Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

February 4 | Names

Saint John de Britto

A.D. 1647–1693

There is power in a name.

This is one of the most important lessons we can learn in prayer. We easily understand it in the context of everyday life. One person could be known as Mr. Jones to some people, known as Edward to other people, Ted to a smaller number of people, and Teddy to the people closest to him. Same person, many different names—each representing a different level of intimacy.

Saint John de Britto learned this lesson about the intimacy of names when he traveled to do missionary work in India. He found that the people connected with him most intimately when they called him “Arul Anandar,” meaning “filled with grace” in the local language.

It was by calling John this name that the local people invited him into their most intimate needs—their sicknesses and sufferings, their hopes and dreams. “Arul Anandar” was able to bring God’s grace into their lives, showing that Jesus was the answer to all their needs, however intimate those needs were. 

Just as these people called Saint John de Britto by the most intimate name they had for him and invited him into their most intimate needs, we can do the same with God in prayer.

Some people connect very powerfully with God as Father, some people connect very powerfully with God as Son, and others with God as Holy Spirit. For each of these three Persons of the Trinity, there are hundreds of names people have used to refer to the very same one God.

Ultimately, for the most intimate prayer, it’s a great exercise to find the name that most helps you to connect with God. That name will become a source of strength, a source of power, a source of intimacy, a source of comfort, and a source of encouragement.

Whether it’s Abba, Lamb of God, Great Comforter, or Jesus, find the name that helps you connect most intimately with God. That name will bear great fruit in your prayer.

Do I connect with God most powerfully as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit? What name do I usually call Him by?

I will talk to God in the most intimate way I can.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Portugal and Sivaganga, India

Also Known As: Arul Anandar

Symbols: Red Sand

Feast Day: February 4

Canonized: June 22, 1947

Canonized By: Pope Pius XII

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