Antonio de Pereda y Salgado - The Holy Trinity - Wikimedia Commons

Archbishop Follo: Feast of the Holy Trinity

With the wish that the feat of the Trinity help us to praise God not simply for a wander accomplished by Him, but for how He is: highest and deepest communion of love and life.

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The truth of God and the truth about man find complete revelation in the Trinity, a mystery of love and communion.
Feast of the Holy Trinity – June 16, 2019
Roman Rite
Pro 8, 22-31; Ps 8; Rom 5: 1-5; Jn 16, 12-15
 Ambrosian Rite
Gen 18,1-10a; Ps 104; 1 Cor 12: 2-6; Jn 14.21-26
1) God is co-being
Today’s feast is not added to the previous ones (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost) as a reminder of a particular mystery: the Trinity. Mystery recognized in theory as fundamental, but in practice removed and placed in the background. The mystery to which we must think once a year. This Mystery of the Trinity is celebrated as the sum of all those we celebrated from Christmas to Pentecost to make us see together what we had contemplated one by one like the colors refracted in a prism.
The meaning of all the feasts of the liturgical year is always the celebration of «God with us». But how can God be «with us» if this «with» does not always belong to his essence and his intimate life The Trinitarian mystery reveals us that God is Father with the Son and with the Holy Spirit.
In today’s feast, therefore, we contemplate the Trinity making it known to us Jesus, the God with us (= Emmanuel). «He revealed to us that God is love» not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of one substance «(Today’s Mass Preface): he is Creator and merciful Father; he is the Only Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, dead and risen for us; it is finally 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, the Spirit is love. God is everything and only love, pure love, infinite and eternal. He does not live in splendid solitude, but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is constantly given and communicated «(Benedict XVI, 7 June 2009).
In the Trinitarian Mystery, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit we understand the divine nature itself and the very essence of God which is love, communion, relationship, collaboration, self-giving, service, charity, infinite forgiveness.
In the wake of the magisterium of Pope Francis, I consider it useful to highlight the most beautiful aspect of this our God, in whom we have faith, striving to live in communion with him, and in whom we have placed all our hopes. This aspect is mercy. Merciful as the Father, but equally merciful as the Christ and as the Holy Spirit.
2) From the Cross to the Trinity.
In the Cross of Jesus, the whole of the Holy Trinity is involved: involved in Love and for Love! Many ancient Western paintings depict the Crucifix supported by the arms of the Father, I choose the one by Masaccio (in Florence, in Santa Maria Novella, see or photo at end of these reflections) where the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove is between the head of the Father and the head crowned with Christ’s thorns. It’s true! Between the Father and the Son, there is a mysterious, communion of love. This is why Jesus could say from the cross without hesitation: «Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do» (Lk 23:34). Between the Father and the Son, there is a perfect, spiritual communion of Love! For this reason, dying, Jesus could exclaim with filial confidence: «Father, into your hands I consign my Spirit» (Lk 23:46). And from this moment Jesus’ humanity, crossed by the act of Love that unites the Son to the Father from eternity, has become a source of filial life for all those who open themselves to Jesus in the humility of faith: «To how many l they welcomed gave the power to become children of God: to those who believe in his name, who are not from blood, nor from the will of the flesh, nor from the will of man, but from God they have been begotten «(Jn 1,12-13).
If God is like this, if this is the way through which he saves us (and it is so!) The Trinity is not a remote mystery, irrelevant for our life. These three divine Persons who are most «intimate» in life: they are not in fact outside of us, like the same wife or husband or children or friends, but they are within us. They «dwell in us» (Jn 14:23).
A great example of how the Cross is a way to the Trinity is given to us by St. Francis of Assisi. Contemplating the incarnate and crucified Word, this great Saint lived the love of the God-Trinity, which is given to him and he, Francis, responded in turn with full dedication.
St Francis changed his heart became similar to Christ in the body, with the stigmata. Led by the Spirit among the lepers, the Saint of Assisi shared the mercy he had received from God the Father, rich in mercy. Saint Francis understood and makes us understand that the act of dying of Christ is the gift that he makes of his Spirit. And if Christ gives us his Spirit, we become members of Christ, we live his Presence.
On the Cross, Jesus gave his Spirit and in that moment few received it because few (the Madonna, Saint John, and Saint Mary Magdalene) remained at the foot of the Cross. Then, on the day of his Resurrection, on Sunday, when He entered the Upper Room behind closed doors, he gave it to the twelve: «Receive the Holy Spirit». Then again he gave it to the Church on the day of Pentecost: «It will spread overall,» said St. Peter. It is a continuous growth of this gift that today has also been made for us and that makes us «Temple of the Trinity».
3) The near God.
The liturgy of today’s Mass reminds us that God is not an impersonal God, cold and far from us. Indeed, he «is good and compassionate, slow to anger and great in love» (Psalm 102 [103], 8), «rich in mercy, grace and fidelity» (Eph 4: 2 and Ex 34, 6). The Lord does not despise the dust of which we are molded and satisfies us with mercy and forgiveness. We affirm with great joy: Blessed be God, the Father and his only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit because God is the Father, who loved us so much as to offer us his Son and to grant us his Spirit so that we can recognize God as infinite love.
Nothing is more true, life-giving and comforting to us than the presence of the Holy Trinity in our lives. Nothing, in fact, can exist or act or become perfect without the three divine Persons, without God, so much so that Saint Paul does not hesitate to affirm that «in him, in fact, we live, we live and we are» (Acts 17, 28).
God is near and we think far away. It is in reality and in events and we seek it in dreams and impossible utopias.
The real secret to entering into a relationship with God is littleness, simplicity of heart, poverty of spirit: all things that are frustrated in us by pride, wealth and cunning. Jesus had said it: «If you are not like children … you will not enter my Kingdom» (see Mt 18: 3): that is, «you will not be close to me» and you certainly did not want to joke or make fun of us. Seeing or not seeing God depends on our eye: if it is a simple and pure eye It sees it if it is a malign and impure eye it does not see It. Then, if we sometimes forget Him by distraction or superficiality, we think of pain or mystery to remind us of its presence. Of course, the mystery continued to surround us, but it is a mystery of love. Like our mother’s womb, which contained and generated us to life.
What is more true and simpler than the womb of a mother-woman who contains a child? How to grasp the mystery of Who loves us?
The simplest way is to be simple, intelligent and wise as children. In them, in children, there is a basic intuition given by God himself. But being small is not enough, we must also be poor. Be careful, however, because being small in the Gospel does not mean being whining and immature. And being poor doesn’t mean having worn clothes, worn shoes, and ugly houses. Piccolo – in a Christian way – is someone who does not put his security in what he is or has, but totally trusts in the paternity of God. Poor is someone who does not turn the things he possesses into idols and feels deeply nothing will be able to satisfy him except God the Love.
4) The Trinity: a mystery that reveals us God and that reveals who we are.
With regard to the Trinity, the most important thing is not to speculate on the mystery, but to remain in the faith of the Church which is the «ship» that leads to the Trinity.
We are led to a God who «Lover (Father), Beloved (Son) and Love (Holy Spirit)» (Saint Augustine), who is love and dialogue, not only because he loves us and converses, but because in himself is a dialogue of love. But this not only renews our conception of God, but also the truth of ourselves. If the Bible repeats that we must live in love, in dialogue, and in communion, it is because it knows that we are all «images of God». To meet God, to experience God, to speak of God, to give glory to God, all this means – for a Christian who knows that God is Father, Son, and Spirit – to live in a constant dimension of love, dialogue, and gift. The Trinity is a truly luminous mystery: revealing God to us, it has revealed who we are.
In the understanding of this revelation, there are of particular help and example the consecrated virgins. With the practice of the evangelical counsels of chastity obedience and poverty these women who have given themselves completely to God live with particular intensity the Trinitarian character, which marks the whole Christian life. The chastity of virgins, as a manifestation of dedication to God with an undivided heart (see 1 Cor 7: 32-34), is a reflection of the infinite love that binds the three divine Persons in the mysterious depth of Trinitarian life. Poverty lived on the example of Christ who «became rich as he was, became poor» (2 Cor 8: 9), becomes an expression of the total gift of self that the three divine Persons make to each other. Obedience, practiced in imitation of Christ, whose food was to do the will of the Father (see Jn 4:34), manifests the liberating beauty of a filial and non-servile dependence, full of a sense of responsibility and animated by mutual trust, which is reflected in the story of the loving correspondence of the three divine Persons. (John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata, n. 21)

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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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