Below is a contemplation by our dear Jeana, Seminary Intern.
In cultures like the First Nations, it is traditional to give people names that are descriptive, like Running Bull or Quiet River, which tell us something about the activity of the person. Someone who is quick, strong, and fierce would have a very different name from someone who is dreamy, and patient. Thename is like a metaphor for the characteristic gesture of the person.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about praying in Christ’s name. What is meant here is Christ’s way of being, his activity. Christ acts in the world in a particular way, and we can recognize him by his deeds. He brings light and warmth. His love is unconditional. He does the will of the Father. The name Christ, signifies all the activity of this being.
We also hear that when we pray to the Father in Christ’s name, in Christ’s way, we will receive what we ask for.
Nearly ten years ago when I was in graduate school, I found myself at the school’s medical center undergoing a barrage of blood tests, then at my parents’ house where I could hardly get out of bed. I did not know what was wrong or what would happen to me. Would I ever recover, hold a job and support myself, or do the things I had loved?
In order to move forward, I had to let go of my former identity, as a star student and a hard worker, and surrender to the unknown future. I was full of fear and grief. And in that place I entered into the activity of Christ. From that place of surrender, I prayed whole-heartedly, “Your will be done.”
Whenever we relinquish our own desires, we can surrender to the will of God, and pray in thename of Christ. Every new moment is full of the unknown, and it gives us an opportunity to let go of our personal wishes, and place our trust in God. In Christ’s name we pray, and we receive His grace.