What is a package deal? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a “package deal is an offer or agreement involving a number of related items or one making acceptance of one item dependent on the acceptance of another.” Have you ever thought about how your name and baptismal call are part of a package deal? Let’s take a closer look at how our acceptance of our names and baptismal call are important.
In Scripture, names reveal a great deal of information. For example, when Rachel’s first son was born, she named him Joseph, hoping that God would “add another son” for her (Genesis 30:24). In the story of the birth of Jesus, we are told that his name will be Emmanuel, which means God is with us. It is not unusual in the Old Testament that someone gets renamed when they are called to become a prophet or to enter into a new way of life. For example, Abram became Abraham when God called him to be “the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5). Sarai became Sarah for she would be blessed, would bear a son, and she would “give rise to the nations and rulers of nations will [would] issue from her” (Genesis 17:15-16). Jacob became Israel in Genesis 32:28 and 35:10. Their new names convey a call to a new way of life and a message from God.
When I was born, my parents didn’t know that they were going to have twins. My brother was born first and became Gabor, but they had no name for a second baby. It was my grandma who named me Beata (which means blessed/blessing, and happy). Maybe I was seen as a blessing at that time. Since then, my name has become a call for me to live into. At times, when I have a challenging day, my name serves as a reminder and encouragement to me to try to be a blessing to those I serve or the community with which I live. For me, my name is a message and a call to be lived into. My name and call are a package deal.
At baptism, we may have chosen or were given a new name. This name may be that of a saint, someone from the Bible, or another individual who is an example of how to live a holy life. When we are baptized, we receive an entire benefit package – our original sin is forgiven, we receive God’s light, we become God’s children, we become members of the Church, etc. But wait, there is more to this package deal. We also receive a baptismal call – a call to live the life God wants for us, to share the love and word of God with everyone we meet and in everything we do.
Just like our name may convey a call or a message, our baptism also conveys a call. I invite you to look at your baptism and your baptismal call not only as a package deal but also as a gift. When we receive a gift, it’s just a package until we open it. When we receive a gift, we are often eager to discover what’s inside. So, I encourage you to look inside your heart and ask God what you are being invited to do about your baptismal call. Discover your call and then do something with it.
If you feel you are being called by God to a life as a vowed Dominican Sister, please contact one of our Vocation Ministers. Or, to learn more about the Associate program, a community of lay Christians, contact one of our Associate Directors.