This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It focuses our attention on the ineffable mystery that lies at the heart of everything: God – but God in the intimacy of His own life – the very God, Who creates all things including the vast universe in which we live. We cannot grasp the distances and the majesty of the created universe no less the Cause of it all!
Basically our knowledge of God, inadequate as it always must be, is based on our relationship with Him. God always escapes our paltry attempts to describe Him. Nonetheless, we do know Him as Creator (Father), Redeemer (Son) and Sanctifier (Holy Spirit). The early Church fathers saw in this “economic” trinity, God as He relates to us, a reflection of the inner reality of the divine life. The same early fathers devised the word “trinity” in order to try to grasp even inadequately the triune dimension of the One God. In fact, God is so brimming with life that He cannot possibly be designated by the normal language we use to describe one another. In the fourth century, St. Augustine, the famed theologian/bishop of the now defunct north African town of Hippo, affirmed in one of his many writings that “if we think that we have understood God then what we have understood is not God.”
Yet as human beings we require signs, symbols, and words to find significance in the realities around us. The ancient Greek doctors of the Church spoke of the Trinity in terms of “perichoresis” which means a “going around” like in a vigorous dance, each person interweaving, whirling in vibrant interaction with others. If you think of a lively “tarantella” then you have captured the image. God is not the only “dancer” – His dance is a dance of love; it is an open circle inviting others onto the dance floor. If some prefer to be “wall flowers” and sit on the sidelines, then the Three-in-One circles back again and again extending the invitation to dance, even changing the pace and the rhythm so that the clumsiest of us can learn the steps of the dance of divine love. This may well account for the various times and situations when different people are drawn to God. God wants us to share His divine life.
St. Paul, the author of our second reading this Sunday, like the best of dancing instructors, assures us that we are meant for this dance – we are God’s adopted children, in fact we are heirs. Christ has already shared the dance of human existence and bides us to enter the divine dance with the Trinity. If we are heirs then we are like the Divine Instructor whose Self-communication was incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth. In imitating Jesus we have all we need to enter the divine “perichoresis”.
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:17). From the day of our Baptism we are claimed “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. We are marked by the Trinity and invited to share in the dance of divine love which is manifested to us in the actions of the Father, Son and Spirit, the three Persons of the One God. God is so brimming with vitality and life, that the ordinary concepts of personhood cannot contain God. God cannot be satisfied by reference to only one person but rather three, yet all sharing the attributes of the one God, Who invites us to enter into the divine inner life.
In the Risen Christ,