Holy trinity

The Holy Trinity: God reveals himself through love

I was away most of the day yesterday and spent my entire evening at a farewell party for good friends. Due to some confusion and conflicting schedules, we do not have a homily for today’s readingsso today i’m sharing of Pope Francis Angelus address today on the Holy Trinity. Rather than providing a doctrinal summary of Trinitarian dogma, it explains to us in practical terms the implications of faith in our Triune God and how the Holy Trinity teaches us that God “reveals himself through love”, and that it is through our acts of love we bring God’s love to others. He explains that love means “Not only to wish them well and to be good to them, but above all, at the root, to welcome others, to be open to others, to make room for others, to make room for others . That’s what it means to love, at the root.

Here is the part of the address which reflects on the Holy Trinity:

Today is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, and in the Gospel of the celebration, Jesus presents the other two divine Persons, the Father and the Holy Spirit. He says of the Spirit, “He will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will shew you things to come.” And then, concerning the Father, he says: “All that the Father has is mine” (jn 16:14-15). We notice that the Holy Spirit speaks, but not of himself: he announces Jesus and reveals the Father. And we also notice that the Father, who possesses everything because he is the origin of all things, gives to the Son everything he possesses: he keeps nothing for himself and he gives himself fully to the Son. Or rather, the Holy Spirit does not speak for himself; he talks about Jesus, he talks about others. And the Father does not give himself, he gives the Son. It is an open generosity, one open to the other.

And now, let’s see, let’s see what we talk about and what we own. When we talk, we always mean something good about ourselves, and often we only talk about ourselves and what we do. How often! “I did this and that…”, “I had this problem…”. We always talk like that. What a difference with the Holy Spirit, who speaks by announcing others, and the Father the Son! And, as we are jealous of what we own. How difficult it is for us to share what we have with others, even those who lack basic necessities! It is easy to talk about it, but difficult to practice it.

This is why celebrating the Most Holy Trinity is not so much a theological exercise, but a revolution in our way of life. God, in whom each Person lives for the other in a continual relationship, in a continual relationship, not for himself, challenges us to live with others and for others. Open. Today we can ask ourselves if our life reflects the God in whom we believe: do I, who profess faith in God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, really believe that I need the others to live, I need to give myself to others, I need to serve others? Do I affirm it with words or do I affirm it with my life?

The One and Triune God, dear brothers and sisters, must manifest Himself in this way – with deeds rather than words. God, who is the author of life, is transmitted less by books than by the testimony of life. He who, as the Evangelist John writes, “is love” (1 day 4:16), is revealed through love. Think of the good, generous, gentle people we have met; recalling their way of thinking and acting, we can have a little reflection of God-Love. And what does it mean to love? Not only to wish them well and to be good to them, but above all, at the base, to welcome others, to open up to others, to make room for others, to make room for others. That’s what it means to love, at the root.

To understand this better, think of the names of the divine Persons, which we pronounce each time we make the sign of the cross: each name contains the presence of the other. The Father, for example, would not be without the Son; likewise, the Son cannot be considered alone, but always as the Son of the Father. And the Holy Spirit, in turn, is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. In short, the Trinity teaches us that one never goes without the other. We are not islands, we are in the world to live in the image of God: open, in need of others and in need to help others. So, let’s ask ourselves this last question: in everyday life, am I too a reflection of the Trinity? The sign of the cross that I make every day – the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – this sign of the cross that we make every day, is it a gesture for itself, or does it inspire my way of to speak, to meet, to respond, to judge, to forgive?

May Our Lady, daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Spirit, help us to welcome and bear witness in life to the mystery of God-Love.

Read everything.

Francis’ words to those in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan were also important during the address. Two days ago, the The Vatican announced that the apostolic pilgrimage to the two African nations, originally scheduled for July, would be postponed. This has sparked more speculation that a papal resignation may be imminent. His comments this morning, in which he said he hoped the trip would be rescheduled soon, seemed to dismiss those theories. He said,

“Dear friends, with great regret, due to leg problems, I had to postpone my visit to your countries, scheduled for the first days of July. I really feel great sorrow to have had to postpone this trip, which counts so much for me. I apologize for this. Let’s pray together that with God’s help and medical care, I can be with you as soon as possible. Let’s keep hope alive!”

Pope Francis also spoke about Ukraine saying, “The thought of the Ukrainian people, afflicted by war, remains vivid in my heart. May the passage of time not soften our sorrow and our concern for this suffering population. Please don’t get used to this tragic situation! Let us always keep him in our hearts. Let us pray and fight for peace.

This feeling of getting used to evil situations going on has been weighing on me lately, especially in how desensitized many of us have become to the mass shootings in the United States. It’s something I talked about with Cardinal Blase Cupich and Jeannie Gaffigan in the latest episode of field hospital. I noted how the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado completely shocked me, but how 23 years later, after so many mass killings, the scandal has lost its shock. Systemic evils and structural sins like abortion and racism have a way of desensitizing us. However, that is no excuse to stop praying and fighting for justice.

I would like to add a final parting thought. At the farewell party last night, one of our hosts recounted how they had a miscarriage last year and mentioned how our mutual friend (the wife of the moving couple) gave her a card, in which she wrote the following quote from Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel (died 1964):

All we know is that whatever is given to God is never lost.”

In his address this morning, Pope Francis said: “And, as we are jealous of what we own. How difficult it is for us to share what we have with others, even those who lack basic necessities! It’s easy to talk about it, but hard to practice it. How difficult it is also to offer to God what we have lost. My wife and I also had a miscarriage last year, and many of our friends and relatives have also lost children in recent years. This coming Tuesday would also have been my sister’s 44th birthday. Sometimes it becomes too easy to dwell on what we have and what we don’t have.

It can be hard to accept that very little of what we have on this earth is permanent. But the paradox of the Christian faith is that we believe that everything we have belongs to God, and that God has given us everything we need. Pray for the grace to accept this.


Image: Andrei Rublev xAHfUdaiKn8EBA at Google Arts & Culture. Public domain

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Mike Lewis is the founding editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host field hospitalan American Catholic podcast.


The Holy Trinity: God reveals himself through love