Adoring God, Three in One, One in Three

Since you are children of God, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit who cries out: Abba, Father (Gal. 4:6. Communion Antiphon). ⧾

Each year, on the Sunday following the Solemnity of Pentecost we celebrate the Mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the Mystery of God Himself (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #234). The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is an absolute mystery. It is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God (The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #237). As the central Mystery of the Christian faith, this mystery reveals that the God whom we worship is neither absent from his people nor fully identifiable with them. The life of Our Lord on earth is a gradual revelation of this Mystery, culminating with the revelation of the Holy Spirit as a Divine Person on Pentecost. The logic of the sacred liturgy rightly places today’s Feast on the Sunday after Pentecost.

The indwelling of the God in the soul through grace is a participation in the life of the Trinity. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. Where charity and love are, God is there. To this I add: Ubi Deus, ibi pax. Where God is, there is peace. Peace is not the absence of war. Peace is the tranquility of order as St. Augustine defines peace. These are thoughts worthy of reflection as we witness so much chaos and social unrest throughout the world. The chaos being fomented almost universally is another expression of the rebellion against God and the rule of law. Chaos is always a sign of the demonic. It was to deliver us from this chaos that the Son of God became Man for our salvation; leaving us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the memorial of His Passion so that we might worship God in spirit and in truth and so to live in a manner that is ordered and truthful. The contemplation of the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and our participation in this Mystery through grace enables us (if we desire it and work towards it) to live in peace.

The liturgical Feasts that follow the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity lead us to experience here and now the peace that the world can never give us. In our prayer, bereft as it is at this time of our ability to participate in the liturgical celebrations of these Feasts, let us always be aware that especially in these troubled days we embrace the whole world when we pray. We stand before God for all because God desires all men to be saved ad to come to the knowledge of the truth. In the coming weeks we will be celebrating the beautiful Feast of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and lastly, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Eucharist unites to the Son of God and through Him we have access in the Holy Spirit to the Father. Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart is our sure refuge at this time and the way that will lead us to God. To pray for the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart is to pray for the restoration of God’s holy order in the Church and in our society through the social Kingship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May His Kingdom be firmly established in our own hearts and through our witness and efforts in the hearts of all men and women. The God of divine revelation, the True and Only God is a God of peace. The meditation that follows these words of introduction is an invitation to all of us to foster in ourselves a profound spirit of adoration for the Triune God, of imitation of such profound love and of reparation for the sins of both commission and omission in a world where iniquity has abounded and the charity of many has grown cold (Cf. Mt. 24:12).

St. Paul reminds us that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Rom. 5:5). God is very near to us. We do not worship an abstract thought or theory, a force or ‘Supreme Being’, but a Trinity of Persons who dwells in us through grace. The complexity of this Mystery, at face value, speaks to its truth. St. Thomas Aquinas observed that the truth of the Christian faith exceeds not only human minds but also those of angels; we believe in them only because they are revealed by God (De Rationibus Fidei). Sometimes we hear it said that the complexity of Christianity is a hindrance; as opposed to the simplicity of other monotheistic religions. C. S. Lewis observed: If Christianity was something we were making up; of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

It is relatively easy to believe in a supreme force that has brought everything into being. Increasingly, in view of advances made in different fields of knowledge scientists speak of intelligent design to explain the wonderful complexity and beauty of the universe. Atheism, truth be told, is untenable in the face of the evidential power of beauty. It is my studied opinion that against the overwhelming weight of evidence, those who deny the existence of God do so because they refuse to submit themselves to a being superior or more powerful than they. Yet, is submission in faith to a superior or supernatural being sufficient? There are other religions that simply require submission to a monotheistic deity and some will assert that it is easy to belong to such a religion for such a creed is simple; but it is also carnal and harsh. This is a creed that seeks to impose itself on the world by force; a creed that seeks to criminalize any question concerning its legitimacy and place in our culture.

In contrast, Christianity, our faith, the true faith revealed by God with its essential belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is not easy to understand for it is mysterious. It is not carnal; that is, it does not promise heavenly rewards that satisfy our physical senses. Our Lord counseled chastity, modesty and temperance for both men and women. Nor is Christianity harsh, for Our Lord offers forgiveness and redemption and He enjoins us to become gentle and humble of heart. How foolish and wrong it is to assert that all religions are equal. This is the error of our times; the consequence of relativism. There is no discussion here of a mysterious truth like the Trinity; the tremendous and fascinating Mystery that we adore in humble and joyful submission.

Adoration is a free and loving submission of our whole being to God; to Divinity that is infinitely superior to all nature. Before the Mystery we cry out: Holy, Holy, Holy; Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: doing so with great thanksgiving for we are created in the image and likeness of this God; and through grace share His very life, striving to become as He is –holy, godly. This Trinitarian Mystery reveals to us the inner life of God; that God is personal and relational; we too are personal and relational beings. In contemplating the Trinity we come to know who we are and what we are called to be and we come to an ever deeper understanding of our ultimate destiny in God. This Mystery provides us with a proper and true understanding of the human person that fosters human life and all human achievements as a praise of God’s glory (laus gloriae)  (Cf. Eph. 1:12).  

When we gather to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass everything that we do within the confines of the sacred liturgy is an invitation to enter more and more deeply into the Mystery of the Triune God. This profound theological truth revealed through the Cross of Our Saviour reflects a likewise profound truth related to our human nature. In and through Christ Our Saviour we come to know God’s purpose for us and for all humanity. As Christians, the truth about God has therefore been revealed to us and no less the truth about man.  This is the truth that we are commanded to make known to all the nations in the great commission recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew: 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 (Mt. 28: 19).

If we live in the light of this truth our lives are literally transformed. This Mystery is not an abstraction but the source and destiny of all that is. Again, St Paul teaches us: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear but you have received a spirit of adoption to sonship. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8: 15). As believers and disciples, our task is to make this truth known. Ultimately, it is the very life of man, man himself living righteously, that is the true worship of God, but life only becomes real life when it receives its form from looking toward God (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy). Looking toward God in holy worship, in adoration, is the transformative experience of the sacred liturgy. In the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty, we learn to perceive both in ourselves and in the world around us something of the wonder of the Mystery of the Triune God; and beholding the glory of the Lord, we are transformed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another by the Lord who is the Spirit (Cf. 2 Cor. 3:18). This is how our lives become a praise of God’s glory (laus gloriae); and how we become the very aroma of Christ to God (2 Cor. 2:15); a sign of hope in a harsh and increasingly cruel world.

To live our lives in the conscious awareness that we are meant to glorify God through our witness is what it means to be a practising Catholic. The inability to attend Holy Mass at this time is a suffering beyond description for those who have come to understand the absolute necessity of the sacramental communion without which our lives become barren and ultimately, devoid of direction. Worship, true worship, not a communal celebration of the self, is a necessity, a sine qua non as it were, for the person who has tasted of the sweetness of the Lord and has been convicted by the truth of God, the source and destiny of all that is. Before the Trinitarian Mystery our posture can only be one of humble adoration.

In his monumental work, The City of God, St. Augustine explains the importance of worship: It is nothing but folly, nothing but pitiable aberration to humble yourself before a being you would hate to resemble in the conduct of your life and to worship one whom you would refuse to imitate. For surely the supremely important thing in religion is to model oneself on the object of one’s worship (The City of God, VIII, 17). These words were an answer to the pagans of his day who objected that the God Augustine believed in, the very same God we believe in, was too demanding.

The common objections we hear in our day is that you don’t have to be religious to be a good person; and the god that many profess to believe in just wants us to be nice and non-judgmental. Such a god is not one before whom we fall down in worship and adoration, and such a god in time, becomes irrelevant. In truth, there is no worship involved in this and by consequence nothing and no one to emulate and model oneself on. In this vacuum there is either idolatry of the self or despair. These errors to a great extent have crept into the Church, and if unchecked, they have the power to lead us also down this path of meaninglessness and despair. The apostasy or falling away of so many Catholics that is characteristic of our times is the result of a radical inversion of the concept of man and our relationship with God. Over and above the errors we encounter in the world, in my studied opinion, it is above all the eclipse of the Mass as a Sacrifice that has led to the eclipse of the Christian Faith, of the Christian way of life and specifically of the eclipse of the spirit of sacrifice that has defined the Catholic Church through the ages.

Let us continue to pray for the restoration of the Sacraments and the reopening of our churches. Let us also pray for a renewed understanding and appreciation of the Mass as Sacrifice; for this will necessarily result in the renewal of our lives and of our culture. The confusion and violence of our times are born of ignorance and idolatry, of a neo-paganism marked by cruelty, a characteristic always present in pagan cultures. The proclamation of the truth of the Gospel of truth and of salvation continues to be a source of liberation from the darkness of unbelief and idolatry, and from the burden of religions that subjugate, denigrate and oppress believers and unbelievers alike.  The profession of the true faith is already a share in the eternal glory of the Triune God. May our rightly ordered lives be an expression of our grateful praise.