All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.
How can we ever praise the Most Holy Trinity enough? Thank God we have all eternity at our disposal, because we will never come to an end.
St Augustine was about to write a book on the Holy Trinity. Since the 14th century, a beautiful legend has been associated with him;
It is said that, at the time he was preparing the book on the Holy Trinity, he was walking along a beach. There he saw a boy who had dug a small hole in the sand and was drawing water from the sea with a spoon and pouring it into the hole. When Augustine asked him what he was doing, the boy replied that he intended to drain the sea with the spoon and pour it into the hole. Augustine explained that this was impossible and smiled at the boy’s simplicity. But the boy replied that it would be easier for him to do that, than for Augustine to explain even the smallest part of the mysteries of the Holy Trinity in his book. And he compared the hole with the book, the sea with the Holy Trinity and the spoon with Augustine’s mind. Then he disappeared. So Augustine went into himself, prayed and then wrote the book on the Holy Trinity as best he could.
If the great Doctor of the Church received such a wise teaching, how dare one write something about the Holy Trinity! Words fail!
But perhaps for each one of us there is an access to our beloved Triune God, even if our “spoon” is nowhere near as big as that of St. Augustine.
This access is love; it is the Holy Spirit who reveals to us that we are children of God, in whom we cry out: “Abba, Father!”
God is our Father
With this we have recognised something very essential. It is so essential that we are already able to live from it. God is our Father and we are His children. Jesus tells us this by speaking of His Father and our Father (cf. Jn 20:17). He tells us this by entrusting us with the Lord’s Prayer (cf. Mt 6:9-13). The Holy Spirit teaches it to us within ourselves.
God is so close to us and wants us to live as His children. This is true for all humanity. If our experiences with our biological father were bad or deficient, this should not discourage us. It is just the opposite: the experience of God as our loving Father is able to heal all that we have not received from our earthly father, in the way God had foreseen. But it is important to meet God as He really is and not to carry distorted images of our Father in us. Perhaps my lecture “The love of our heavenly Father” can help a little.
God Son, Lord and Master
We meet the Son. The disciples call him Lord and Master, and rightly they say it, as Jesus confirms it (cf. Jn 13:13). In Him all the mercy of God towards us is revealed. Nothing is more important to the Lord than the revealment of our Father’s goodness and our salvation. For this He gives His life. Jesus, as Lord and Master, is also the One who calls us to follow Him. In this path He is our unsurpassable example. His redeeming love wants us to glorify the Father as He does. He instructs us in this, invites us to live in friendship with Him and entrusts Himself to us. As Lord and Master, He does not remain in a distance of unapproachability, but draws the disciples to His heart. They can rest against His heart (cf. Jn 13:25) and listen to His words. He takes them into His love for the Father, and has kept those whom the Father has given Him (cf. Jn 17:12). In his incarnation He came to us in an unspeakable way and also became our brother.
God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter
We have thought about the Holy Spirit in many ways in the past days. A very beautiful expression is the term “Paraclete” or “Comforter”, who gives us the comfort of God and offers us His nearness. It is the term Jesus Himself used (cf. Jn 16:7) and that expresses a lot about the Holy Spirit. His indwelling in us is both tender and strong. He is always the light of God within us, always reminding us of all that Jesus said and did and opening it up to us (cf. Jn 14:26). He is our inner teacher and divine friend. A real friend can be something like a small island in the gears of this world, with whom one can feel safe. But if this is limited with a human being, it opens up to the infinite with our divine Friend. He is always this island for us, He is always there for us, He always gives comfort in suffering and need, He always lights up our heart with His consolation.
The approach to the knowledge of the Holy Trinity can be very different. I have only indicated one way, which goes hand in hand with a personal relationship with the divine persons. At this place I would like to point out that in our spiritual family we pray the hymn to the Holy Trinity every morning. The texts are available here (Download “Praise to the Blessed Trinity”). In addition, there is a recited version in Spanish on YouTube, which I highly recommend.
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity shines above all. That is why we have not spoken about St Joan of Arc, who is very familiar to us. Today is her day of martyrdom in Rouen, France. Soon I will talk about her.