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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Power of the Holy Trinity

All too often, the Holy Trinity is approached as a problem to be solved rather than the initiator and ultimate end of the whole Christian Mystery. This living love is not something that we wait for at the end of our lives. Nor is it something we analyze as an object of study outside of ourselves. This eternal life is the truth we were made to behold and to share in. We access the life of the Trinity even now by faith—it is why we begin our prayer "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." To be a Christian is to be plunged into the primordial mystery of love which is the Trinity. This means we participate in their circumcession of love, of being in relation to one another, being "for" one another, all of this makes us capable of being for God and for one another in all the concrete circumstances of our life. Circumcession is the circulation of love and knowledge—a knowing love and a loving knowledge—eternally exchanged by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is the reality of communion in which we participate by sheer gift, a gift won for us on the Cross. The Trinity is the mystery from which our faith comes and to which it leads. The Three in One and One in Three is more present to our hearts and minds than we are to ourselves. The Holy Trinity is a reality of unspeakable love that begins right here and right now with the decision to believe in this love and to live by this love. To choose this is to make oneself vulnerable to the love of God—and to die to everything that is hostile to His love. This is what happens when the Trinity touches us, when the living God pierces our hearts—the invincible unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is ours by grace. In his commentary The Living Flame, St. John of the Cross describes the Trinity in terms of a hand, a delicate touch and a delightful wound. The Father is the hand "wounds to heal." Everything comes from Him reaching out to us in blessing just as He reaches out to Adam in Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Yet to make us healthy, He reaches out to destroy sin. This involves dying to our old way of life and renouncing those things that are obstacles to loving those He entrusts to us. The Father reaching out to us wakes us from our spiritual slumber and stirs us to re-orient ourselves ever more deeply to his love. If the Father is a hand reaching out of us, the Son is his touch—the Crucified Christ is the only way the Father reaches out to us. In Jesus, humanity and divinity touch each other, divine mercy touches human misery. This means that to know the Father we must not be afraid to search our misery for His mercy—Divine Mercy is deeper, the ultimate boundary to our hostility to God, to one another and to ourselves. If the Father touches us through his Son, the touch of Christ leaves us the Gift of the Holy Spirit. With the presence of the Holy Spirit, a taste for eternity lingers in the soul. We find in ourselves not only the desire but the ability to rise above the limits of the present circumstances and see the possibility of a greater freedom and truer love. The Holy Spirit lives in the wound of love God grants us—a wound that heals us and helps us realize the great dignity for which we are made. To avail ourselves to this beautiful touch of the Father by which His Spirit orients us to divine things, all we must do is prayerfully surrender. This means to boldly trust in Him through all the opportunities to love He gives us in the here and now. This is not always an easy choice - but what good is our love if we only render it when it is easy to give. And this choice that opens the whole mystery of God before us is always possible, no matter the circumstances around us, if we reject sin and keep prayerfully vigilant for His presence, clinging to our faith in which we find the very substance of our hope. A soul that lives by this hope hungers for love and is always ready to be drawn deep into the mystery of the Holy Trinity into which we have been invited through the generous blessing of the Father, through his Son and in the Holy Spirit from before the foundation of the world.

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