Don’t Say this Word

I am who am. I was who was. I will be who will be. I bring into existence what exists.

At Daily Mass we have been reading through the book of Exodus for the first reading. And today (Thursday the 15th), Moses stood before the burning bush and asked God’s name so that he could tell the Israelites in Egypt who sent him to them. God replies “יהוה,” which could be translated all  of the above. I exist. I am existence. I am being.

As a coincidence (the Daily Mass readings are not chosen to connect with each other) we reached the passage in Matthew where Jesus invites those who labor and are burdened to find rest in him. We spend so much of ourselves doing it is good to be reminded that as beings created in the image and likeness of the one who simply “is” our first purpose is simply to be. So during these traditionally (but usually not) lazy days of summer, take some time to let go and just be. To rest in the one whose very name is the act of existing.

Oh yeah, and how do you pronounce those four Hebrew consonants you might ask? You don’t. Catholicism has mostly followed the ancient Jewish tradition that the name of God is too holy to be spoken. When read aloud in a Jewish synagogue the reader will substitute the Hebrew word “Adonai” which means Lord. The same word we use in the prayers of the Mass.

-Fr Lou