Emmitsburg Council of Churches

God is the Blessed Trinity
Ultimate Reality-why not seek him more?

Father John J. Lombardi

Question: What is the Most Significant "Thing" in life never mentioned in the Holy Bible?

Answer: The Holy Trinity. Yes: the word "Trinity" is never mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures. It took the Catholic Church some 300 years to fully define and finally "declare" this dogma--that God is One Divine Essence in Three Persons-a Holy Trinity. He It is whom you seek-hopefully in and thru all things, because He is our Ultimate Fulfillment. The great Dominican teacher at Catholic University, Fr William Hill (he was rumored, because of his wisdom, to have an inside track to God) called his book on God "The Three-Personed God"--after an ancient discourse of this name-description.

This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity--the central dogma of our Faith and Life (Catechism of the Catholic Church: # 261).Unfortunately, most people hardly ever acknowledge the Trinity--at least explicitly. Many Catholics and Christians believe in God (thank God) but usually don't worship Him fully as the Trinitarian Lord.

Here are some descriptions we do relate to God as: God-the-Father=The Creator (whether you see Him as bearded Wise Man or not) He begets, imitates, gives and ex-presses; God-the-Son=The Redeemer--He saves, redeems, uplifts and rescues sinful human beings; God-the-Holy Spirit=The Sanctifier: He vivifies and fragrances and stimulates within us. These, perhaps, are all images we may relate God to--but separately, not necessarily as Trinity.

True: at the end of His Resurrection Jesus Christ commands His disciples (and us by extension) to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Mt. 28) and thereby bestows us to the Trinity without the formal appellation. So, perhaps, it is rather difficult for most Catholics and Christians to relate to God as the Trinity. Okay, hopefully, these reflections will help you...

East and West United--many fundamentalists and evangelicals have little or no mention of the Trinity in their writings and preaching. Meanwhile, in Eastern Catholicism (Orthodox) there is much mention of the Trinity-both in their liturgy and theology--and we can learn from them in this regard (as Pope John Paul II reminded us: breathe from both lungs-East and West).

God-Within-us: Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity was a Carmelite lady whose favorite theme was God-indwelling-within-us. This may appeal to many today who are needy--new agers, Buddhists and Hindu--so study her works which are based upon St Paul's writings (see: I Cor 6:17ff; Lk. 17:21).

Variety and Unity: Multiculturalism is big today--people like variety--E pluribus Unum and all that ("out of the many, One"-as our country's motto has on our greenbacks). We have diversity in the Blessed Trinity--so how can people be bored by God as some claim? Within God there are three varied Divine Persons and yet we also have unity. Message: you should never be bored but always betwixt-and-between Them (the Three Persons with their divine personalities). But, also, what good is diversity without unity? Many can relate to the Father, for instance His strength, wisdom and love; to the Son for His supreme Sacrifice; and the Holy Spirit for His subtle movements (He's not just for charismatics anymore), but what about relating to the Trinity as a "whole" -together, as-One united?

Prayer and devotion: pray with your heart--"Father create in me a new heart; Beloved Son you suffered died and rose for me, help me to die and rise with you; Holy Spirit: breathe in me divine virtues and sacred fragrance. Most Blessed Trinity bring me into your marvelous Unity, Your healing Divinity."

Surrounded by Love--when we get to Heaven (God willing) we will be enveloped by God. "The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity" (Catechism # 260).You know the feeling when you are surrounded by sound in a movie theater, or by love--at a party, or during a family or friendly get-together and you have good feelings from all around you? Well, multiply that sense supernaturally and add in the Three Divine Persons--and also all the saints--and you will have an ecstatic sense that will never end (unlike all the good feelings we get on earth which always end). Since God is endless Being and Love, we will always be sensing Ultimate Ecstasy and be capable of experiencing ever more (Jn 17:21-23).

God-as-Ultimate-Reality - Is God your "foundation rock" of dependence and meaning? Many people place their "trust" in possessions and wealth and other creations, and not in God. They exchange the Ultimate Being with created things and when these passing things pass by-as always they will-they founder and flagellate. Recently in Japan the Agriculture minister jumped to his death over a brewing scandal. The phenomenon of suicide is growing there and this should be alarming esp for a society which is, with the USA, one of the richest in the world. Where is God in all this? Answer: rarely acknowledged. In Texas last week a mother hung her four small children, killing herself and them all except the youngest baby who survived. Point: many today in materialistic cultures with so much pressure and corruption by the concrete (versus mysticism by the immaterial) are embracing despair and depression rather than the God of Glory and Liberation.

Ultimate Mystery: In the book "Jesus of Suburbia" (a great read by an evangelical who basically states that God is More-than-we-can-ever-know and also "Ultimate Mystery"), he describes how most people go to church to hear the preacher expel a short, logical and pragmatic sermon on God or some spiritual theme. Notice those words: Short-well, God is infinite--how can you explain Him in twelve minutes?! Logical: God is beyond reason (see below)--how can you make people understand an infinite Being?! Pragmatic: you can't make God into your image or use of Him (although people try to-use Him). So- who can you pragmatize God-into a "pet rock-like thing?! People don't usually go to church to hear mish-mash about "mystery" and "beyond-it-all-ness"--which is what God is-they want easy images and pragmatic uses of God. So, upshot of the evangelical minister-author: preachers (and priests esp) should be helping people to fall on their knees, to know-what-they-don't know, or, that-they-don't know God as well as they think--you can't box Him - God - in. Most people want a nice, packageable God-being they can get their hands and heads on and around. Okay, that's human nature, but let's remember a couple things here: what the greatest theologian ever --St Thomas Aquinas--said, that what we cannot know about God far surpasses what we can know of Him--and that He is more unlike us than like us (perhaps why we have so many parables and metaphors and illustrations about God in the Bible). So: leave room for mystery and awe and thereby worship, honor and adore Him EvermoreTransRationality: As Catholics and Bible believers, we must understand all we can of God and then realize that reason fails and that therein we must worship, bend the knee, release the mind, open the heart, upraise the soul. We are not being irrational but trans-rational--that God-as-Mystery transcends (goes beyond) our reason and intellect Divine Desire: You know how you desire, say an ice cream cone or song or another person-you get a little fulfillment and then want more, and more. Maybe you get some more" and then you want more fulfillment and the cycle never ends. You keep putting your "trust" and level of desire-fulfillment in a created thing and leave out God. Well, God is the only being that will Ultimately Fulfill. So: why not now train yourself to attain this Ultimate Desire in God and not created things or person who can never totally satisfy?

Degrees of Separation? Many people think like this (you don't of course): God the Father is in Heaven hangin' out after having created the world; God the Son is in the Eucharist in the tabernacles of our churches; and the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. It kinda makes for a "Divorceable God" whereby the Three Divine Persons are separated and un-related --and even "three Gods" instead of a Holy Trinity (this is called "tri-theism"--a heresy, so don't go there!). We need remember: that there is an element of truth to these descriptions (on where God is) but that since He is Infinite Being and Omnipresent that He can be in many/all places at one time (similar to a friend who can be physically present to you and in someone else's thoughts apart from both of you; or a family of three persons, two parents and a child can be physically apart but still be a family). Anyway: don't divorce and separate God from Himself--treat yourself to the Trinity more and relate to Them as a family, integrated and unified.

"God Consciousness"-We are called to have a similitude with God, including His Mind and thinking"-you know, seeking and knowing and loving His Divine Will and Mind. St Paul says: "Let this Mind be in you which was in Jesus Christ" (Phil. 2:5) and "think on the higher things" (Col 3) and so we are called to disavow dissonant thinking and embrace "Godly mindfulness"-"Be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the Will of God" (Rm 12:2).

"Get with the Plan"-the Plan is God's salvation for the world and knowing and loving Him: The saints became instruments of Him, conduits and holy participants-will you seek, know and love God-and reveal Him to others?

God as a "Verb"?-usually we think of The Lord as a pronoun-"God"-as an inert being, passive, away from us. But, look: Jesus says, "My Father is at work until now, so I am at work." (Jn. 5:17), and the Divine Trinity is always keeping us alive, in being by His active, ongoing emmitances of Love. So: become part of His Divine Flow (Jesus says: "Remain IN Me", Without Me you can do nothing" and "He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (Jn. 15:3,5; Jn 20:22). Become one with Him and His undulations like a wave is one with the ocean; let yourself be used and loved by Him.

Atheism: In a new book, "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything," by Christopher Hitchens, which is a screed railing against all spiritualities, atheism rears it's ugly head. We should be unabashed, unperturbed as maddening as this guy and book get notoriety. We should help such people by understanding them and introducing them to God, spirituality and peaceful principles and be concrete examples of love and counter-witnesses against their diatribes. We should answer with our lives as well as our Bibles and Sacred revelation.

"Get in the Flow"--Perichoresis: This is a great (Greek) term meaning "mutual indwelling" of the Three Divine Persons with One Another. They so live One Another that they dwell within Each Other. No other beings do this so magnificently or mystically. So, in prayer and contemplation be in Him-be seized by Him, as St Gregory Naziansus prays, and let Him love you!

Latin Mass: Pope Benedict is rumored to soon be giving freer permission to celebrate the Latin Tridentine Mass. Perhaps this is a way, some say, to bring back more reverence and worship and Fear of the Lord which has been lost lately. Because God is, ultimately, a Mystery, we should not only love him but also, preeminently worship and fear Him (which means: reverential respect of a Divine Being). Not only the form of the Tridentine Mass but also the content of prayers may assist in this matter and we should all pray that unity and spiritual reverence is brought about. But: you needn't go to a Tridentine Mass for this Bliss-it's up to you to bend the knee of the heart and worship Him for His Divine attributes-meditate upon them: Infinitude, His goodness, because He is The Holy of Holies, think about His Love, His Mercy, His Beauty, His Uncreated Essence and Being (aseity); Brightness, Magnanimity. He is God and I am not: that's it-simply put-worship Him, for He created you for this. Be in wonderment and astonishment and mystical awe at God Who loves you so greatly!

Get to know Him, God, more thru prayer-spend ten minutes a day in mediation, listening and talking to Him as friend, Lord, Love; read the Bible--His "Love Letter" to you; encounter Him in the Mass-Sacraments, esp the Holy Eucharist; find Him in His creation which is a expression of Himself; embrace God in community and in serving, esp the poor, sick and dying; in His Church (teachings) which He gave as an extension of Himself to guide us thru this perilous life; find Him in His saints which the Holy Spirit makes as excellent witnesses of on-going love.

And pray some more-The Litany of Divine Love (in part): Because Thou art infinitively Perfect: I love Thee O my God. Because Thou art infinitely perfect-I love Thee O my God. In union with that Love wherewith Thou lovest Thyself in Heaven: I Love Thee O my God."…Repeat--throughout life.

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi