What’s In A Name?

~by Susi Pittman

When the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, he brought them to the man to see what the man called each of them; for that which the man called each of them would be its name. The man named the cattle, all the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field; ~Genesis 2:19-20~

Think back to the day when God created the first man and gave him dominion over all the earth and its creatures. God, in fatherly love gave an name to the first man, Adam, wanting Adam to be enjoined to Him in a personal relationship. The Divine Intimacy fills that which was un-named with the immediate recognition of something desired to be known. God would pass to Adam the gift of creation to not only love it and care for it, but to name each creature intimately as part of the whole that all creation shared.

Down through ancient times and right up to today, naming a new baby is a huge deal. In Hebrew culture, names revealed the character and nature of the one being named. Biblically, God sometimes would give a person a new name upon entering into covenant with them. In the Old Testament Abram became Abraham and in the New Testament, Simon became Peter (Petrus the Rock). The naming was important and signified a special relationship.

We name our children with great consideration. And we certainly name our pets because we have a special relationship with them. We are all sons and daughters of Adam and it is like the naming is programmed into our psyche.

Because someone or something has a name it is easy to establish relationship. Relationship begets communication, the more we communicate with one another, the more we come to know each other. The creatures of this world too are able to communicate albeit in a way that God hard-wired them to do.

As stewards through the centuries we have come to learn how to communicate with a good bit of the creatures in the natural realm. This is especially true in our relationship with our domestic pets. We name them, we enter into relationship with them, we communicate with them and don’t they also interact and communicate back with us? To the extent that God imbued them with His love, they are able to reflect His love back to us.

All creatures possess their own “particular good”…which is their own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws. Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. (CCC P339)

To name is to forge relationship. And the Lord would not have wanted us to have this foundation unless it was necessary for our “wholeness.”

God saw to it that mankind and animals could have relationships. And man and all creation has a relationship with its Creator….whether acknowledged or not. It is in the naming, that desire to personalize, to care for someone or something outside of ourselves, by drawing it into a personal relationship with us, that we truly exhibit what God did for us.

To all of you who choose to personalize and enjoin yourselves into relationship with your pets, the wild creatures and the beauty of creation, may God bless you in helping to make the world a little bit more of that “paradise” we lost!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

~ Psalms 150:6 ~

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