Fr Billy Swan
Dear friends. Today’s feast of the Most Holy Trinity is often referred to as the preacher’s nightmare because the doctrine of the Trinity can seem so mysterious, abstract and difficult to explain. It is of course impossible to explain fully for the mystery of the Trinity is the very mystery of God himself. In this sense, every Sunday is Trinity Sunday. Every time we pray, think of God and speak of God, we do so in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is who God is - all of the time. But where do we begin to contemplate and to speak of God as Trinity? Let’s start with love.
St John gets to the heart of it when he tells us that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). This means that God is not just loving but that God is love itself. If this is true, then there must be a Lover, the Beloved and the Love between them. For us, this is who God is. He is the Lover (the Father), the Beloved (the Son) and the Love between them (the Holy Spirit). In this circle of life and love exists the divine life. But at a certain point, this circle of life and love was opened out to embrace all creation and all humanity so that we could share the life of God too. God did this out of love so that we might share in his life and be saved. The circle of God’s life and love was opened when the Lover, the Father, sent his Son, the Beloved, into the world to become a human being like us, to become our brother and Saviour. With the gift of the Beloved, the Father also sent us the gift of the love between them which is the Holy Spirit. Here on earth, the Son and the Spirit work to draw us deeper into the life of God. What all this means is that we have been welcomed, accepted and live within the circle of the divine life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This amounts to a revolution in how we think of God, pray to God and give others an experience of God. For when we love, accept and welcome others, we are doing precisely what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit do for us when they welcome, accept and love us. In this way, we allow others to experience God directly. We make him real and make it easy to believe in Him and love Him.
Many people don’t believe in God but they do believe in love. Yet, we believe that God is love. Every time we believers accept, welcome and love others we help bridge that gap between faith in love and faith in God. And when we do, God becomes real, intimately close and personal. Here is the mystery of light, love and beauty in which we live and move. We are within and not outside of the circle of love and life shared by the Lover, the Beloved and the Love between them – the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
‘To the Trinity be praise! God is music, God is life that nurtures every creature in its kind. Our God is the song of the angel throng and the splendour of secret ways hid from all humankind. But God our life is the life of all’ (Hildegard of Bingen, ‘To the Trinity’).