May 21, 2016

The Holy Trinity

I remember someone telling me, quite smugly, "I don't believe that God exists". I replied, "Describe this 'god' you don't believe exists". They said, "That there's this invisible being up there on a cloud, watching everything you're doing and doesn't care about the pain and suffering in this world."

My reply, "You are absolutely right. I don't believe that the god you described exists either!"  

Do we have to know that something exists for it to be a reality? Do we have to understand something or someone for them to be real? Of course not. We are truly wise when we are humble - when we stand back and admit that there will always be the unknown, mystery, in the depth of our being, throughout all of creation, and beyond.  

But this does not mean that we are simply passive observers of the world that passes by or around us.  Deep within our humanity, almost like a downloaded program, a command routine, we ask can not help but to ask questions - we seek knowledge and meaning, even to that question as to the existence of God.  

Even to think about the question of God’s existence, is to have, at least, some idea of God.  St. Anselm defines God as "that which no greater can ever be conceived" or imagined. Not the greatest thing that I can think or imagine - but that which no greater can possibly be thought of! Ah! But I can imagine an all-powerful God. I can even conceive in my mind the idea of God as Trinity! But God must be greater than my own imagining regardless how good or incredible my thoughts might be! Is it possible to conceive in one's mind, something that is beyond imagination, a possibility beyond the limitations of science and physics?  (If I’ve lost you - don’t worry! I’ve been lost too!)

The Good News is that because our minds can only go so far, little by little, God gently reveals himself to us, slowly unfolding for us the pattern of his unimaginable thoughts (First Reading - Proverbs 8:22-33). We don’t have to be theologians or philosophers. Through the language of harmony and beauty that we sense in the universe, we gain some insight that God is also harmony and beauty himself, but so much more than our perceptions. (Responsorial Psalm 8:4-9).

But proving his existence or trying to understanding what God is, is not our goal.  Experiencing God, is. But not waiting until the end of our earthly life to do so. God has instead opened up the possibility that we can experience him totally and completely through Jesus Christ. God does this, because he wants to have a relationship with you and me.

Christ is God's very own self-portrait! But more than that. A portrait can be looked at from a distance. God, through Christ's humanity, from that first instant of his conception in the womb of Mary, brings us into direct union with him. God, allowed himself to me mothered (for our sake). God allowed himself to live in the limitations of flesh and blood, God with us, reaching out to us, wanting to draw us closer and closer into his divine life, talking to us directly with words we can understand, lives with us intimately in a love that we can experience, sharing in our joys, in our sorrows, in our pain and also our suffering. To know Christ is to know the love and compassion of God.

Christ is God personal, inviting us even into his own experience of being God. What is Christ's experience in our language? But that of the love between Father and Son.  Of course, our experience of this type of relationship is limited to our own experience or only as great as our best imagination. But Christ invites you and me into his very own perfect relationship that he enjoys with the divine - a relationship of the most perfect love between two persons that can ever exist, not contained or constrained by time itself. Christ invites all of us, all humanity, through him, into the very "life" of the eternal God he dares to call “Father”, “Abba”.

Don't try to get your head around this concept of God. Instead, get your heart around Christ and you will find and experience the greatest intimacy, the closeness that God desires with us. Every one of us craves to be brought into this divine love.  In short, we will be restless until we are united and rest eternally within the eternal movement of personal divine love between God as Father, Son and Spirit - the Holy Trinity.

This is all relational, not conceptual or imaginative.  For example, the Virgin Mary shows us how to engage God at all these levels. To God the Father, she is his daughter. To God the Son, she is a mother. To God the Holy Spirit, she experiences the intimacy of God permeating every cell of her body, making her sing with joy!

Always drawn by God's ever closer presence, let us pray we will allow ourselves to enter deeper and deeper into the life of God, so that one day we might touch the very heart of God and see His face perfectly, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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