Sunday, June 19, 2011
...and the Three become One...
Feast of the Most Holy Trinity - I Class
Missa Benedícta sit
Epistle: Rom. 11:33-36 [Who can understand the greatness of God?]
Gospel: Mt. 28:18-20 [Command to baptize the whole world.]
Full Latin-English propers here.
People have come up with many different ways of explaining the Trinity over the centuries. They just can't get their heads around the notion of one person being three people while still being one person all at the same time. The basic problem is that God is infinite and the human mind is finite, so fitting the human mind around God is as vain as a struggle can get. St. Paul figured that out 2,000 years ago and tells us so today. However, we can still get some of God in our minds. We can still get a basic understanding. Thus, St. Patrick used the three-leaf clover to explain God. Many theologians have used the imagery of God the Father being a person, God the Son being the Word He speaks, and God the Holy Ghost being the Breath by which He speaks. This example works a bit better.
Another example come from considering the love which is the Holy Ghost. Love has two aspects. First, love has a desire to be together with the beloved. Any separation is painful. More importantly, love also has a desire to give oneself to another for the beloved's own good. It is this self-sacrificing aspect that separates love from all other emotions desires. All people are willing to be with you and have good times with you. Only those who love you will give of themselves to take care of you through all sorts of difficulties that they must go through to take care of you. This self-sacrifice is the love of God. Not only is this the love with which God loves us, but it is the love with which the Three Persons of the Trinity love each other. The Father loves the Son with a love of perfect desire and perfect self-giving and the Son loves the Father with a perfect desire and perfect self-giving. This exchange of desire for the beloved and self-giving to the beloved is the Holy Ghost. This bond is so strong that it binds the Three as One Being. Furthermore, the bond of love is so strong that the Three Persons of the Trinity always existed as a perfectly bound union of love. This bond of love that the Holy Trinity shares is the model for all other unions.
It is with this same love that Christ loves the Church. Christ has a perfect desire to be together with us, using the Eucharist as the temporary means for establishing that union (akin to dating) and Heaven is the permanent means (akin to marriage). Christ has a perfect desire to give Himself for the good of His Bride. This is accomplished on the cross. That is where we see Christ's love made the most clear: that He loves us so much that He is willing to undergo all that suffering, offering Himself as the sacrifice to expiate our sins. In return, we are called to reciprocate this love. We are to have a desire to be together with Christ Our Bridegroom, first in the Eucharist and later in Heaven. We are also to have a desire to give ourselves for Christ, suffering whatever pains for His sake. Those who love Christ are not those who stick with Him when the going is easy, when they are surrounded by an environment that makes it easy to pray and enjoy many spiritual consolations. Those who love God are those who endure suffering for His sake, putting up with persecution, praying even when in places controlled by the enemy, without any consolations coming from that prayer, just dryness.
It is with this same love that bride and groom are to love each other. Their love is this same two-sided coin: a desire to be together with the beloved (not only in the marriage bed, but also as companions through life, and it even goes as far as wanting to be together in heaven) and also a love of self-sacrifice, undergoing whatever pain is necessary for the good of the other. This is how all people are to love each other. We are to have a desire to be together with each other in Heaven and endure what ever suffering we put each other through, putting up with each other's bad habits, being patient, guiding each other to Heaven, loving them as the Trinity loves, that we might all be together with the Trinity in Heaven. May it be so.