The Most Holy Trinity

Pope Francis says that Holy Trinity Sunday calls us to live “one with the other,” to “welcome the beauty of the Gospel message” and to learn to ask forgiveness. Speaking to the thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Holy Trinity Sunday 2015, the Pope also spoke of the need for church communities to become ever more “family.” I have to believe that he means this for all of our churches, such as St. Peter’s, the dioceses and the global Catholic Church. The Pope reminds us that The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity is celebrated in honor of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs, the mystery of the three Persons of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are all equally God, and cannot be divided. It renews in us “our own mission to live in communion with God and with each other.” In other words, God has not only called us to live with and for one another, but has given us the greatest and most perfect example of what it means to do so.

What does this look like? It means welcoming everyone in radical ways that can drive us out of our comfort zones, challenging us to truly meet one another where we are. It means bravely and wholeheartedly bearing witness to the beauty of the Gospel. It demands that we truly love each other, even – especially – the people we don’t like or who don’t like us. We are called to share the joy and suffering of Christ and of one another, and we must learn how to forgive. Pope Francis’s instructions are this: “So let’s pitch our lives high, remembering for which glory we exist, we work, we fight, we suffer; and in which immense prize we are called to participate in.”

In conclusion, the Pope invited all those present to make the sign of the cross together saying out loud, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” How many times each day do we make the sign of the cross? It may be during our morning prayers, before meals, certainly at Mass. Maybe it’s when we pray the rosary or pray with our families at bedtime. We make this sign often, but how often do we stop and think about the deep meaning of the words and this simple, yet profound, gesture? We can, and probably should, pause and think about what we are doing. We are marking ourselves with a powerful sign. Wouldn’t it be wise to be aware? What does it mean to sign ourselves with the Divine love that binds the Godhead as One?

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

In this passage from Genesis, God speaks of Himself as “us,” and describes humankind as being created in “our image.” From the very beginning of our story, God implies the Trinitarian nature of the Creator. He says that we will image that nature. So, as images of this Divine love, we are also created with this Trinitarian, community centered love. How do our lives reflect the community of love that is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Three in One? How do we image this Divine nature, which is love itself? Are mercy, grace, and faithfulness part of our identity?

I am often asked to help people understand the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. This is a tough question, and I have yet to find an answer that satisfies on the first try. I believe that that is the way it is meant to be. This principal mystery of our faith isn’t a puzzle that needs to be studied, resolved and then set aside; it is by its very nature something to be continuously contemplated. In some ways, however, the mystery is very simple: as God is three in one, so we who are many are called to be one in Him. God is Love; God loves us so we can love one another.

Though theology is necessary and important, it is not enough. Let’s learn what we can of this Mystery in the readings, the homily and spiritual reading. But rather than spending too much time trying to “figure out” our Trinitarian God, let’s pray to love God more. Let’s allow ourselves to be moved by the depth of love made possible by this unity of the Godhead and begin to feel the ways that we are images of that love and unity. Complete understanding is not necessary for love.

This week, we can begin to ask God to enable us to move through and beyond rational understanding. St. Catherine of Siena’s prayer, from her Dialogue on Divine Providence, can serve as ours as well when reflecting on and immersing ourselves in the love of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:

“Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul I have an ever-greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.” Amen.

Lisa Amos

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