May 26, 2015 // Uncategorized

God’s innermost mystery

This coming Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In the Gospel, we will hear Jesus’ instruction to the apostles to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” With this Baptism in the name of the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, we became adopted sons and daughters of God the Father, members of Christ and His Body, the Church, and temples of the Holy Spirit. We entered into God’s life, the life of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Holy Trinity is the center of our Christian faith and life. We carry within us the life of the triune God. God has welcomed us into His life, into His own eternal life of love, the eternal communion of Him who, though Three, is One.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity, God’s innermost life, would be unknown to us if God had not revealed Himself to us. It would not be possible through the mere means of human reason to know this mystery that transcends our human understanding. We accept this truth in faith. Jesus revealed this mystery to us, though the revelation of the Trinity was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. The glory of the Trinity became present in time and space and was manifested in Jesus. The truth of one God in three equal and distinct Persons became known to us in the Incarnation, when God the Father sent His Son into the world through the action of the Holy Spirit who overshadowed the Virgin Mary. The glory of the Trinity was revealed when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Incarnation was not only a revelation of the Trinity, but also a revelation of the Trinity’s love for us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16).

When we think about the Trinity, we recognize that the love of God the Father is the first origin of everything. Everything springs from His unending love, above all His eternal Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is eternally begotten of the Father, not as a creature, but as “light from light” and “true God from true God.” The Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from both and is “one and equal” with the Father and the Son. The Father and the Son are one in the communion of the Holy Spirit. We who have been touched by Christ’s grace are included in this communion. Here is what we read in the Catechism:

Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of His Body. As an ‘adopted son’ he can henceforth call God ‘Father,’ in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church (CCC 1997).

The Trinity is an amazing mystery to contemplate. Since it is so beyond our human understanding, we can be tempted to consider the mystery too abstract, like the philosopher Immanuel Kant who regarded it as a sort of “heavenly mathematical theorem” with no implications for human life. But nothing could be further from the truth. God is not an abstraction. God is love. As Pope Francis has said: “God is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave Himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.”

The mystery of God in Himself has the greatest implications for our life since we are blessed to share in His life, the life of the Trinity, the loving communion of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our life even now is open to eternal life because our life shares in the life of God. This truth should always fill us with wonder, awe, and thanksgiving. God calls us into the embrace of His communion which is eternal life.

I will never forget the evening of July 19, 2008, participating in the Vigil of World Youth Day with Pope Benedict XVI in Sydney, Australia. I was there with young pilgrims from the Diocese of Harrisburg. It was a beautiful clear night under the constellation of the Southern Cross. The Holy Father gave a profound reflection on the Holy Spirit as the Giver of life who leads us into the very heart of God, into the communion of the Blessed Trinity. Pope Benedict shared with the young people deep insights from Saint Augustine on the Holy Spirit as unity, abiding love, and gift. Inspired by these insights, Pope Benedict said to the young people: “let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!” The Pope said: What constitutes our faith is not primarily what we do but what we receive. And then he posed to the young people two great and penetrating questions, questions which are good for all of us to ponder: Friends, do you accept being drawn into God’s Trinitarian life? Do you accept being drawn into His communion of love?

God has shown us His face and His face is Love. To be truly alive is to live in the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May we say Yes like Mary to the gift of sharing in God’s eternal life of love!

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