Friday 30th September 2016

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

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Shocking Report Reveals Scientists Have Created the Word’s First Baby With Three-Parents

A shocking new report claims the world’s first three-parent baby (pictured above) has been born. Children born through ‘three-person IVF’ would contain some genetic material from each of three different people. There are about 50 known mitochondrial diseases (MCDs), which…Continue Reading

Donald Trump Names Rick Santorum and Other Top Pro-Life Catholics as Key Advisers

Fresh from announcing a list of pro-life leaders who are advising him on issues that matter to pro-life voters, Donald Trump has named a group of pro-life Catholic leaders as additional key advisers, including pro-life former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.…Continue Reading

Argentine bishop threatened with prosecution for condemning ‘culture of fornication’

September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic archbishop of the Argentinean city of La Plata is under investigation by the country’s “discrimination” police for condemning the modern acceptance of sexual promiscuity and “unnatural” unions, according to local media sources. Archbishop…Continue Reading

First minor killed by euthanasia in Belgium after child euthanasia legalized

BELGIUM, September 19, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Belgium’s federal euthanasia commission confirmed Saturday the country’s first instance of child euthanasia, which became legal in 2014. Belgian media suggested the minor killed via lethal injection was 17. Some media also suggested the…Continue Reading

Donald Trump commits to defunding abortion, Planned Parenthood if elected

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 16, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Donald Trump has pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion in the United States and to defund the nation’s leading abortion provider. In a new, personally signed letter, Mr. Trump attacked “Hillary Clinton’s…Continue Reading

Pope Francis issues motu proprio harmonizing Canon Law codes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter motu proprio on Thursday, in which he brings the basic legal instruments that govern the Latin Church and the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome more closely into accord with one another…Continue Reading

Another “Catholic” Politician trying to redefine the Catholic Faith . . . Devout Catholic™ Kaine breaks with his church on gay marriage, with media blessing

Tim Kaine has officially joined the ranks of Devout Catholic™. How do we know? Because he says he’s Catholic, yet criticizes the church. The Democratic vice presidential nominee played weekend prophet and theologian when he told activists in the Human…Continue Reading

Bishop Morlino’s Move to Ad Orientem Masses in Madison

This past weekend the Most Reverend Robert Morlino, Bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin made an announcement of great liturgical importance. Going forward His Excellency will be offering all of his Masses at the Cathedral ad orientem. Make no…Continue Reading

Longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly dead at 92

phillis

Phyllis Schlafly, the iconic pro-family activist who rose to fame in the 1970s when she campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at age 92, according to the Eagle Forum, the conservative organization she founded. Schlafly had been an…Continue Reading

Soros’ Catholic useful idiots

By Robert A. Sirico – – Tuesday, August 30, 2016 A most remarkable set of documents was coughed up recently by WikiLeaks. George Soros‘ Open Society Policy Center, it turns out, made donations to two faith-based organizations to the tune…Continue Reading

Pope Francis “gratified” by UN goals that demand “universal access to sexual and reproductive health”

Pope Francis has said that he is “gratified” by UN goals that call on member states to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health” by 2030. The term “sexual and reproductive health”, as generally defined, includes access to contraception, including abortifacient methods, and,…Continue Reading

Psychiatrist: The Vatican’s sex ed is the most dangerous threat to youth I’ve seen in 40 years

September 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — In recent years, the Catholic Church has been going through one of her most severe crises as a result of the priestly abuse of youth. The primary victims have been adolescent males.1  This worldwide scandal was…Continue Reading

Newsmax

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 145 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

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Obama Admin Proposes Rule Prohibiting States From Defunding Planned Parenthood

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama has proposed a new rule that would essentially prohibit states from defunding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Leading pro-life members of Congress is not happy about it. The proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could prevent states from blocking Title X funding (federal dollars for family planning services) to abortion companies like Planned Parenthood. Today, Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, joined more than 100 Members…Continue Reading

Emails Show California AG Kamala Harris Teamed Up With Planned Parenthood to Target David Daleiden

New emails show officials in the office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris teamed up with the Planned Parenthood abortion business to target David Daleiden, the pro-life advocate who filmed undercover videos exposing the abortion giant selling aborted baby parts. Earlier this year, California authorities seized a laptop and hard drives containing the video footage collected during Daleiden’s 3-year investigation of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal sale of aborted baby remains, according to a…Continue Reading

Benedict XVI Admits Qualms of Conscience about Vatican II

After the German publisher Droemer Verlag first released it on 9 September 2016, much has already been deeply discussed and variously reported about Benedict XVI’s new interview-book, Benedikt XVI. Letzte Gespräche (Benedict XVI – Last Conversations) which so far has only been published in the German language. It has been shown, for example, how the former pope supports whole-heartedly Pope Francis’ papacy and how he still defends his decision to leave his Petrine office, not…Continue Reading

">We May Not Have A Church To Go To . . .

Paul Likoudis (RIP)

Calling hours will at Vedder And Scott Funeral home on Tuesday September 27th from 4pm to 7pm. 122 N Genesee Street Montour Falls NY 14865 A Mass of Christian Burial Will Be held at 11am on Wednesday September 28 with a reception to be held immediately following at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church. 905 N. Decatur Street Watkins Glen NY 14891 Dear Friends, Paul Augustine Likoudis, age 61 of Caywood, NY, passed away due…Continue Reading

Autumn 1916 . . . The Third Apparition Of The Angel Of Portugal

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY This article will consider the third and final appearance of the Angel of Portugal to the Fatima children in the autumn of 1916. This is rightly regarded as the most important of these three visitations, principally because the Angel gave the children Holy Communion, but also because of the power and…Continue Reading

Homily For The Funeral Mass of Phyllis Schlafly

By FR. BRIAN HARRISON, O.S. (Editor’s Note: Fr. Harrison concelebrated and gave the homily at the funeral Mass for Phyllis Schlafly held on September 10, at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. reprinted with permission.) + + + Dear Friends — Whenever Christian believers gather in God’s house to mark the passing from this life of someone…Continue Reading

Obama: God-Given Rights “Was A Radical Idea”

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY President Barack Obama affirmed this week that the Declaration of Independence recognizes that “individual human beings” have “God-given rights.” Yet, he insisted this was a “radical idea” at the time of the founding. Were he right — which he is not — history would see it as one radical idea Obama…Continue Reading

Never Trump? . . . The Case Against “Sitting Out” The Presidential Election

By BRIAN CLOWES Conclusion (Editor’s Note: To receive an electronic copy of this four-part article with footnotes, e-mail Brian Clowes at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + “When you have a binary choice, you must make a decision. It’s frankly irresponsible to stay on the sidelines right now, given where the republic is heading” — Marjorie Dannenfelser,…Continue Reading

Bibi Backs Trump — On Putin

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praises him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated. Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed. John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. Every year our bank does a company-wide campaign to raise money for United Way. There is some push-back on supporting that organization this year. What’s your take on them? — Name and State Withheld. A. United Way raises funds to support over 40 health and human services programs nationwide, and insists that no United Way funding “is provided to…Continue Reading

The Faithfulness Of Converts

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17 2 Tim. 2:8-13 Luke 17:11-19 There is an old saying that states that converts make the best Catholics. There are, of course, several reasons for this; there are also numerous exceptions to this rule that can be easily demonstrated in the lives of the saints.…Continue Reading

The Role Of The Sacred Liturgy In Developing A Catholic Conscience

By FRANCIS CARDINAL ARINZE Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, delivered this lecture at The Church Teaches Forum in Louisville, Ky., July 16, 2016. (The lecture is reprinted here with permission; all rights reserved. We are presenting it in two parts because of…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . How Catholics End Up As Practical Protestants

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The Church is in the business of making Catholics, of proclaiming and calling all to the fullness of saving truth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our mission to those who doubt or refuse some of our teachings is to call them to that fullness, whether Catholics already in our pews or Protestant brothers and sisters…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… Is Faith Necessary For Salvation?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM For most of us who are cradle Catholics, it is not difficult to believe, since we received the theological virtue of faith in Baptism and grew up with it. Our parents and/or teachers taught us all about the Bible stories, the catechism, the sacraments. We learned to pray the Creed from an early age, and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John Of Capistrano

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Texas there is an old building that is part of the Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service near San Antonio, Texas. This restored mission was founded in 1731 on the San Antonio River by the Franciscans and named after the soldier saint, St. John of Capistrano. In San Juan Capistrano, Calif., the Franciscans…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Bernardina Maria Jablonska

By CAROLE BRESLIN Some people look back on their lives and see how differently things turned out from what they had planned. A professor once told his business students that very few students work in the field they studied in college. If someone had told the young Bernardina Maria Jablonska that she would be the superior of a religious order…Continue Reading