Two reflections for the Feast of the Holy Trinity
The first reflection is from a Dominican Sister
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matthew 28: 16-20
In the Name of the Father- God for us; of the Son – God beside us; of the Holy Spirit – God within us
I wish you a grace-full and Happy Feast Day!
Karl Rahner years ago implied, and I paraphrase, that were the Church to announce tomorrow that we no longer adhered to the doctrine of the Trinity, many would just “ho,hum” and be about their day. Perhaps this is part of the reason that we are so lost as a people, a nation, a human family. We‘ve forgotten who we are; we’ve lost our identity. Richard Rohr has said: “God created us in God’s own image, and darn it, we’ve returned the favor.” The only trinity some seem to worship today is “Me, Myself, and I.”
Genesis states: “Let us make humans in our image and likeness,” and God saw that it was very good. We have been created by Love, out of Love, for Love, to BE unique sacraments of that Love on Mother Earth for a brief time. What would it look like if we consistently lived aware of our DNA as children of a Trinitarian God? I love to dance, but, to be honest, I’ve never been good at line dancing. I was happy, therefore, to discover that the ancient Greek Fathers depict the Trinity as a Circle Dance, a to and fro of love energy, dynamic, generative, an infinity of trust and mutuality.
Most of us know the term Lectio Divina as a way of praying with the Word of God. I came across an article, however, describing “Visio Divina”, meaning a sacred seeing with an image an aspect of ourselves in God at the non-verbal, heart level. Then, it happened, and of all places, on TV, as it brought me into an Anglican Cathedral on an early Saturday morning.
When I turned on the TV last week to get the highlights of the morning news, Meghan Markle happened to have just arrived at the stairs of the Cathedral. I sat mesmerized for the next two hours, moved by the sacred setting, the music, the scripture and prayer; but, most of all, I was so touched by the image of Harry’s look of love for Meghan. That energy of love between them was so tangible, almost palpable. As he lifted her veil, he couldn’t help but say: “You’re amazing!” Then, so overwhelmed with her gift of love and self to him, he said: “I’m so lucky! I’m so lucky!” and turned to wipe away his tears.
And that is when today’s feast came to my mind. God lovingly gazing at me, at you, as Harry did to Meghan, but ever so wondrously more than we can imagine! God is Love, and where there is love, there is God. God sees to the very core of our being and delights in God’s own DNA of life and light and love! God saw that it was good and claimed: “You are mine to have and to hold, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, even through death we will never part.” I had to say, not that I was “lucky,” but “I’m so blessed! And I’m so grateful to have life and be so gratuitously, unconditionally loved.”
Then, Bishop Curry electrified the congregation with the preached word, inspired by Martin Luther King, that LOVE, God’s redemptive love, can and will change the world. Don’t underestimate it, he warned; don’t sentimentalize it! We may say, “Love me, love my cat” but God stretches that to “Love Me, Love ALL that I love.” Not easy, but possible with openness to grace. True love has its cost, just ask Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Dorothy Stang. Just ask Jesus! Again, in the words of Ilia Delio: “Our challenge today is to stay the course of love, for a world that resists love, fears love, and rejects the cost of Love.”
“Ultimately, the only way I can be myself,” said Thomas Merton, “is to become identified with God in whom is hidden the reason for my existence, and fulfillment of my existence.” Let us join the two step Circle dance of Love of our Triune God and of all that our Triune God loves.
Joan Delaplane, O.P.
the second reflection is from a Dominican Friar (priest)
THE MYSTERY OF RELATIONSHIPS
Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40 Romans 8:14-17 Matthew 28: 16-20
I have come to believe that the Feast of the Holy Trinity is one of the most important celebrations in our church year. In a world where we are encouraged to begin new relationships, struggle with existing relationships, warned against harmful relationships, expected to understand our relationships, and have relationships on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, we are given an opportunity to reflect and to celebrate our relationship with the three persons in one God.
During my life there were different ways that people tried to explain to me the relationship between the three persons of the Holy Trinity. In the fifth grade, after coming home after Mass on the Feast of the Holy Trinity, my father tried to explain to me what the priest said about the Holy Trinity in his homily. At the kitchen table, the coffee in my father’s cup became God the Father. The cream that my dad added became God the Son. The sugar that he stirred into the mixture became God the Holy Spirit. And I was the cup where all three persons came together. At the time, I suppose the breakfast table theology of my father made sense to him who always enjoyed a good cup of coffee. For me it was a chance to see how a man with an eighth grade education understood God through the simple things of life.
In the seminary, I read what the Fathers of the Church taught about the Holy Trinity. After looking up words like “homoousios” ”hypostases”, “procession”, and “spiration”, I memorized what the Church Fathers theorized about God’s inner relationship in order to pass the final exam. I was not impressed with what I was able to learn about God’s inner relationship. I was impressed with the struggle that people went through to discover how to understand and to explain God. The irony is that the early theologians who used difficult and vague language about the Trinity did so for no other reason than to safeguard the truth that God does connect and God does relate to all of us but in a very mysterious way. The question of the Holy Trinity came up early in our church’s history because of how people were trying to describe the person of Jesus who walked, who talked, and who died like every human being. It was when theologians began to ask themselves what this might mean that the difficulties arose. After much argument and fighting our church came to the conclusion that when we say that we encounter God in Jesus we have to mean God in the strict sense of the term: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So the Trinity has this tremendous impact on our lives that the God in whom we believe is not a God who lies hidden, but a God who can be seen and heard, and touched in the person of Jesus. God is a god who is poured out in love for us through the Holy Spirit. The point is not that we should be puzzled by this relationship of three persons, but that we should realize that the puzzle arises in the first place because God decided to be revealed to us in the person of Jesus.
It is interesting that while the mystery of the Trinity is something that can be found in the scriptures, people did not go to the scriptures first. Instead they have somehow experienced the mystery of God in their own lives and then they go to the scriptures to explain it. The gospel challenge for us today is to find out how we can put our experiences of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit into words?