Father. Son. Holy Spirit. Why does it matter that God is three-in-One? Why do we celebrate this day?
It doesn’t help me to think about a three-leaf clover, or of H20 as water, ice and steam. I still can’t wrap my head around it. I want to know first why it matters to my life. So I start with what it means to me:
God is Father
God is Father. Not only our father but MY father, personally, responsible for my being here. As his child I am somehow like him. He is everything that a father should be: Wise. Strong. Faithful. Patient. Trustworthy. Someone who teaches me right from wrong. Who loves me more than life, for who I am and in spite of my faults and failures. Who goes to bat for me against those who do me wrong. Who wants the best for me and works to help me get there.
Not only that, he is in heaven. Up above everyone else, seeing everything, knowing everything, and ruling everything from a place of goodness and holiness and love. That he’s up there means he’s above and greater than anything on earth. He has the final word against evil and pain.
God is Son
At the same time, God is Son. He’s everything I said above, but packaged in someone like you and me; packed into a brother and forever spouse. He’s in heaven now, but he was here on earth. He is someone to walk beside me on the journey, to show the way forward and out of the woods. Someone who put all that love God has for me into practice; put his life on the line and died so I could live — so I can make it in this difficult life. Thank God, God made him judge: because he knows and feels the pain of my weakness. He gets me. He pleads with God to forgive me, to wash away the messes that I make. He loves me to the death.
God is Holy Spirit
It might be hard to connect to that man who once was here but now is not. But God is also Holy Spirit. All of that love and grace and strength and character that is the essence of the Father and the Son, he poured out on us. The Spirit doesn’t just live above me in heaven, or walk beside me in life, the Spirit lives IN me. The Spirit gives me that life so I can be more like the One in whose image I was made. I don’t have to go elsewhere, God is always with me and in me with supernatural guidance and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control . . . all the things I don’t have on my own. The Spirit prays in me, helps me connect even when I can’t put thoughts into words of my own. With this life of the Spirit, I can actually become more like the Son, to the glory of the Father.
God is all those things in One
That Father—Son—Holy Spirit come wrapped in a single package (or more to the point, are ONE in essence, in nature, in purpose) has got to be a gift. I don’t get the “how,” but is it not a great thing? The one who is in heaven is also beside me and in me, helping me to be like him. It blows my mind. In the end, I find I grow to know God not by wrapping my mind around him but by allowing him into me. Through the Sacraments and through his Word and prayer. By being present to him as he is to me; by receiving and returning love; by listening and following.
My need to understand dissolves in the relationship. The puzzlement dissolves in love.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Who was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end Amen.
Happy Feast Day of the Most Holy Trinity!
© 2019 Sarah Christmyer
An Act of Praise to the Most Holy Trinity
I praise you, Father all-powerful.
I praise you, Divine Son, our Lord and Savior.
I praise you, Spirit of Love and Consolation.
One God, three Persons, Triune Unity,
be near me in the temple of my soul.
Draw me to share in your life and love,
in your kindness
grant to me and to my family
the riches of your mercy,
and a share in your blessing,
that we may come to the glory of your Kingdom
and rejoice in loving you for all eternity. Amen.
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