Holy trinity

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Superlative Love

At the start of my college career, a professor of creative philosophy introduced me to René Descartes. The young Jesuit described Descartes as a passionate seeker of certainty. Descartes has decided to doubt everything until he comes to an indisputable fact. Descartes climbed into a closet devoid of sensory distractions where he could doubt in peace.

Crouching in the middle of hanging cups, he finally discovered his foolproof truth: “I think so I am, “or,” I think, therefore I am. “I was quite impressed. Descartes then moved on to other proofs, mathematics and theology. Based on this cabinet experience, he could believe in reason and therefore in God. It was great!

Time passed and I began to realize that Descartes had missed the most basic truth of all. He ignored the fact that the grandmother who had raised him had taught him to say “I”. She taught him the language he needed to formulate and communicate his thoughts. More importantly, it was only because his mom held it and looked in his little face and called it “you”, so that baby Rene could understand that he was a related person to others in the world.

“You and me.” These are the solid foundations of personal consciousness and therefore of belief and knowledge. Descartes would not have had the vocabulary to use in this closet if the others had not taught him that he was an “I” linked to the others around him.

Sometimes our Christian theology has been presented as the logic of Descartes. We have heard that there are facts that are true and immutable, and that our understanding of God can be explained through them. It has given us a superlative vocabulary describing God as almighty, omniscient, and everlasting: in layman’s terms, the greatest and the best. According to this philosophy, God must be immutable because the best is the best, the perfect is the perfect; changing would imply that the previous state or the last state is lower than the other.

Phew! There you are, God is as understandable as a mathematical equation.

But that doesn’t cut it. These categories for describing God reflect philosophies that are no more insightful than Descartes was as he crouched among the cups and convinced himself that his individuality was the most basic truth.

These categories ignore the reality that personality is not rooted in thought, but in relationship. A philosophical and logical description of God is alien to the God we meet in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The superlative quality of the God that we encounter through Scripture is love. God the Creator, the God of Moses and of the prophets, is the God who initiates, seeks and maintains eternal union with creation. Rather than describing God as the primary cause, the engine of the Big Bang, we had better conceive of God as the primary and supreme lover.

This brings us to the holiday we are celebrating today. The theologians turned to try to explain the Trinity. Whether it is the philosophical types who revel in mathematical precision, or the mystics who get lost in the being of God, we have a myriad of attempts to conceive of God. Unique among all the religions of the world, Christians believe that God has revealed himself to us as a Trinity: three people who are who they are because they love each other and whom we know because the nature of God is. to reach out.

Today’s selection from the Gospel of John describes the Father as the one who sent the Son to share eternal life with all who will believe in God’s offer. Last week we heard John tell us that the Spirit gives us the power to forgive, thus enabling us to participate in God’s saving action. The God we contemplate today is present in us, with and for us.

In short, theology and the whole history of salvation are simply the history of God’s love: Jesus, the Incarnate Word, draws us into his relationship with God as father and shares the divine Spirit who dwells in us.

Where is this taking us? This means that the preferred way to know God is through love – all true love. The teaching of the Church tells us that conjugal love is a sacrament-sign of the love of God. The First Letter of John professes that any exercise of love is an experience of God.

The God we know through Christianity exists as a community of overflowing love. Saint Augustine taught us that our hearts are restless until they rest in God: The love we have and the love we desire is the attraction of God, drawing us to know and be like God. , magnet from the inside out.

Deep down, even Descartes knew it. Like Thomas Aquinas before him, he wrote philosophy and then went to church to sing “Ubi Caritas“proclaiming that only love teaches us who God is.

[St. Joseph Sr. Mary M. McGlone serves on the congregational leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.]

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