June 7, 2020: The Most Holy Trinity - Associate Pastor’s Corner
Today, we celebrate a mystery.
What we, as Catholics, believe in regards to the Most Holy Trinity, could not have been given to us through a series of syllogisms and logical arguments. Not in our wildest dreams could mankind, in all of our brilliance, have conceived the Divine Three-in-One. The only way we could have assented to the Trinity is because Jesus generously revealed that He lives in the Father and the Father lives in Him, and that they have sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. What we believe as Catholics in regard to the very interior life of God has been handed on to us as a gift.
And there are things that, through thousands of years of contemplation and argument, we have assented when it comes to the interior life of God, and how this applies to our lives. We have assented to the active dynamism of love, life, and adventure that the Trinity invites us to every time we enter into our life of prayer. We have assented to God’s overwhelming generosity and love in contemplating the generosity shared by Father and Son. We have assented that we are not our own, that we are all a gift to each other, by contemplating how the Spirit is a perfecting gift from the Trinity to fallen mortals.
But there are also things that we cannot and will not ever know. Our minds are limited, finite; whereas God is unlimited, omniscient, infinite. Do we know everything that is happening in the mind of God? No. Do we want to know what is the mind of God? Oftentimes, yes.
And this is what we mean by mystery. Jesus has revealed so many things to us about the Father, about Himself, about humanity and suffering, but there comes a point that we cannot truly and wholeheartedly grasp every single kilobyte of knowledge that there is to have. Mystery forces us to confront humility. The Trinity teaches us that, as brilliant as we may be, there is always something that we cannot ever know.
One of my favorite symbols comes to mind: incense. We have all experienced seeing and smelling the sweet frankincense billowing in the form of streams of smoke throughout our Church. In fact, I am certain that, the moment you read the word “incense” someone coughed and started waving his or her hands.
Incense allows us to visualize our life with God. You see, incense smoke obscures our view of the altar. The smoke, ideally, forms a cloud within the sanctuary so that we cannot clearly see everything that is going on. We are distracted by the smell of the incense and the clinks of the chains hitting the bowl. Though curious about all of the liturgical action, we cannot see everything simply because the smoke is in the way.
Yet, at the same time, we see something. We cannot clearly see all of the sanctuary, or the vestments, or the priest, or the altar, the servers, but we see something. Not clearly, but we see something.
And this is the foundation of what we celebrate on Trinity Sunday. It’s impossible to wrap our heads around this Mystery. We can’t see it with any sort of certainty but we see something. And what little we see this profound.
We see the love of the Father, Son, and Spirit descending into us every time we pray. We see this generosity and love being poured into us every time we ask Him. We see His healing work done in our lives.
The most Trinitarian thing we can do today is to gaze upon the Crucifix. Within that image we experience Jesus Christ revealing His identity as the Son of God, the Wisdom and Power of the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead, and uncovers for us the Holy Spirit, who is a Gift of Love, poured out once and eternally from Christ’s wounded side.
We celebrate the Mystery of Mysteries of our Faith, the Most Holy Trinity. Sometime this week, take your crucifix, lay in your hands, and contemplate the Divine Three-In-One.
~ Fr. Isaiah Mary