HOLY TRINITY + 5/30/21 + [Readings: DT 4: 32-34, 39-40. Rom 8:14-17; MT 28: 16-20]
Ths feast of the Most Holy Trinity is the only feast on the Church’s liturgical calendar that is not based on an event. It’s based on a Doctrine, i.e., a teaching of the Church. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul tells us that we have been gifted with “the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God …. provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:14-17)
And so it is, that every day, during our celebration of the Eucharist, we pray the epiclesis over the gifts. We cry out “Abba,” … to our Father, to send the Holy Spirit among us to transform our community’s gifts of bread and wine so that “they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The mystery of faith! And then, we pray the epiclesis over the assembled community, asking “Abba,” our Father, that those who partake in the Body and Blood of Christ may be made one by the Holy Spirit. The Eucharist, then, is both what is on the altar and also our entire community, assembled at the altar. As St. Augustine said, we are to become what we celebrate. “We are to become bread broken and wine poured out for the world.”
And then there’s St Bernard, who, in his sermon ON THE FAITH AND VIRTUES OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN, tells his community of monks, that this Divine Wisdom, Who was with God and was Himself God (John 1:1), coming down to us from the bosom of the Father, “has built Himself a house,” that is, has fashioned for Himself a Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary ….”
Bernard continues by saying, “the Three Persons of the most Holy Trinity dwelt in the holy Virgin by the presence of their undivided Majesty, although the Son alone was in her by the assumption of human nature. So much is clear,” Bernard says, “from the words of the heavenly messenger, who, in revealing to Mary the profound depths of this mystery, said to her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28) … and a little later on: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the Power of the Most High shall overshadow you” (ibid. 35). Then, not surprisingly, Bernard speaks directly to Mary, “Behold now, O most happy Virgin, you have the Lord, you have the Power of the Most High, you have the Holy Spirit. You have, consequently, the Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. For the Father cannot be without the Son, or the Son without the Father, or without Both, the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from Both.” Bernard then reminds his monks, that “The Son once said to His disciples, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?” (John 14:10). And again, “The Father, Who abides in Me, He does the works”. Then Bernard tells his monks, “It is manifest, therefore, that faith in the Trinity was found in the Virgin’s heart, since it is by faith that God dwells in the hearts of the just.” (Eph 3:17).
What the mystery and doctrine of the Trinity mean, when all is said and done, is that the God who created us, who sustains us, who will judge us, and who will give us eternal life, is not a God infinitely removed from us. On the contrary, our God is a God of absolute proximity, a God who is communicated truly in the flesh, in history, within our human family, and a God who is present in the spiritual depths of our existence as well as in the core of our unfolding human history, as the source of enlightenment and community. That mystery and doctrine is, in its turn, the beginning, the end, and the center of all Christian theology.
Everything we know about this phenomenal, resplendent, incomprehensible triune God declares that God is passionately, boundlessly in love with each one of us!
O Unity, True, Sovereign, and Eternal! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, have mercy, have mercy, have mercy on us.” [Antiphon at SEXT, Feast of Holy Trinity: Ps. 118]
[ A Cistercian Prayer (Hymn) to the Most Holy Trinity puts it this way: ]
Blessed be God, the eternal Father, watching from his doorstep, and extending his arms to his children, lost and found. He has committed the whole universe to the Son and the Spirit, and his two hands have only one immense task: to carry us to the secret of His face.
Praise to the Son, light of truth. In him the love of God gives itself, open space, boundless land, but always with the cross at the entrance. His whole desire, in self-forgetfulness, is to be only the source of the Spirit and the reflection of the Father for all those who perceive his mystery.
Let us sing to the Spirit, fountain of freedom. In our hearts, it is a murmur of water that washes and transfigures those who, one day, will live a risen life. Its whole desire, in self-forgetfulness, is to be only total transparency to the Father in his glory, and the presence of Jesus in his victory.
(Commission Francophone Cistercienne, La nuit, le jour (Paris: Desclee-Cerf, 1973 107. Fiche de chant L LH 114).