I never liked preaching on the Trinity. Few priests would place it at the top of their list of topics they like to preach about.
All that changed as I realized I was asking the wrong question about the Trinity.
Walk with me on my journey of discovery.
What I grew up thinking
For me, the Trinity was a mystery that no one could explain… except maybe by using the image of a three-leaf clover. I focused on the math. How could there be three persons in one nature?
I also had only the vaguest thought about why the Trinity was important for my life.
I never thought about the “why” and “what I could learn” about myself from this mystery.
All this despite making the sign of the cross probably millions of times.
Other things I absorbed
Despite being described as loving, I also thought the Father was more of a ruler who needed to be placated when I (we) did things wrong.
So, I got the impression Jesus came to tell us that he stood in for us to appease his angry Father. The Spirit was talked about mainly on Pentecost or when we received the sacrament of Confirmation.
Over-simplifications, yes! Yet, for all too many, even today, I wonder how much.
Highlights of my journey
Looking back surprised me!
I was surprised when I first realized how much of a journey I have been on with regard to the Trinity.
In overlapping stages, it has been a journey from
- Trinity as a puzzle to Trinity as a model for our lives.
- Struggling with an intellectual “understanding” of the Trinity to recognizing a “mystery to be lived.”
- Thinking about how there could be three persons yet one God to now realizing we are a community made in the image and likeness of the ultimate community we name as God.
- Emphasizing a personal relationship to recognizing that we are sent to invite all the realize this Good news of our interconnectedness with God … and each other
- Trying to imitate Christ to learning to live in imitation of the divine community God
More precisely … imagining God as a noun to realizing God is a verb; therefore, we should live like the God in whose image and likeness we are made.
I missed the point that Jesus tells us about our Father and the Spirit of God so we can see each other as brothers and sisters.
Jesus was all about teaching us to live the mystery of community.
My maturing image of a church made in the image and likeness of God
All this has had a profound impact on my understanding of the church’s mission as the People of God.
I now look at the church as fulfilling its mission when others say with wonderment, “See how these Christians love one another.” They find in us an image of the Trinitarian Community.
I now look at the eucharist not as something focused on what the priest does or simply something between me and Jesus.
We celebrate Eucharist when we live it as a response to Jesus when he said, “Do this in memory of me, wash one another’s feet.”
Eucharist is a reminder that our God is a servant God. A God who came not to be served but to teach us how to serve even the least of us, to the last drop of blood.
Then we will live out of the realization that we are made in the image and likeness of the divine community of the Trinity!
How conscious are we of being called to manifest the Trinity in our lives?
Click below for an early audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk