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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Indwelling of the Trinity

What animates Christian Contemplation is the most beautiful and intimate mystery of the universe -- the Glory out of which all things visible and invisible have issued forth. This unseen Glory causes all that is to exist and holds all things in existence for no other reason than sheer love and goodness. By an utterly excessive outpouring of love, in a divine and wholly gratuitous gift of sheer grace, this inexhaustible treasure has been entrusted to the heart to be known and loved.


Such is the Divine Indwelling - beyond holding us into existence, the Trinity manifests its goodness and truth to those who believe in the Risen Lord. This is no ordinary knowledge, no simple accumulation or mastery of information. It is sacred truth - the kind of truth that when humbly received shatters all rash judgments and helps us find the way home.


The prayer that receives this knowledge and love is called mystical. It is produced, not by human effort, but by the gentle touch of the Holy Spirit.Only the most humble act of faith and determined devotion makes the soul vulnerable enough to receive this Divine Gift.

The Holy Trinity may dwell in a soul for many years before the soul become conscious of the gift that it has been given. The humble love that such a gift requires can take years of constant vigilance and silent readiness. Steeping the imagination in holy images prepares the soil. Baptizing our intelligence with revealed truth makes the necessary space. Surrendering affections and offering painful sorrows with love draws this powerful blessing.

This hidden secret cannot be grasped by mental gymnastics or intellectual feats. This deepest spiritual truth evades the proud and powerful. The wise of this world are confounded by its simplicity. The clever stumble over its shocking liberty. Only poor beggars are ready for this hidden bounty.

Pierced and disjointed in helter-skelter agony, hung on dead splintered wood between heaven and earth, the last wordless cry of the Word of the Father fills the empty voids of this world with this living fullness. It flows like a font from the deepest center of Holy Spirit bathed baptized souls. It falls like rain on the contrite and runs like streams from their eyes to their hearts. Its fragrance awakens and draws love. It shakes the foundations of human existence and rips open the veils that separate Bride from Bridegroom.

Such is the august mystery of the Holy Trinity. An endless sea of love and life flows immutably from its tenderness toward humanity while its patient purpose remains un-thwarted by our hostility. Oh, that we might share in that same great stillness that this boundless Presence knows -- the peace of love poured out and received. In this magnificent stillness is the humble Greatness that resists our pride and the gentle Immensity that silences our aggression.

Generously implicated in our misery, the Father sends His Son in the power of His Spirit again and again into our hearts anew -- a pure, total and personal gift -- as if always for the first time. For, in the image of the unrepeatability of God's majesty, this astonishing gift never comes the same way twice. A personal gift of mutual relations, enkindling with bright warm splendor, this indwelling mystery is the hidden uncreated form of every created gift of self given and received in love.





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