Monday 27th April 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 2

Attention!

On-Line Store is now working. Order your print edition of The Wanderer TODAY!

CLICK HERE!

Cardinal Burke criticizes German cardinal’s ‘ridiculous’ claim that German Church is not a ‘subsidiary of Rome’

ROME, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an interview today with the prominent German newspaper, Die Welt, Cardinal Raymond Burke criticized Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who suggested German Catholic dioceses are not a “subsidiary of Rome” on the question of Communion…Continue Reading

Scandalous Commencement Honors Announced at Eight Catholic Colleges

At least eight Catholic colleges have announced scandalous speakers or honorees at their 2015 commencement ceremonies, according to The Cardinal Newman Society’s annual review of college graduations. Many colleges wait to release the names of their honorees and speakers, so…Continue Reading

Charlotte’s Catholic bishop bans PFLAG event with LGBT-affirming nun from Uptown church

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An upcoming speaking engagement with an LGBT-affirming Catholic nun will have to be relocated after news Monday that she and the event have been banned from an Uptown church by Bishop Peter Jugis of the Roman Catholic Diocese…Continue Reading

Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Robert W. Finn

Vatican City, Apr 21, 2015 / 04:47 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph has resigned, nearly two and a half years after being the first U.S. bishop convicted of a misdemeanor in failing to report…Continue Reading

The IRS Assures an Atheist Group It Will Monitor Churches

It was bad enough, as I wrote here last August, that the Internal Revenue Service appeared to reach an agreement to monitor the pulpits of ill-favored churches. What’s worse is that the IRS, directly counter to Freedom of Information Act…Continue Reading

ISIL video purports to show killing of Ethiopian Christians

A video purporting to show the killing of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Libya has been released online. The 29-minute video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, one by an affiliate in eastern Libya known…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Responds to Recent Criticisms

In an Italian-language interview, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta said, ‘I am not against the Pope; I have never spoken out against the Pope. … My purpose is to serve the truth.’ Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke,…Continue Reading

‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democra

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools. A big-ticket…Continue Reading

American Sisters accept Vatican reforms on doctrine, theology

Vatican City, Apr 16, 2015 / 04:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a joint report marking the conclusion of a multi-year mandate for reform, members of the LCWR have agreed to corrections called for by the Vatican, and said they will…Continue Reading

Cardinal George, archbishop emeritus of Chicago, dies at 78

DEVELOPING: Cardinal Francis George, the archbishop of Chicago from 1997 to 2014, died Friday at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer, the Archdiocese of Chicago has confirmed.

We Must Pray For And Defend This Good Bishop

bishopcord

I call on all the readers here to pray and offer fasting and alms for the spiritual defense of Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco. Will San Francisco be the Alamo of the Church in these USA? Today, in the ultra-liberal…Continue Reading

Prominent Catholics call on pope to oust S.F. archbishop

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope ordains priests for diocese of Rome

pope763

Vatican Radio) On Sunday, Pope Francis presided over the ordinations of priests for the diocese of Rome in Saint Peter’s Basilica, reminding them they are ministers of unity in the Church. Most of the 19 men ordained 26 April were part of Roman seminaries, including the Pontifical Roman Seminary, the Redemptoris Mater diocesan college, and the Madonna del Divino Amore seminary. In off-the-cuff remarks during his homily for morning Mass, Pope Francis had advice for…Continue Reading

Massive Earthquake Strikes Nepal

POPE762

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is praying for the victims of a major earthquake in Nepal. The major earthquake, which  measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale, shook Nepal just before noon on Saturday, causing major damage to the densely-populated Kathmandu Valley. Officials fear hundreds of people have died. The quake’s epicenter was 80 km northwest of the country’s capital, Kathmandu. The quake toppled a 100-year -old temple, split roads, and razed houses and buildings. Among the…Continue Reading

Pope is a modern-day St George fighting the forces of evil

pope761

(Vatican Radio) Monsignor Guillermo Karcher is an Argentinian priest and pontifical usher and has known the Pope for over 20 years. It was he who held Pope Francis’ microphone when he addressed his first words to the world from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica following his election. In an interview with Vatican Radio marking the Pope’s name-day of Jorge or George, Monsignor Karcher described the Pope as a modern- day St. George because “he…Continue Reading

Pope: Our Vocation Is To Care For The Covenant Of Marriage

(Vatican Radio) At his general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the family, focussing again on the complementarity of men and women. Pope Francis commented on the second account of the creation of man in Genesis (following his commentary at the previous audience on the first account of man’s creation. The first man, Adam, is created “alone” – and God determines to make for him “a helper suited to him.” When the…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Lucia And The True Message Of Fatima

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary: Biography of Sister Maria Lucia of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart O.C.D., by Carmel of St. Teresa, Coimbra, Portugal (World Apostolate of Fatima, USA, 440 pages, $19.95 — available from publishers: www.bluearmy.com at http://giftshop.wafusa.org/). A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, which runs to…Continue Reading

Church Leaders . . . Pour Out Prayers, Mourning For Cardinal George

CHICAGO (CNA/EWTN News) — The death of Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, OMI, on April 17 was met with an outpouring of prayer, as well as gratitude for the life and service of the prominent Church leader. Archbishop Blase Cupich, who now heads the Chicago Archdiocese, remembered his “beloved” predecessor in a press conference shortly…Continue Reading

Obama’s Republican Collaborators

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The GOP swept to victory in November by declaring that this imperial presidency must be brought to heel, and President Obama’s illicit seizures of congressional power must end. That was then. Now is now. At this writing, Congress takes up legislation to cede His Majesty full authority to negotiate the largest…Continue Reading

Natural Selection And The Natural Law

By DONALD DeMARCO These two expressions — Natural Selection and Natural Law — sound very much alike. Yet their implications are radically different. In fact, they differ to the degree that matter differs from spirit. Charles Darwin’s major opus, The Origin of the Species, is immensely influential. Despite its influence, few have read or properly…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Is Church Teaching On Contraception Infallible?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + There are two primary means by which the Church may declare a teaching infallible. The first and most definitive statement of infallibility is the Pope’s solemn declaration ex cathedra that a matter…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Did Jesus Christ Found A Church? If He Did, How Can She Be Identified?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 The Church is indefectible because of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of the Church’s indefectibility: He promised the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to them — the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Counselor — to bear witness to Him, Jesus; to remind them…Continue Reading

Origin, Foundation, And Mission

By DON FIER Part 2 The beginning of the Church in the mind of God can be traced back to the creation of the world. As taught by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life” (n. 760). Christoph Cardinal Schönborn states the same notion with different words:…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I would be interested in your analysis of the enclosed article that was in my parish’s Sunday bulletin. — F.W.R., Florida. A. Here is the text of what appeared in the bulletin: “Addition to homilies/reflections on the daily Scripture readings at daily Mass. It is permissible, according to the Roman Catholic liturgy regulations, that any competent lay person may…Continue Reading

Our Hearts Will Be At Peace

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fifth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 9:26-31 1 John 3:18-24 John 15:1-8 In the second reading, St. John says that if our hearts do not condemn us, then we have confidence in God and we will receive from Him whatever we ask. We live in a relativistic society where very little is seen as…Continue Reading

Rededication Of The Diocese Of Honolulu To The Divine Mercy Divine Mercy, Or Diabolical Mercy?

By MOST REV. LARRY SILVA (Editor’s Note: Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12, rededicated his diocese to the Divine Mercy. The rededication took place at a Sunday evening Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Pearl City, Oahu. He first dedicated the diocese to the Divine Mercy on Sunday, April 23, 2006, at Star…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Spain

By CAROLE BRESLIN Saints come from all walks of life. There are scholars and illiterate, rich and poor, men and women, religious and laity, kings and peasants. There are those who are more active in their faith and those who are more contemplative. Despite the widely varying backgrounds of the saints, they all have several things in common. First of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anselm

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anselm was born in France near the Swiss Alps around 1033. At the age of 15, he wished to enter religious life by joining a monastery. Sadly, his influential father was so against it that the monastery refused to accept him. This so discouraged the youth that he drowned his sorrows in worldly pursuits. He deeply…Continue Reading