The mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, which we celebrate this Sunday, is central to our Catholic Christian Faith. No other religion at once proclaims that God is both One and Three, sovereign yet personal. Who or what God is itself worthy of praise and awe? Virtually ever religion demands as much. That God, by definition, is a sovereign entity has lead to wars and conflicts as God’s (often self-appointed) regents on Earth seek to uphold and defend God’s claims to be worshipped. Such strife tarnishes the name of all religion.
Christianity, when it is behaving itself, has the option – really, the duty – to be faithful to its theological foundations and to eschew the image of a domineering God whose sole manner of relating to creation is one of power and subjugation. The interpersonal, or relational, image of a God who nonetheless remains one – THE One – reveals the possibility of a God who lives for love not power. Thus the Christian imagination is caught up in a dance with a God who is, essentially, Three Persons entirely revolving around each other for all eternity, which does not need to be domineering in order to be sovereign. God’s “power” is, therefore, God’s holiness or giving-ness.
The image of God in this world is best seen – definitively incarnated – in the Word-made-flesh who reveals to us the Kingdom of Heaven come to Earth. Jesus restores all that was lost in the Garden of Eden through the sin of a humanity which abandoned trust in a holy God and chose to go it alone, making of God its servant. Instead, Jesus Christ, once again, becomes the servant of God by serving all of God’s loved ones. This is manifested in terms that humanity is invited to comprehend as eternal love and infinite forgiveness for a creature fallen from Grace.
Practically, our Faith invites us to live on Earth as if already in heaven, just as Jesus himself lived. That means being pro-active and not re-active. We live FOR a Someone not AGAINST things. Thus Christians do not live for the reward of anything else than the freedom of loving and being loved which is always possible no matter the circumstance or the oppression.
In our time, we are challenged to live this Gospel of love in a world that believes happiness comes from getting gratification quickly. Instead the Beatitudes call blessed – or happy – those who create beauty slowly and patiently. Our commitment to resist violence and vindictiveness, to uphold personally procreative marriage, to protect and defend life from its conception to natural death, to safeguard God’s creation, which includes not only our physical but also our moral environment, to welcome strangers and the oppressed and, most of all, to see in the poor the self-emptying love of an incarnate God who makes vulnerability an occasion of grace – all of this is rooted in a God whose image in written in every human soul.
It is not a mere accident of history that the family itself bears the mark of the Three-in-One nature of God. Christians see marriage as more than a relationship between any two persons, but of persons who are different in their life-generating capacity who can only give life together, within the loving communion of their incarnate selves through which alone another unique person is conceived, born and nurtured. This reflects the image of the Love between the Father and the Son – “itself” a Person generated from that Love: the Holy Spirit.
All of the essential components of marriage – love defined by oneness in otherness, openness to procreated life, faithfulness and indissolubility – are what make marriage a sacrament of the trinitarian essence of God. In a world which soils itself with sin, such love is only possible with constant, infinite forgiveness, which is another name for divine love in human flesh.
Praised be the Most Blessed Trinity!