoli which originally appeared in the World Apostolate of Fatima USA…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Dispelling The False Images Of God

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN The Light Shines on in the Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith, by Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, Ph.D. (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2017), 543 pp. $19.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or 1-800-651-1531. For anyone who struggles to make sense of human suffering or to reconcile the unconditional love of God with the weight of…Continue Reading

Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER Several months ago when we began our consideration of the seven sacraments, it was noted that they can be subdivided into various categories (see volume 148, n. 32; August 13, 2015). The authors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) chose to present them according to a threefold classification: sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism, Confirmation, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. At Our Lady’s July 1917 appearance at Fatima, she stated that a war greater than World War I would break out during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Ambrogio Ratti chose the name Pius XI when he became Pope in 1922. No doubt Our Lady knew he would be known as Pius XI, but why didn’t she say “the…Continue Reading

The Radical Call To Follow Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Sixth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Ezek. 18:25-28 Phil. 2:1-11 Matt. 21:28-32 In the second reading today, St. Paul says we are to have in us the same attitude as Christ. As we continue through the reading we can see the attitude of Christ is marked by humility, obedience, and charity. This essentially repeats…Continue Reading

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of OnePeterFive.com reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading