Today we celebrate the most central faith mystery of all, the mystery of God himself, the Holy Trinity. How can we even begin to talk about the mystery of God? In our effort to think about him, we find ourselves lost in the limitless, timeless, incomprehensible divine majesty. Our minds and our words are hopelessly inadequate.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his 2011 Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei (“Door of Faith”), invites us into a deeper relationship with God, telling us that faith opens to us “a journey that lasts a lifetime.” Directing us toward the mystery of the Trinity he writes: “To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love: the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and Resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return” (Porta Fidei, 1).
When we are living with vibrant faith, the very expression, “Most Holy Trinity,” excites the mind and attracts the heart toward the wonder of God. It reminds us that our journey of faith lasts forever, for the richness and beauty of God are inexhaustible.
Unfortunately, we are not always attentive to the grace of faith. Many people, even committed believers, shrug their shoulders at any reference to the Trinity, dismissing the very core of our faith, Who can understand it anyway? Of course, we cannot fully understand the mystery of God – and we are arrogant if we demand that we should be able to! The Catechism, quoting St. Augustine, tells us: “Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: ‘If you understood him, it would not be God’” (CCC 230).
God reveals himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation of his inner self is an extraordinary gift to us. He did not have to tell us who he is. He could have left us in the darkness of ignorance. Instead, he has bathed us in a light that is brighter than our mind can comprehend. It makes no sense to grow discouraged because the sun is too bright to look at; we can and we should delight in the beauty and warmth of the sunlight, even though we cannot stare at the sun. When someone takes us into his confidence, sharing a deep secret, we do not complain about what he has not said. Rather, we feel deeply privileged, honored that he has trusted us with personal knowledge about himself. How much greater a privilege it is to be given personal knowledge of God. He shows extraordinary trust in us, sharing with us the deepest mystery of his inner life. Our response should be gratitude, wonder, and love.
Jesus wants us to know him much better. He wants us to know Divine Love. He wants us to know the Father and the Spirit. This is part of what he is referring to when he says in the Gospel, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” The people of the Old Covenant believed that if they saw God, they would die (cf. Gen 16:13). Their intuition was valid, for our nature cannot bear to know too much of God all at once. However, Jesus says, with the coming of the Spirit of Truth, we are given the capacity to receive the full truth about God: “He will guide you to all truth.” This is why it is fitting that the feast of the Holy Trinity comes after the feast of Pentecost. Only by the gift of the Spirit can we begin to understand the mystery of the Trinity. Through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us, “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts.”
Perhaps part of the reason why we find the Trinity so perplexing is that we have made so little room for love in our hearts. God is a rich communion of interpersonal love. If we love, we know God, and if we are without love, we are without God (cf. 1 Jn 4:7-8). Today’s feast invites us to reflect on our experience of love. Love makes us forget ourselves. It moves us to choose what is good for another person. We pour ourselves out for the sake of the one we love. Whenever we act in love, we get a true glimpse of the very life of God. He is pouring himself out, making a selfless gift of himself – not just occasionally, not just at the beginning of creation, or when he sees a good opportunity, but continually, eternally. The only proper response to love is to love in return. We honor the Father, Son and Holy Spirit when we love – when we love God with our whole being, and when we love our neighbor as ourselves.
In what situations do I question my faith and God’s love for me? What will I do to love God and love my neighbor as myself? Do I believe that faith is a lifelong journey of perseverance of getting to know Jesus and God the Father?
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 15, no. 5. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.