The Happiest Place on Earth
Recently, I attend the RE Congress in Anaheim, California. The religious education congress was organized by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I was asked to attend by my province’s vocation director several months ahead of the event. After looking at the map, I realized I was going to be only two miles away from Disneyland. It was at this moment that I hatched a plan.
Uncle of the Year?
I started to save my pennies and dimes preparing for the day when I would visit Disneyland. Let’s just say a ticket into the happiest place on earth is not cheap. Now, why did I want to go to Disneyland? It was not for myself, but I was on a mission for another. Who? My two nieces. I knew my nieces would probably never be able to visit that place, and they are at the princess stage of their lives. My nieces are about 4 and 2 years of age and they love everything and the Disney Princesses. Therefore, my mission was clear, I had to get video of the princesses for my nieces!
They Knew their Names
While in the Disneyland park I visited with three of the princesses: Cinderella, Ariel, and Snow White. I showed each princess a picture of my nieces and ask if I could record a video of them greeting my nieces. Each (as per Disney policy) said yes. After acquiring my prize, I quickly sent them to my brother and sister-in-law. The following day I was called by my eldest niece, via her dad, in order that she could say thank you to me. My brother informed me through that call that my eldest niece could not believe that her fellow princesses KNEW HER NAME! All day she was thinking and pondering about how these princesses knew her name, as my brother told me.
Our Name is Spoken
Yes, after this phone call, my heart melted with such joy. I cannot provide much for my nieces, but this is a memory I hope that they will not forget for years. However, my niece’s experience got me thinking. God speaks our name (Isaiah 43:2). Yet, how often do we forget that? I do lot of work in youth and young adult ministry, and I bring this truth up regularly. When I share this wisdom, I am usually greeted with a stare that whispers the phrase ‘So What.’ Then I remind my listener that our God, is not just a God of love, but is love (1 John 4:16). Thus, when God spoke each of our names, God spoke it in love, and that love brought us into being. From before we were born, we existed in and for love, not because of what we do, but simply because of who we are: God’s Children.
We see the evil and darkness that resides in us, but those chains around our hearts no longer have the last word. Christ has the last word, because he is the Word. Being the Word of God, he was given over to us in love, so we may live in the Divine love for all eternity. Our foundation of love, which was formed before our birth, by God, who held our names in his most loving heart. Love is the way that Christ himself has given to us to walk down. It is this way of love, guided by the Spirit, that allows us to arrive at our final resting place, a room, Christ has prepared for us (John 14:3). This profound life of love, is an experience we are called to ponder on every day, with the littleness of a child, as my niece herself did in a way. However, it is not a princess that speaks our name, but Our Father, who art in heaven, whose own name is meant to be hallowed. We can keep hallowed Our Father sacred name, because God first made our own names sacred.
A soul enkindled with love is a gentle, meek, humble, and patient soul. ~~ St. John of the Cross