I love listening to elderly happily-married people talk about their spouses – with the evident love, the delight in the other and the wry humour at the characteristics of the other that after 50, 60 or even more years still annoy them, sometimes intensely. No matter how happy the couple, there are still differences – it seems to be part of the nature of loving another.
This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Trinity – that is we recognise and celebrate that our God is a community – Three Persons, Father, Son and Spirit, equal, holding all in common except in their differing relationships to each other. This is hard for us to get our minds around but our hearts know what it is about. We are made in the image of God and relationship is at the core of our being, relationship that involves both loving union and difference. Loving union we can cope with, dealing with difference is more of a challenge. To appreciate it we need to recognise what good ‘differences’ can bring to a relationship. The attraction of love can be so strong at times that one can run the risk of ‘falling into’ the other – becoming a clone or a slave. Our differences protect us from that. Differences also help us define our individuality. This is important because it is only as free individuals that we can truly love. So perhaps this Sunday you could name and celebrate the differences in your relationships – with your spouse or partner, your children, your parents – and realise that these, if used rightly, can enhance your loving.
Loving God, help us to love each other as you love each other within the Trinity, celebrating both what we have in common and the differences between us. We ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear us.
Who are you?
Learning about who we are is a life-long learning curve. Sometimes the curve is steep and painful – when we have to face aspects of ourselves we don’t want to admit, like our addictions or our anger. Sometimes it is a delight – like when a friend who brings talents out of us that we never knew were there. As parents and teachers, one of our greatest callings is helping our children discover who they are. What we discover in these situations in that we do not grow, do not come to maturity, do not come to who we really are except in relationship with other people.
This is because we are made in the image of God and the God that Jesus came to show us was a community of persons. While we speak of one God, this God is really Three Persons passionately in love with each other – so much in love that Love is who they really are. While we Christians use the names, ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘Holy Spirit’, these are such inept names in the face of this mystery of God. We sound like small children trying to explain nuclear physics. But we have a sense of what this is about, not from our head but from our gut. From the depths of our being we want to love and we want to give ourselves in love and we want our love to be creative. Usually these passions find expression in the love of marriage and the rearing of children.
This Sunday we celebrate this mystery of God in the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Over this week, ponder on what are the best yearnings in your life and how these are a reflection of God’s life…and as you ponder may you grow into the person God wants you to be.
Loving Father, our hearts are made for love and as we love we live by your life. Send us your Spirit that, listening to the words of Jesus, we may live by your love. We ask this in his name, confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb
All for One and One for All
If you wanted to know what God is like, you couldn’t find a better summary than the motto of the Three Musketeers: All for One and One for All. What is distinctive about the God we Christians worship is that our God is a community. God is not a solitary divine person, ‘goding’ it over all creation, solemnly saying to us “I have made you so now you have to do what I want”. No, our God is very different from that. Our God is three persons who we usually name Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are so passionately in love with each other, enjoying each other so much, that their love and delight spins out into creation. Creation is not some blobby thing in which we exist but rather God’s playground where we are called to share in God’s delight and love.
Love is so much of the nature of God that it defines us as well. We are made to live in love with each other. Much of the suffering and pain in our world comes from our failure to love. God knows this and didn’t just wipe them away. Rather he sent his Son to live in our midst, suffering our pain, dying our death, and transformed all these – living, suffering and dying – into ways of understanding the immensity of God’s Love. This is all beyond our understanding but we are going to have all eternity to enjoy it.
Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we do not understand you yet we want to join in your dance of love. Loosen us up and free us of our inhibitions that we may enjoy the glory of being your creation. We ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb.