Our (True) Name is Mercy

My Mother’s Day gift from my husband was a copy of Anne Lamott’s newest book, Hallelujah Anyway.  Lamott is a terrific writer and her books are both accessible and deep at the same time.

At one point in the book, Lamott references the title of Pope Francis’ book, The Name of God is Mercy.  Mercy is a subject close to this pope’s heart and he believes mercy is the “first attribute of God.”

But mercy is not only God’s name.  Rather, Lamott writes

Our name was mercy, too, until we put it away to become more productive, more admired and less vulnerable.  We tend to forget it’s still there.  It’s our unclaimed selves, in the Lost and Found drawer, access to another frequency, like a tuning fork….It’s part of human nature.

What an important truth to realize!  We mouth our belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, without thinking about what the really means.  But: if (a) we are made in God’s image and likeness; and (b) God’s name is mercy; then it follows (c) that our name – our true name – not the false name created by our woundedness – is mercy.  (Lamott talks earlier in the book about how we learn early to stifle our merciful nature because mercy can make us look vulnerable and foolish and less productive.)

What would it be, I wonder, if when we wake up every morning we look at ourselves in the mirror and say “My name is mercy”?  What difference might it make if we could remember our true name all day long?


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