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Sacred Signs: The Name of God
This liturgical meditation is taken from Romano Guardini's book, Sacred Signs. We men have become gross; of many profound and delicate things we now know nothing. The word is one of those things: we think of it as superficial, for we no longer realise its inwardness; we think of it as transitory, for we no longer feel its force – it does not hit, it does not strike; it is only a light structure of sounds. But it is a fine body for something spiritual. The essence of some object before us, and what is awakened in our own soul on seeing it – these two meet and find expression in the word. That is how it should be, and how it surely was with the first man. In the earliest pages of Holy Writ we are told that God “brought the animals to Adam, to see what he would call them.” With open mind and seeing soul, man looked through the form of the animal and spoke its name, and his soul responded to the creature. Something stirred in him which stood in special relationship to that creature, for man is the summary and union of all creation. And this essence of the thing outside, and this response within man himself, both in living union, were the twofold source of the name spoken by man.