“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” (Rev. 2:17)
The people of Kalaupapa came to love Fr. Damien, and they translated his name into the Hawaiian, “Kamiano”. In this way he became even more a part of them, and was more closely identified with his flock. In the book of Revelation we read that the Holy Spirit will give a new name to those who overcome, who persevere and are victorious in Christ. This new name would probably have great meaning for each person, and would identify them as belonging to Him.
In Scripture Christ gave many of his followers new names, e.g., Saul became Paul, Simon became Peter, etc. A name bestowed by God would be a true representation of that person, a way for him or her to “belong more deeply” to Christ. Perhaps it would describe a specific victory or attribute of that person, something unique which God loves about him or her.
Fr. Damien was called Kamiano by his beloved lepers; now he holds in his hand a white stone with a new name inscribed by the Holy Spirit, a name which reflects his faithfulness, generosity and sacrifice.
What name will we receive from God? What does He see in our hearts? We must strive each day to live by the Holy Spirit’s promptings so we can overcome the world! Let us pray to be worthy of whatever name Jesus Christ has planned for us.
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!