Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Name.

I really love the theology of picking a new name in religion. Even though I don't have to do it, I do want to pick a new name, for various reasons. Some are pragmatic: The man whose name I share wasn't a saint and doesn't have a feast day, so I have no patron as my name and no name day. No one can pronounce it, no one can spell it and hardly anyone knows who the guy was. Some are spiritual. The religious life is supposed to be a taste of heaven for us. Our lord said to St. John that to those who persevere, he would give a new name when they arrived in heaven. The religious life is our heaven on earth, difficult as it may be,since for those who are called, it fits us for heaven. So we ought to receive a new name.

It represents in a concrete way the giving up of family ties that Our Lord commands in the gospel, and it represents the subjection of oneself to Christ, and the will to lose oneself that Christ may be present. We become less of us so that he may be more and more present in us, which is the essence of sanctity. And sanctity and union with God is the goal of the religious life.

So those are some of the reasons. It is of course, far too early along for my to be seriously thinking of the name I would like and asking for permission to have it, but I do wounder what I could chose. None of the saints I like have names that I can actually choose. I like St.Pius V, since he did in essence what the king whose name I share did. But Pius as a name sounds too pretentious. For my other choices, there are priests and brothers with the name in the community already, so that's not going to happen. I could probably do Louis, Augustine, Bernard, Cyprian, Denis, Ambrose, Edward, or Nicholas. Boniface, Clement, Aelred, Paschal,Fidelis, Irenaeus, and Cuthbert are probably off limits.

But we'll see what I can come up with.

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