The Most Holy Trinity, St. George church, Guke near Pljevlja - Montenegro - Wikimedia Commons

Archbishop Follo: Trinity: God is love

With the Wish to Understand that the Trinity is the Life of Communion and this Communion is our Vocation

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SS. Trinity – Year B –May 27, 2018
Roman Rite
Dt 4, 32-34.39-40; Ps 33; Rom 8: 14-17; Mt 28: 16-20
Ambrosian Rite
Ex 33.18-23; 34.5-7a; Ps 63; Rom 8.1-9b; Jn 15.24-27
1) God is love.
Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity, which dwells is in our heart.
The dogma of the Trinity is not the result of mythological fantasies or the result of abstract philosophical meditations. Neither is it a cold theological formulation which offers the pretext of saying that the Trinity is a mystery so detached from our life that more than one Christian feels that it is safe to ignore it. The Trinity is a great Mystery, which overcomes our mind, but that speaks deeply to our heart because in its essence it is nothing other than the explication of the expression of St. John: “God is love” (1 Jn 4, 8. 16 ).
It is the heart that supports the mind to believe that God
–  is the Creator and the merciful Father,
– is the Only Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, dead and risen for us,
–  is the Holy Spirit that moves everything, cosmos, and history, towards the full final recapitulation. Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love and the Spirit is love. God is all and only love, pure, infinite and eternal love.
By revealing the mystery of God-Love, Jesus, the Son of God, made us know the Father who is in Heaven and has given us the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and of the Son. Therefore, “the Trinity is a communion of divine Persons who are one with the other, one for the other, one in the other. This communion is the life of God, the mystery of love of the Living God” (Pope Francis).
In addition to the teaching of the Pope, I am also helped by an image taken from Saint Catherine di Siena. This great holy woman uses a simple and illuminating image: that of the fish that lives and moves in the waters of the boundless sea. The fish lives in water and of water, and the water enters in it. This little creature does not know how big, powerful and beneficial the element in which he lives is; however, in the sea the fish lives, plays, grows and multiplies.
Similarly, the same thing happens to man before the Mystery of God the Trinity. The human being is too small to understand it, however, by grace, the life of God flows in him, by grace God bends over him and speaks to him with the tenderness of the Father, the confidence of the Brother, and the strength of Love. While remaining mysterious, the reality of love of the One and Triune God envelops the person who lives in it and lives of it. Therefore, the liturgy of this solemnity, while making us contemplate the stupendous mystery from which we come and towards which we are going, renews for us the mission of living in communion with God and of living in communion among us on the model of the divine communion.
This entails accepting and witnessing together the beauty of the Gospel and living with one another, one for the other, one of the heart of the other. In this way, we will reflect the splendor and love of the Trinity and we will be missionaries of charity with the power of God’s love that dwells within us.
2) The Church as a missionary pilgrim of love.
Indeed, the Christian is missionary by nature. The Gospel of this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity also reminds us of this. In the third reading (the Gospel) the Church makes us listen to the passage that tells of the risen Jesus who appears on a mountain to his disciples and says: “Go therefore and make disciples all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything what I have commanded you “(Mt 28, 19-20).
Let us take seriously the invitation that Christ renews us today, accepting and taking the Gospel of love into the world.
In fact, the Christians are not so many proclaimers of a discourse as they are of the One who has words of eternal life in Love.
The God/ Love revealed by Jesus is not a philosophical-theological principle to be believed. He is not the most perfect God who from his cold isolation commands precepts to be observed. He is not even the “god” of a religiosity put at our service to get out of our failures, our incapacities or our fears. God is a mystery of relationship, of communion: an infinite relationship of love, of true love, of love that gives itself totally. We have been created by this love and out of love, “we were created in the image of divine communion” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 178). We are called to be missionaries of this communion of love. This mystery of love is concrete and close to us more than we think, and we live it in practice when, especially in the most important or critical moments in which we most need God, we make the sign of the cross. Marking ourselves with this holy sign, almost without being fully aware of it, we invoke God One and Triune saying: “In the name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit”. Not only do we invoke God the Trinity to help us, but we praise him with the prayer “Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit … Amen” that Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Missionary of Charity in name and in fact, often said in this way: “Glory to the Father-Prayer, and to the Son-Poverty, and to the Holy Spirit-Zeal for souls. Amen-Maria. ”
 3) The Trinity and the Consecrated Virgins.
Saint Teresa of Avila describes the understanding and the existential value of this Mystery speaking of her spiritual journey that has developed in the direction of “loving tenderness”: Christ has led her to the Father and has entrusted her to the Holy Spirit, and Teresa has “experienced” the mystery of the three divine Persons: a paternal person who attracts, embraces, comforts and solicits; a spiritual person who warms her and captivates her inwardly while the filial person of Christ continues to invite and prepare Teresa for the mystical marriage that was celebrated in the Carmel of Avila, during the Mass of November 18, 1572.
The life of the consecrated Virgins in the world continues in its own way the experience of this great Spanish Saint. With a complete gift of themselves in the hands of the Bishop, these women testify in a special way the Trinitarian dimension of Christian life.
In fact, virginity is in some ways the deification of man: “One cannot make better praise of virginity except by showing that it deifies, so to speak, those who participate in its pure mysteries, to the point of making them in communion with the glory of God, the only truly holy and immaculate, admitting them in his own familiarity through purity and incorruptibility “(Saint Gregory of Nyssa, De Virginitate, 1, 1-2, 256 s.).
Therefore, virginity originates from the Trinity and lives in the Trinity, linked as it is to the generation of the Son by the Father and brought as a gift to men by the Word, who comes into the world in the same way as it is generated by the Father, virginally, by a Virgin. This is how in the Christian person virginity produces effects similar to those that occurred “in Mary, the Immaculate when all the fullness of the divinity that was in Christ shone in her (…). Jesus no longer comes with his physical presence, but lives spiritually in us and, with him, brings us the Father “(Ibid, 2).
It is clear that this ideal of life characterized by spiritual virginity is proposed to all Christians, even to the married one, as a requirement of perfection. But Saint Gregory and the other Fathers of the Church clearly see that whoever chooses virginity, abstaining from marriage and imitating Jesus and Mary, rediscovers the original integrity in which man was created or, as the holy bishop of Nyssa says, the condition of “the first man in his first life” (Ibid, 12, 4. 4; 416 s).
Patristic reading
Saint Agustin of Hyppo (354 – 430)
De Trinitate
Conclusion of Chap. 28
O Lord our God, we believe in Thee, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the Truth would not say, Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, unless Thou wast a Trinity. Nor wouldest thou, O Lord God, bid us to be baptized in the name of Him who is not the Lord God. Nor would the divine voice have said, Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God, unless Thou wert so a Trinity as to be one Lord God. And if Thou, O God, weft Thyself the Father, and weft Thyself the Son, Thy Word Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit your gift, we should not read in the book of truth, “God sent His Son;” nor wouldest Thou, O Only-begotten, say of the Holy Spirit, “Whom the Father will send in my name;” and, “Whom I will send to you from the Father.” Directing my purpose by this rule of faith, so far as I have been able, so far as Thou hast made me to be able, I have sought Thee, and have desired to see with my understanding what I believed; and I have argued and labored much. O Lord my God, my one hope, hearken to me, lest through weariness I be unwilling to seek Thee, “but that I may always ardently seek Thy face.” Do Thou give strength to seek,, who hast made me find Thee, and hast given the hope of finding Thee more and more. My strength and my infirmity are in Thy sight: preserve the one, and heal the other. My knowledge and my ignorance are in Thy sight; where Thou hast opened to me, receive me as I enter; where Thou hast closed, open to me as I knock. May I remember Thee, understand Thee, love Thee. Increase these things in me, until Thou renewest me wholly. I know it is written, “In the multitude of speech, thou shalt not escape sin.” But O that I might speak only in preaching Thy word, and in praising Thee! Not only should I so flee from sin, but I should earn good desert, however much I so spake. For a man blessed of Thee would not enjoin a sin upon his own true son in the faith, to whom he wrote, “Preach the word: be instant in season. out of season.” Are we to say that he has not spoken much, who was not silent about Thy word, O Lord, not only in season, but out/of season? But therefore it was not much, because it was only what was necessary. Set me free, O God, from that multitude of speech which I suffer inwardly in my soul, wretched as it is in Thy sight, and flying for refuge to Thy mercy; for I am not silent in thoughts, even when silent in words. And if, indeed, I thought of nothing save what pleased Thee, certainly I would not ask Thee to set me free from such multitude of speech. But many are my thoughts, such as Thou knowest, “thoughts of man, since they are vain.” Grant to me not to consent to them; and if ever they delight me, nevertheless to condemn them, and not to dwell in them, as though I slumbered. Nor let them so prevail in me, as that anything in my acts should proceed from them; but at least let my opinions, let my conscience, be safe from them, under Thy protection. When the wise man spake of Thee in his book, which is now called by the special name of Ecclesiasticus, We speak,” he said, “much, and yet come short; and in sum of words, He is all.” When, therefore, we shall have come to Thee, these very many things that we speak, and yet come short, will cease; and Thou, as One, wilt remain “all in all.” And we shall say one thing without end, in praising Thee in One, ourselves also made one in Thee. O Lord the one God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books that is of Thine, may they acknowledge who are Thine; if anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are Thine. Amen).

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Archbishop Francesco Follo

Monsignor Francesco Follo è osservatore permanente della Santa Sede presso l'UNESCO a Parigi.

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