Our Description and Understanding is Always Less Than What This Great Reality Is.

06-12-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

As followers of Jesus, we have come to believe in God as the Holy Trinity-one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a major doctrine of our faith tradition. Certainly it is not a belief that we have an absolute clear and scientific explanation, but with time and understanding we come to recognize and accept this belief about our Triune God as powerful and meaningful in our lives. None of us can explain everything well, all of us are able to explain only some things well, whether they be religious, mechanical or natural science. I remember from high school about the quadratic equation: certainly that is not easily explainable or understood by most people or in fact practically useful to people. The equation has meaning for those who use it. This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, a feast which has meaning and power in our lives, but not all that easy to explain.

Our first reading from Proverbs only adds to the confusion of understanding. We have to wonder about how Wisdom fits into the theme of the Holy Trinity and God’s love for us. Note how this description of Wisdom is found in the Prologue of the Gospel of John when he writes: “In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God”. We also find the theme of the pouring forth of the Spirit in John and in this reading from Wisdom. Our first reading is making clear to us that we relate to God in that we share in the wonders of creation which is the place where God and people relate and communicate.

The reading from Romans reminds us “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Paul clearly is speaking of the Trinity of God. In a sense the Trinity already lives in us and us in the Trinity.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus loudly announces that we must possess the Spirit if we are to understand His message. This is because the message of Jesus cannot be separated from His very self. It takes the indwelling of the Spirit to make His message clear and understandable for us. We come to realize that the Father who sent the Son now sends into each of our hearts the Holy Spirit. This is to continue the work of the Son and to spread his message to the entire world.

The doctrine of the Trinity grew out of people’s experience of God as creating, revealing, and inspiring their consciousness and that the people finally named it. It is probably a large statement to say, though it is accurate, that the Trinity is an on-going love affair between the God who creates, the God who reveals, and the God who inspires. Our description and understanding is always less than what this great reality of God is.