Named after a saint
Today is my name’s day. In Bulgaria, where I come from, it means celebrating the day of the saint after whom you were named. Since most people there are named after a saint, and there are only limited number of saints, pretty much everyone knows when is your name’s day. You prepare your home for visits by friends and family members, to celebrate and rejoice. I do miss these celebrations and I will celebrate tonight, even on a smaller scale, with my wife and kids.
But today I am also reflecting on the meaning of naming a child after a saint. Since I was always immersed in the tradition, I have never had time to discern beyond the habit of it. Now I can see the dual meaning:
- to be named after someone whose life was an example of devotion to Faith and detachment from material belongings.
- to be protected by a soul whose whole life was dedicated to spreading God’s teachings of holy and saintly life.
Baha’u’llah in His “Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah” inspires us to live a saintly life:
He is My true follower who, if he come to a valley of pure gold, will pass straight through it aloof as a cloud, and will neither turn back, nor pause. Such a man is, assuredly, of Me. From his garment the Concourse on high can inhale the fragrance of sanctity…. And if he met the fairest and most comely of women, he would not feel his heart seduced by the least shadow of desire for her beauty. Such an one, indeed, is the creation of spotless chastity. Thus instructeth you the Pen of the Ancient of Days, as bidden by your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful.
And further He states:
The purpose of the one true God in manifesting Himself is to summon all mankind to truthfulness and sincerity, to piety and trustworthiness, to resignation and submissiveness to the Will of God, to forbearance and kindliness, to uprightness and wisdom. His object is to array every man with the mantle of a saintly character, and to adorn him with the ornament of holy and goodly deeds.
And He promises the help and protection of the saintly souls and angels from the Concourse on High:
Let not your hearts be perturbed, O people, when the glory of My Presence is withdrawn, and the ocean of My utterance is stilled. In My presence amongst you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. Verily, We behold you from Our realm of glory, and shall aid whosoever will arise for the triumph of Our Cause with the hosts of the Concourse on high and a company of Our favored angels.