The readings for the Birthday of John the Baptist (Sunday June 24th) give us an opportunity to reflect on names and naming. God gave Adam the power to name His creatures. When parents chose names for their newborns, they have a sense of giving that child a destiny. Filled with hope they sense they are choosing a destiny even though they can only guess at what it will be.
On Sunday we hear this about the Servant of the Lord:
Before birth the LORD called me,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
In Luke we hear that Elizabeth and Zahariah's son was to be named John, a name unknown in his family.
We are given a name by our parents. God called us into being by a name. This is our true self, the person God created us to be. As life goes on we develop what Trappist Monk Thomas Keating called a "homemade self." this is the person we become as a result of coping with our environment. As we spiritually mature we can turn over to God the defense mechanisms that are part of our homemade self. As they are gradually removed or healed we can become the person God created us to be. In this life the process will not be complete. We can only claim progress, not perfection. In the next life we can hope that we will be among those who hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev 2:17). We will be given a white stone with a new name written on it. At that point we will have become the person God created us to be.That person will be as different from what we are now as is a tree is from the seed which was planted.