The Catholic Message Board

Lazarus means?
Page 1 of 1

Author:  mgross [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Lazarus means?

Saturday morning, a deacon who was to give the homily that evening, asked two interesting questions. What does Lazarus mean, and do you know anyone named Lazarus? why is it not a popular name?

I don't know anyone named Lazarus, but did find that St. Jerome said
"Lazarus signifies 'helped'"

also found this interesting letter St. Jerome wrote to a deacon who had committed sins against the 6th commandment. It is rather timely, as well as an excellent application of scripture to life. It's also the best rejoinder to the how to deal with the attack of "being judgemental" that I've seen!


The letter (CXLVII) of St. Jerome to Sabinianus

9. Why is it that you disregard your own scars and try to defame others? Why is it that when I give you the best advice you attack me like a madman? It may be that I am as infamous as you publicly proclaim; in that case you can at least repent as heartily as I do. It may be that I am as great a sinner as you make me out; if so, you can at least imitate a sinner's tears. Are my sins your virtues? Or does it alleviate your misery that many are in the same plight as yourself? Let a few tears fall on the silk and fine linen which make you so resplendent. Realize that you: are naked, torn, unclean, a beggar. It is never too late to repent. You may have gone down from Jerusalem and may have been wounded on the way; yet the Samaritan will set you upon his beast, and will bring you to the inn and will take care of you. Even if you are lying in your grave, the Lord will raise you though your flesh may stink. At least imitate those blind men for whose sake the Saviour left His home and heritage and came to Jericho. They were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death when the light shone upon them." For when they learned that it was the Lord who was passing by they began to cry out saying: "Thou Son of David, have mercy on us." You too will have your sight restored; if you cry to Him, and cast away your filthy garments at His call. "When thou shalt turn and bewail thyself then shalt thou be saved, and then shalt thou know where thou hast hitherto been." Let Him but touch your scars and pass his hands over your eyeballs; and although you may have been born blind from the womb and although your mother may have conceived you in sin, he will purge you with hyssop and you shall be clean, he will wash you and you shall be whiter than snow. Why is it that you are bowed together and bent down to the ground, why is it that you are still prostrate in the mire? She whom Satan had bound for eighteen years came to the Saviour; and being cured by Him was made straight so that she could once more look up towards heaven. God says to you what He said to Cain: "Thou hast sinned: hold thy peace." Why do you flee from the face of God and dwell in the land of Nod? Why do you struggle in the waves when you can plant your feet upon the rock? See to it that Phinehas does not thrust you through with his spear while you are committing fornication with the Midianitish woman. Amnon did not spare Tamar, and you her brother and kinsman in the faith have had no mercy upon this virgin. But why is it that when you have defiled her you change into an Absalom and desire to kill a David who mourns over your rebellion and spiritual death? The blood of Naboth cries out against you. The vineyard also of Jezreel, that is, of God's seed, demands due vengeance upon you, seeing that you have turned it into a garden of pleasures and made it a seed-bed of lust. God sends you an Elijah to tell you of torment and of death. Bow yourself down therefore and put on sackcloth for a little while; then perhaps the Lord will say of you what He said of Ahab: "Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days."

10. But possibly you flatter yourself that since the bishop who has made you a deacon is a holy man, his merits will atone for your transgressions. I have already told you that the father is not punished for the son nor the son for the father. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Samuel too had sons who forsook the fear of the Lord and "turned aside after lucre" and iniquity. Eli also was a holy priest, but he had sons of whom we read in the Hebrew that they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of God, and that like you they shamelessly claimed for themselves the right to minister in His sanctuary. Wherefore the tabernacle itself was overthrown and the holy place made desolate by reason of the sins of those who were God's priests. And even Eli himself offended God by shewing too great leniency to his sons; therefore, so far from the righteousness of your bishop being able to deliver you, it is rather to be feared that your wickedness may hurl him from his seat and that falling on his back like Eli he may perish irretrievably. If the Levite Uzzah was smitten merely because he tried to hold up from falling the ark which it was his special province to carry; what punishment, think you, will be inflicted upon you who have tried to overthrow the Lord's ark when standing firm? The more estimable the bishop is who ordained you, the more detestable are you who have disappointed the expectations of so good a man. His long ignorance of your misdoings is indeed easy to account for; as it generally happens that we are the last to know the scandals which affect our homes, and are ignorant of the sins of our children and wives even when our neighbors talk of nothing else. At all events all Italy was aware of your evil life; and it was everywhere a subject of lamentation that you should still stand before the altar of Christ. For you had neither the cunning nor the forethought to conceal your vices. So hot were you, so lecherous, and so wanton, so entirely under the sway of this and that caprice of self-indulgence, that, not content with satisfying your passions, you gloried in each intrigue as a triumph and emerged from it bearing palms of victory.

11. Once more the fire of unchastity seized you, this time among savage swords and in the quarters of a married barbarian of great influence and power. You were not afraid to commit adultery in a house where the injured husband might have punished you without calling in a judge's aid. You found yourself attracted and drawn to suburban parks and gardens; and, in the husband's absence behaved as boldly and madly as if you supposed your companion to be not your paramour but your wife. She was at last captured, but you escaped through an underground passage and secretly made your way to Rome. There you hid yourself among some Samnite robbers; and on the first hint that the aggrieved husband was coming down from the Alps like a new Hannibal in search of you, you did not think yourself safe till you had taken refuge on shipboard. So hasty indeed was your flight that you chose to face a tempest at sea rather than take the consequences of remaining on shore. Somehow or other you reached Syria, and on arriving there professed a wish to go on to Jerusalem and there to serve the Lord. Who could refuse to welcome one who declared himself to be a monk; especially if he were ignorant of your tragical career and had read the letters of commendation which your bishop had addressed to other prelates? Unhappy man! you transformed yourself into an angel of light; and while you were in reality a minister of Satan, you pretended to be a minister of righteousness. You were only a wolf in sheep's clothing; and having played the adulterer once towards the wife of a man, you desired now to play the adulterer to the spouse of Christ.

12. My design in recounting these events has been to sketch for you the picture of your evil life and to set your misdeeds plainly before your eyes. I have wished to prevent you from making God's mercy and His abundant tenderness an excuse for committing new sins and to save you from crucifying to yourself the son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame. For you may do these things if you do not read the words which follow the passage to which I have alluded. They are these: "The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessings from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."


Author:  Polycarp [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:32 am ]
Post subject: 

Lazarus or Lazar is the same as Eleazar or El'azar, which is a Hebrew name meaning "God's help." The word "azar" or "ezer" means "help," as in "Eben-ezer," the Stone of Help, or woman as the "help meet," which in Hebrew is "ezer kenegdo."

I'm not sure why it's not a popular name. In Jewish culture the name has remained popular. We even have the fictional character of Lazar Wolf in Tevya and His Daughters, which book is where Fiddler on the Roof comes from.

Author:  Custos [ Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Haddock's Eyes

Names are popular and unpopular for all sorts of reasons, with custom, culture, and fashion leading the pack. I certainly never knew anyone named Jason or Joshua or Ethan or Darren when I was growing up, although among the 22 boys in my parochial school class there were 5 named John and 3 named Francis. In the United States "Simon" and "Nigel" would be considered highly unusual names, but in England they are quite common. In Poland, "James" is not a common name among Catholics because in Polish it is the same as Jacob, and that name is considered a "Jewish" name. Meanwhile, Poles commonly give boys the name Adam, which in America would be considered far more "Jewish" than James!!!

According to a sampling done by the Social Security Administration, the ten most common names given to American girls born in 1905 were Mary, Helen, Margaret, Anna, Ruth, Dorothy, Elizabeth, Mildred, Lillian, and Marie. The only one of those ten that made the list in 2003 was Elizabeth, which was in ninth place; the other girls' names on the top ten list were Emily, Emma, Madison, Hannah, Olivia, Abigail, Alexis, Ashley, and Samanatha. When did you last hear of a girl named "Mildred"? Did your great-grandmother ever even conceive that it might be remotely appropriate to name a daughter "Madison"? Besides finding it peculiar that anyone would want to name a little girl after a short man who was President when the British burned the White House and the Capitol, I find myself thinking that whereas our granparents wanted to name their daughters after saints, the current generation wants their little girls to sound like soap opera characters or strippers.

In short, then, Lazarus is unpopular HERE, and NOW -- but ten yeas from now, or in another country, who knows how popular it may be? What might be more useful is to stop regarding current local fashion as "standard" in any way -- in the long view of things, everything familiar to us is the exception rather than the norm.


Author:  mgross [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 4:24 pm ]
Post subject: 

Polycarp wrote:
Lazarus or Lazar is the same as Eleazar or El'azar, which is a Hebrew name meaning "God's help." The word "azar" or "ezer" means "help," as in "Eben-ezer," the Stone of Help, or woman as the "help meet," which in Hebrew is "ezer kenegdo."

I'm not sure why it's not a popular name. In Jewish culture the name has remained popular. We even have the fictional character of Lazar Wolf in Tevya and His Daughters, which book is where Fiddler on the Roof comes from.

Thanks! I checked the US Census bureau, and a statistical study of 7.2 million respondants to the 1990 census returned 6.3 million names, which contained 1,219 unique first names. Lazarus was not on that list. Conclusion: a very rare name.

Author:  Mamamidwife [ Thu Mar 17, 2005 4:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

My mother suggested we name our last son Lazarus. We chose Simon. :)

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group