22 May – Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
The true God is one in Trinity and a Trinity in One: come, let us adore him.
The fundamental dogma, on which everything in Christianity is based, is that of the Blessed Trinity in whose name all Christians are baptized. The feast of the Blessed Trinity needs to be understood and celebrated as a prolongation of the mysteries of Christ and as the solemn expression of our faith in this triune life of the Divine Persons, to which we have been given access by Baptism and by the Redemption won for us by Christ. Only in heaven shall we properly understand what it means, in union with Christ, to share as sons in the very life of God.
The feast of the Blessed Trinity was introduced in the ninth century and was only inserted in the general calendar of the Church in the fourteenth century by Pope John XXII. But the cultus of the Trinity is, of course, to be found throughout the liturgy. Constantly the Church causes us to praise and adore the thrice-holy God who has so shown His mercy towards us and has given us to share in His life.
The dogma of faith which forms the object of the feast is this: There is one God and in this one God there are three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three Gods, but one, eternal, incomprehensible God! The Father is not more God than the Son, neither is the Son more God than the Holy Spirit. The Father is the first Divine Person; the Son is the second Divine Person, begotten from the nature of the Father from eternity; the Holy Spirit is the third Divine Person, proceeding from the Father and the Son. No mortal can fully fathom this sublime truth. But I submit humbly and say: Lord, I believe, help my weak faith.
Why is this feast celebrated at this particular time? It may be interpreted as a finale to all the preceding feasts. All three Persons contributed to and shared in the work of redemption. The Father sent His Son to earth, for “God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son.” The Father called us to the faith. The Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, became man and died for us. He redeemed us and made us children of God. He ever remains the liturgist par excellence to whom we are united in all sacred functions. After Christ’s ascension the Holy Spirit, however, became our Teacher, our Leader, our Guide, our Consoler. On solemn occasions a thanksgiving Te Deum rises spontaneously from Christian hearts.
The feast of the Most Holy Trinity may well be regarded as the Church’s Te Deum of gratitude over all the blessings of the Christmas and Easter seasons; for this mystery is a synthesis of Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. This feast, which falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost, should make us mindful that actually every Sunday is devoted to the honor of the Most Holy Trinity, that every Sunday is sanctified and consecrated to the triune God. Sunday after Sunday we should recall in a spirit of gratitude the gifts which the Blessed Trinity is bestowing upon us. The Father created and predestined us; on the first day of the week He began the work of creation. The Son redeemed us; Sunday is the “Day of the Lord,” the day of His resurrection. The Holy Spirit sanctified us, made us His temple; on Sunday the Holy Spirit descended upon the infant Church. Sunday, therefore, is the day of the Most Holy Trinity.
– Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch (Source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2016-05-22)
The Wisdom of God cries aloud:
The Lord created me when his purpose first unfolded,
before the oldest of his works.
From everlasting I was firmly set,
from the beginning, before earth came into being.
The deep was not, when I was born,
there were no springs to gush with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
before the hills, I came to birth;
before he made the earth, the countryside,
or the first grains of the world’s dust.
When he fixed the heavens firm, I was there,
when he drew a ring on the surface of the deep,
when he thickened the clouds above,
when he fixed fast the springs of the deep,
when he assigned the sea its boundaries
– and the waters will not invade the shore –
when he laid down the foundations of the earth,
I was by his side, a master craftsman,
delighting him day after day,
ever at play in his presence,
at play everywhere in his world,
delighting to be with the sons of men.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory. But that is not all we can boast about; we can boast about our sufferings. These sufferings bring patience, as we know, and patience brings perseverance, and perseverance brings hope, and this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.
‘I still have many things to say to you
but they would be too much for you now.
But when the Spirit of truth comes
he will lead you to the complete truth,
since he will not be speaking as from himself
but will say only what he has learnt;
and he will tell you of the things to come.
He will glorify me,
since all he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.
Everything the Father has is mine;
that is why I said:
All he tells you
will be taken from what is mine.’
I was by his side… delighting him day after day, ever at play in his presence.
This is a season of great newness for me. I have been restless and agitated in the undercurrents of my days. It involves planning my research topic, a wedding, and a relocating with my fiancé to Boston – all taking place in a matter of months between them. Friends are excited and think how fortunate I am. But I have refrained from revealing my stresses or compassionately giving myself the space to talk through things because I did not want to seem self-absorbed or worrisome. There has been so much to plan, discuss, and strategise that my perfectionist alter-ego goes into panic mode! My tendency to shelve the most important (but invisible) aspect of my wellbeing – my spiritual life – to the cobwebbed corners of my mind, has once again seized me. I am constantly learning again what it means to truly cleave unto my Lord with humility, that I cannot do everything, and my ways are never higher than His.
Yet the Holy Spirit is ever-gentle, when I am not. And with His infinite wisdom, He has prodded me with the beautiful imagery of today’s Proverbs scripture. I am calmly reminded that God created the Holy Spirit to be my Advocate – the One who will fight alongside me, ever-loyal to my Baptismal vows even when I am not. If we savour this particular scene in Proverbs – ‘The deep was not, when I was born, there were no springs to gush with water… When he fixed the heavens firm, I was there…’ – we realise that just as God the Father is the Alpha and Omega, the Holy Spirit was with Him at that very point in time. Doesn’t this sound like the description of our Genesis creation?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)
And I am struck to recall the parallel in the gospel of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)
How great is God’s wisdom and purpose for the world, and little, present-day me. As I contemplate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity celebrations today, I feel humbled that our God is far mightier than a three-in-one recipe. Meanwhile, the Martha in me needs to get things done now, right, well. Sometimes I bulldoze my loved ones and even myself. I do not spend enough time contemplating the majestic mystery of our Triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God has given of Himself to us in Three Divine Persons, because we are spiritual beings created for relationship – a deep, abiding, transforming relational union that preceded our very existence. The Spirit of God is the lifeblood that connects our spirit to the Father, Creator Blest.
The Holy Spirit is given so many names – Word, Breath, Life, Light, Wisdom. But the most beautiful of all that I have discovered today is Delight. How true this is of a life in the Spirit. When we are connected deeply to our lifesource, the Holy Spirit, we will continue to delight in God, ‘at play everywhere in his world, delighting to be with the sons of men,’ to delight in life’s lot and course. Be it stillness, stalemate, or staggering changes. Our faith, prayer, and love of the Spirit will bring us pure delight, deep joy and peace. One that surpasses all understanding and circumstances.
There is so much to delight and marvel at in my journey with God. He has not only blessed me with someone to love, but this someone loves Him too. My fiancé was baptised this Easter, and soon we will be joined in the Sacrament of Matrimony. I cannot wait. Paths in life can be messy, unplanned, and frazzling. I am comforted with this gentle reminder that I am never alone, for ‘the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us’ (Romans 5:5).
(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)
Prayer: Help me Holy Spirit, to drop my pens, tasks and checklists, and sit at Your feet to listen, learn, and patiently pray my way through all that I am going through.
Thanksgiving: I give thanks for the life changes and growth I now face (nerve-wrecking as they be). I have prayed for each of these dreams which God is slowly unwrapping before me. Ever wide is His mercy and deep His love. He never fails, He always surprises. Amen!