When we celebrate this Trinity Sunday, we celebrate one of the greatest revelations and mysteries of our faith. How God can be three persons in one God. The word trinity itself is two words together: tri for three, and unity for one. Trinity is three persons in one God. This is one of the things that is difficult to describe in our faith. Almost every analogy fails. But there is one way of illustrating it that has been very good throughout the ages.
If you can picture this: here in the middle, this is God. Then we have the three persons around God. We have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Got it? The Father is God and God is the Father. The Son is God, and God is the Son. The Spirit is God, and God is the Spirit. I go back to these three – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father; and the Son is not the Spirit, the Spirit is not the Son; and the Spirit is not the Father and the Father is not the Spirit. Got it? So you have three people in one God. Three separate persons in one God. We have this wonderful mystery of the Trinity.
Jesus is about to commission his disciples. He’s about to send them out into the world. They’re worshiping him, and yet they doubt it. Right before he sends them out. Maybe some of us come here today, probably most of us, to worship God, but we harbor some doubt or misunderstanding about not really understanding who God is. That’s okay because God is beyond anything that we can understand or comprehend or know. The disciples, even though they are worshiping him and doubting, are commissioned by Jesus to go forward. He commissions them to go out and to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – to baptize people in the Trinity. That’s the amazing part. We are baptized into the Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and me. All of a sudden we are included in there with the Trinity. That’s the difficult part to explain.
St. John Paul II said that the first duty of a pastor is not projects, and is not organization and is not finances. It’s to lead your people into a deep intimacy with the Trinity. That’s what I hope today to do through the homily. I want to lead each and every one of you into this intimacy of the Trinity that you may become one with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Meister Eckhart was one of the mystics, and he says, “When God laughs at the soul and the soul laughs back at God, the persons of the Trinity are begotten.” So there’s a joy at entering into the Trinity. He says, “When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, and that pleasure gives joy and joy gives love, and that love is the Holy Spirit.” When we enter into the laughter of God, we enter into the Trinity.
Here’s a little reflection from St. Augustine. He says, “Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who helps us understand Jesus’ word and guides us in the truth.” I’m counting on the Holy Spirit in this homily to help guide us into the truth, “believers can experience, so to speak, the intimacy of God himself.” The Holy Spirit can lead us into this intimacy. “Discovering that he is not infinite solitude but communion of light and love, life given and received in this eternal dialogue between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” St. Augustine would say, “The lover, being the Father, the Loved, being the son, and Love, being the Holy Spirit.
Now I just want to share a reflection from St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. She is known to be sharing this love of the Trinity and being able to have this mystical insight. She says, “Oh my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you.” She’s saying let me abide in this Trinity, in this love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. “Still as peaceful as my soul were already in eternity, let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you. Oh, my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further, and further, and further, and further into the depths of this mystery. Pacify my soul. Make it your heaven, your beloved home and a place of your repose. Let me never leave you there alone but may I always be attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring, and all given up to your creative action.” She’s asking that the Trinity dwell in her, that her soul can be with the Trinity. She’s asking this, and all of us, each and every one of us, can ask for the same thing. Let me dwell in the Trinity that I may be in your peace.
She goes on to say, “Oh, my beloved Christ, crucified for love would anoint you with glory, I would love you, even unto death, yet I sense my frailty and I ask you to adorn me with yourself, identify my soul with all the movements of your soul. Submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as adorer, redeemer and savior.” She’s begging and she’s asking God to come into her, and she’s admitting her weakness. She’s admitting her frailty, like the disciples who doubted, asking God to come into us anyway. Then she says, “Oh eternal word of God, my God, would that I would spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn from you in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great life and light. Oh my beloved star, fascinate me so that I may never be alone and never leave your radiance.” She’s asking God to give her this fascination. It’s going to totally lead her and to want nothing else but God alone. She talks about the Spirit, “Oh consuming fire, Spirit of love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of your word,” which means take on flesh, “let your word take flesh in me that I may be a super added humanity wherein He renews his mystery, and you, oh Father, bestow yourself. Bend down to your little creature seeing in only your beloved Son, in whom you are well pleased.” Finally, she goes to the Trinity, “Oh my three, all my beatitude, infinite solitude, immensely in whom I lose myself, enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your splendor.
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity is asking that the Trinity dwell in her. She’s asking to experience heaven on earth. Did you know that we can experience that? We can actually live in heaven on this earth if the Trinity dwells in us. She’s asking the Trinity to dwell in her, and she’s also asking that she may dwell in the Trinity.
As we celebrate this wonderful Feast of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, though we may doubt, though we may be weak, though we may not totally understand it, we can ask for what she is asking for, especially when we receive the Eucharist, because in the Eucharist is God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Eucharist into us, the Trinity dwells in us – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and we can experience heaven on earth. When we experience heaven on earth, we’re going to experience joy and love and laughter, and all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
That’s my invitation to you. Ask the Trinity that you may dwell in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and ask the Trinity to dwell in you, that in each one of us who have received the Eucharist, we may dwell in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we do, we will experience union with God, and we will experience heaven on earth.
As we celebrate this great Feast of the Trinity, we celebrate this reality that we have Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, who wants to dwell in us.