|by Angela (Lambert) Jendro
May 27th, 2018 The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Gospel of Matthew 28:16-20 NAB
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they all saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
The mystery of the Trinity is so sublime, any words of reflection feel like an injustice to so majestic and beautiful a reality. The revelation of the inmost reality of God, His very essence, so far exceeds the scope of our limited human experience any attempt to imagine or explain Gods’ Triune nature feels inadequate and even irreverent.
Nevertheless, Christ revealed this ineffable mystery to us and commanded the apostles to preach this Truth to the whole world. In consequence, with the utmost humility, we ought to contemplate this essential mystery of the Christian faith. Even though we can never understand it fully, we must revere that which Christ desired us to know and imitate.
The perfect union of mind, will, and love exists only in the union of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. Remarkably, Christ invites us into that divine relationship and makes it possible through His example and grace.
At the Incarnation, in an act of supreme humility, the Son, sent by the Father, became one with humankind by taking on our nature. In doing so, He demonstrated for us concretely how to align our will with God’s and how to exercise divine love toward God and neighbor. At every turn, Jesus remarked that He had come to do the Father’s will. Even in His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, His human will resisted the impending Cross, but resigned “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). During the first thirty years of His life, Jesus even obeyed the will of Mary and Joseph and followed all the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law (Luke 2:51).
This flies in stark contrast to our highly individualistic culture, fixated on self-assertion. The fruits of the opposing ideologies bear the same contrast. Despite all the attempts to do away with any limits – personal and relational, definitions, and even the laws of human nature, our secular culture seems to only sink deeper into depression, anxiety, loneliness, and slavery to addictions. Rather than creating unity in freedom, violence and vitriol dominate public discourse.
Jesus illuminated the freedom and supreme joy that springs from self-giving love. He began by modelling it for us. St. Paul exhorts us to follow Christ’s example, Who, instead of asserting His rights as the divine Son, instead:
|did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name” Philippians 2: 5-9
Rather than usurp the authority of Mary and Joseph (the only teen who really was smarter than His parents), He obeyed them and respected God’s ordering in the family. Jesus didn’t have to offer sacrifice in the Temple because He had never sinned, but He chose to because He wanted to share in our suffering. Jesus didn’t have to die, but He wanted to walk every dark corner of human existence so that He might shine His eternal light there and conquer even the most evil oppressors of His beloved.
He challenges us to do the same.
|“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
|“unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” John 12:24
|“Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
First, we must seek union of mind, will, and heart with God. It means surrendering our adolescent pride which thinks we know better than our Heavenly Father, and our foolish rebellions against His guidance and “rules”. When we allow ourselves to be taught by God and developed under His authority, we mature and blossom like a child who assents to his parents loving care through the turbulent periods of growth into adulthood. No adult looks back and says, “I wish my parents had been more weak and let me raise myself.” Often, the opposite is true.
Aided by divine grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the maturing soul increasingly appreciates the depth of God’s love and comes to see His Wisdom. At 15 many kids consider their parents’ rules overbearing and their views outmoded. At 25 they begin to thank their parents for those rules and see the wisdom in their advice.
As God’s love fills the soul more and more, His fruits also begin to run over. St. Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit as, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). These enable one to work for unity of love with others. If trying to align our mind and heart with God, who is Perfect, is so hard, how much more difficult to accomplish mutual respect with imperfect humans! Impossible. Thankfully, Christ assures us that what is impossible for man is possible for God (Matthew 19:26).
Union of mind and will can only be achieved in mutual love. Forced submission through violence or manipulation is not union, only domination. Union is a coming together of the two into one whereas domination is assertion of one to the disappearance of the other.
Authentic union can only be achieved through divine grace. No political system, media blast, educational model, or diet can produce the mysterious reality found in the Christian union of mind, will, and heart, in freedom, joy, and love. The only place we can experience the peace we long for is in the Mystical Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head. United in Christ, however, we exercise all the diversity of personality given to us by our marvelously creative Father while at the same time working toward the same end in perfect harmony and mutual respect.
There’s no greater happiness than true love, and no greater love than that between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Lord invites us into that love and into His blessed happiness. The Father sent the Son, the Son redeemed us and sent the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and fills us with the love of God, and we are then sent to share that saving love with others. What an incredible mystery!
- Take a few minutes to simply rest in the presence of the Triune God.
- Consider in awe the immensity of love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Consider how you are a fruit of God’s love.
- Consider how the closer you have become with the Lord, the more purified your love has become for your neighbor.
- Consider how the fruits of the Spirit produce loving union in human relationships as well.
- What often undermines developing a mutual understanding or working in alignment? (pride, anxiety, fear, stubbornness, hate, selfishness, over-ambition, self-assertion, etc.)
- Contrast these with the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Christ is the Head of the Mystical Body, and we are its members (I Corinthians 12). Consider times or ways in which you try to be the head and lead Christ, rather than the other way around.
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Make the sign of the Cross slowly and thoughtfully as a prayer to the Triune God at the beginning and end of the day.
- Exercise the fruits of the Spirit to bring greater unity in your family.
~ Written by Angela Jendro © 2018
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