'God so loved the world.' Sunday Reflections, Trinity Sunday, 19 June 2011
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
In 1976, during my first visit home to Ireland from the Philippines, I was celebrating Sunday Mass in my home parish church in Dublin. I mentioned in my homily that 'a temple of the Holy Spirit' hade been murdered that week in Northern Ireland. A member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary had been shot dead. A middle-aged man in the congregation didn't like what I said and stood up and asked 'Are we here to listen to the Gospel or to a political speech?' He then sat down. I was initially stunned but continued and mentioned the policeman specifically during the prayers of the faithful.
I don't know whether the murdered man was a Catholic or Protestant but was certain that he was baptised and therefore a Temple of the Holy Spirit. Part of the tragedy is that the person who killed him was also such. But it isn't only the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, do so.
The Handbook of the Legion of Mary, Chapter 7, The Legionary and the Holy Trinity, has these words: The saints are insistent on the necessity for thus distinguishing between the Three Divine Persons and for rendering to each one of them an appropriate attention. The Athanasian Creed is mandatory and strangely menacing in regard to this requirement, which proceeds from the fact that the final purpose of Creation and of the Incarnation is the glorification of the Trinity. The late Fr Anselm Moynihan quotes these words in an article on the Venerable Edel Quinn, Edel Quinn: A Life in the Trinity.
The concluding part of the article, Adoring the Trinity, is especially appropriate for today's feast. The references to 'S' are to the life of Edel by Cardinal Suenens. Those to 'N' are to Edel's notes.
Adoring the Trinity
We are sharers in the very life of the Blessed Trinity, with the Incarnate Word as our Brother, His Father as our Father, His Spirit as the Soul of our souls. Yet we can never forget the transcendent holiness of God. And as a consequence, underlying, though not weakening the sublime intimacy we enjoy with the Divine Persons, will be an attitude of profound reverence and adoration. Edel certainly had that. It was manifest in her whole bearing at prayer, her behaviour towards all who represented God in any way and also in the expressions she uses in her private notes. She knew her soul to be the living sanctuary of the Triune God. She snatched at every opportunity of quiet and silence to recollect herself and be alone with God and offer Him the incense of her adoration.
Let us ask the grace to live in realization of our life in Christ, through Mary, adoring the Trinity (S, p. 246).
In Christ Jesus we have all. Realise this.
Often offer Him to the Trinity, present in our soul, giving all honour, reparation and glory throughout the day (S, p. 246).
Realise that I am the temple of God, the dwelling-place of the Trinity (S, p. 246).
In Christ we adore the Trinity, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Try and adore the Trinity in our souls, even in the midst of trouble or external duties (S, p. 248).
Our Lady, dwelling place of the Trinity. With Christ and helped by Mary, let us adore the Trinity. Cut out useless worrying thoughts ... to adore with and in union with Jesus ... Trinity in soul ... per Mariam (N).
At Mass I united myself to the victim Christ, through Mary's hands, for the glory of the Trinity, in thanksgiving for everything, and on behalf of souls (S, p. 250).
For Edel Quinn, then, the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity was not just an abstraction, to be accepted indeed on faith but with little bearing on the practical working out of our lives. For her it was supremely practical, vital and energizing. Her manner of applying it to her life, her prayer, her work, her relations with others offers an example we can all imitate - to the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
'The Blessed Trinity - there is our dwelling-place, our home, the Father's house which we must never leave' (Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity [photo below]).
Trinity was not just an abstraction, to be accepted indeed on faith but with little bearing on the practical working out of our lives. For her it was supremely practical, vital and energising. Her manner of applying it to her life, her prayer, her work, her relations with others offers an example we can all imitate - to the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
'The Blessed Trinity - there is our dwelling-place, our home, the Father's house which we must never leave' (Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity).
This article first appeared in Doctrine and Life, July 1963.( Ed.)
Introit (Entrance Antiphon) from Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962):
Blessed be the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to Him, because He hath shown His mercy to us. Vs. (Ps. 8: 2) O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is Thy name in all the earth! Glory be to the Father.
El Greco often did a number of paintings of the same scene. Here is one very similar to that at the top, painted the same year but over the high altar in the Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo, Spain.
Lord, who has form'd me out of mud,
And hast redeem'd me through thy blood,
And sanctifi'd me to do good;
Purge all my sins done heretofore:
For I confess my heavy score,
And I will strive to sin no more.
Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity;
That I may run, rise, rest with thee.
George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633)
George Herbert, born in Wales, was an Anglican priest noted for his great love for the poor in his parish in Wiltshire, England. This poem is found in the edition of The Divine Office approved by the hierarchies of Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland and published in 1974.