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What's in a name? Sometimes a lot. Sometimes -- in the case of Jesus -- the world.

That Name was so important that the Blessed Mother was explicitly directed to use it!

Note the crucial nature of the names our Popes choose.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when taking the name of a saint is in precipitous decline.

In 2013, by one count, neither "Mary" nor "Joseph" were among the top one hundred most popular names chosen for infants of each gender (number one for girls was "Imogene" and for boys, "Asher," the latter biblical, however: a son of Jacob); "Joseph" came in at eighty-two on a different list (the reliability of all in a bit of question); numbers one for girl newborns on that list was "Charlotte" and "Liam" for boys, with "Noah" high up on the 2013 list as well as one the year before). It's a bit of a muddle.

But the point is made. Major saints have fallen down on recent charts. While biblical names make a number of "top-tens," are they also in decline?

"Names are important to God," writes one expert in deliverance. "You may recall that God changed the name of Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), and Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:28). In those days, an individual's name was significant inasmuch as it reflected either character or destiny.

"When the two sons of Eli were killed and Eli broke his neck and died, Eli's daughter-in-law named her newborn Ichabod, meaning "the glory of the Lord is gone."

"In the Book of Revelation, God promised that He would give each overcomer a new name written on a white stone (2:17). God also promised to write on the forehead of each overcomer the secret Name of God, the name of the city of God, and the new Name given to the Lord Jesus (Revelation 3:12)."

The right name can bring grace.

It can define a mission.

It can connect us to saints when a saint's name is chosen for an infant.

A wrong name for the wrong reason or a frivolous one (when someone is named after an immoral person) can bring a negative tie.

Fortunately, despite the sharp drop-off, Mary remains the most popular name for folks of all ages, while "James" is numero uno for all living males, with "Michael" at four and "Joseph" at nine.

[Spirit Daily bookstore]

[Note also: Michael Brown retreat: Virginia]

[Print article]

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