I knew my first son’s name before he was born. I knew his name before his father sat beside me on the steps of the cathedral and presented to me a ring and a promise. I knew his name when I knelt before the bones of his patron in a gilded church in Rome and prayed a prayer of longing. And when we first heard his cry my husband looked at me and proudly cried his name and we looked at the face of a promise come to fruition from a prayer whispered in hope.
In those early weeks and months, I would sing-song his name, waiting for him to turn his face to me. My heart brimming with love, and spilling over when that sweet gummy smile lit up his face. And in moments when he was upset and crying, it was my voice that brought him back down to a place of peace. We’ve since added two more sons, and two more names. My voice is but one, but there are three names I say.
There is an intimacy in knowing and calling a name. It is not anywhere truer than when our Lord calls us. In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the shepherd that calls his sheep by name. The sheep know his voice, and they follow him wherever he leads because they trust that he will provide them food and safety. They know his voice so well, that they would never follow a stranger, and in fact, they would run in the opposite direction. (John 10:5)
He knows your name. He knew it before you were hidden in your mother’s womb. He whispers it in hopes that you might turn your face to Him. It is not a general calling to all of creation. It is an intimate whispering of your name. Do you recognize His distinct voice, or does it get lost in the noise of the many of other voices and opinions that are thrown at us on a daily basis? It takes practice to fine-tune our hearing to pick up on the true voice of our Lord.
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Let’s commit to taking a few moments today to silence our world and listen for our name, because He knows it and He is waiting for us to turn our faces to Him.
Jacqueline Skemp is a daughter, sister, wife, and mother who endures living in Minnesota after leaving California for her one true love. You can find out more about her here.