After a few weeks of some in-depth reflection articles, today I would like to offer a simpler and brief reflection. I pose a question, “Does the profound deserve a capital letter?”.
In school we learn the English rules of grammar. Among those rules are rules of capitalization. We capitalize the first word in a sentence. We capitalize proper names. What about words referring to God?
Is God worth a capital letter?
Of course, as I pose these questions I am capitalizing “God.” God is his name. As a proper name, God gets a capital letter. Other times, when we are referring to false gods or the idea of god in general, we do not capitalize.
What about other references to God?
I always capitalize the word “Eucharist.” It is the source and summit of our faith. It is vital part of what distinguishes us from Protestant denominations. This alone may warrant a capital letter but there is more. The Eucharist is not just bread and wine. It is the Body and Blood of Jesus. Therefore, it is God and gets a capital letter in my book. You might call this use of the word “Eucharist” a proper name. That would get it a capital letter in accord with English rules of grammar. For me, what I am talking about transcends rules of grammar. We are talking about God. (I wrap up my present series on the Eucharist, The Greatest Gift: The Eucharist, this Thursday. See http://www.renewaloffaith.org/greatestgift for this series.)
We call the consecrated host that we reserve in the Tabernacle the Blessed Sacrament. As such, it is a proper name and gets capitalized. It is Jesus.
What about when we refer to God using the personal pronoun “he”? English rules of grammar say we do not capitalize personal pronouns. I use a capital “H” for “he” when referring to God, It may not follow English rules of grammar but it does follow what I believe, God is divine. There is nothing like God. He deserves a capital letter.
What about the Mass? There are times when we use the word “Mass” as a proper name for what we celebrate. Those uses clearly get a capital letter. What about other times? In the Mass, we are celebrating something very profound. We are hearing God’s Word. The Bread and Wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus. It deserves a capital letter.
Please note that I have been capitalizing “Body and Blood.” It is Jesus. For the same reason I capitalize “Real Presence.” It is the presence of Jesus, Son of God that we are talking about. It deserves capital letters.
What about “cross”? Here, along with “crucifix”, is one that makes me think. When we refer to the cross as “merely” two pieces of wood tied together, it doesn’t need to be capitalized. However, when we are talking about Jesus giving his life for us on the Cross, we are talking about something very profound.
Should we capitalize everything about God? No, I am only talking about a very direct connection to God.
What do you think?