Newsletter – The Most Holy Trinity 27 May 2018

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The Most Holy Trinity 270518

Every priest loves to be on holidays on this weekend.  The feast of the Holy Trinity is just so hard to preach on. What do you say? You look back on your notes and wonder if any of it makes sense. How do you grasp something that is so vast, so vague and yet so intimate to our understanding and relationship with God.

The tempting option is to revert to one of the tried and true stories about the Trinity. The most obvious one is the story of Augustine and how one day he was strolling along the beach, lost in thought meditating on the mystery when he aimlessly came upon a small child who had dug a little hole in the sand.  With his toy bucket in hand, the youngster had begun making trips back and forth to the sea, pouring water into the hole.  After watching for a while, Augustine asked the child “What are you trying to do?”    “I’m pouring the ocean into that hole” came the reply.  As kindly as he could manage, Augustine explained that “You can never do that”.  Whereupon, the child responded “And neither can you fully comprehend the mystery of the Holy Trinity”.

That story has been used down through the centuries to underscore the fact that dig and dig as we may, and pour and pour as we might, we will never be able to comprehend fully the mystery of the Trinity.  We say it is a mystery–far too difficult for our little finite minds–and race off and try to deal with something a bit more mundane and practical!

However, in being intellectually lazy and dismissing the Trinity as a mystery we risk missing out on getting a glimpse of an aspect of God that I bet you have never thought about!

As you read this front page just stop for a moment and remember something or some moment that made you ridiculously happy.  You know those moments when, subconsciously, you say to yourself “it does not get any better than this”, you almost shake with excitement!   It might be the anticipation of an event, a moment of connectedness with a grandchild or the nod of love and understanding from a partner.  From standing in awe silently looking into the crib of your new born child’s breathing to watching that magnificent sunset, we all have those fleeting moments of indescribable joy.  I think you know the moments I am trying to describe.

Perhaps it is precisely at those moments of uncontrollable joy that we are touched by the Trinity?  One of the great theologians from the 14th century, the Dominican priest Meister Eckhart, defined the Trinity this way: “When the Father laughs at the Son and the Son laughs back at the Father, that laughter gives pleasure, that pleasure gives joy, that joy gives love, and that love is the Holy Spirit.”

Pretty hard to beat that definition! Love brought about by joy. So where joy is… there also is God. And where you find God, you can’t help but find the Trinity.

We tend to face God with grim faces and furrowed brows. But is that what He really wants? Scripture reminds us, again and again, how God takes delight in creation. We shouldn’t be afraid to express that, or share in it. Because to share in that joy is to share in the Trinity – and feel the nearness and excitement of God’s love for us.

Joy, happiness is part of what makes us human – but also what connects us to the divine. If joy is at the heart of the Trinity, it’s also at the heart of us, for we are made in the image of God.

So, if you want a better understanding of the Trinity this Trinity Sunday, just think of the thousands of joyful miracles God places before you this day and this week.

Wishing you every blessing for the coming week.

Fr Peter Brannelly