Trinity: the God of the Living Flower, Not of the Dead Thoughts

Solemnity of the Trinity – Year A – June 11, 2017

Light of candles into a church - Foto-Rabe


Roman Rite

Ex 34.4-6.8-9; Dn 3.52-56; 2 Cor 13: 11-13; Jn. 3: 16-18

Ambrosian Rite

Ex 3,1-15; Ps 67; Rm 8: 14-17;


1) “The Father is the Lover, the Son is the Beloved, the Holy Ghost is Love” (St. Augustine).

The Trinity dogma is not the result of poetic fantasies or of philosophical elucubrations. Nor it is a rational theological formulation that offers the pretext of saying that it is a mystery so detached from our lives that more than one Christian feels quietly authorized to ignore it. The Mystery of the Trinity is a great mystery which surpasses our minds but speaks deeply to our heart because it is, in its essence, nothing but the explication of the profound expression of Saint John: “God is love” (1 Jn 4: 8,16). If God is love, he cannot be loneliness in himself. In order to have a love affair, it must be at least two. To love only oneself is not love, it is selfishness. God Love is, at least, one who always loves and one who has always been loved and reciprocates love: an eternal Lover, an eternal Beloved and an eternal Love.

The Lover is God, the Father in love, infinitely free and generous in love, motivated to love by no other thing than love.

The eternal Beloved, is the one who always welcomes love: he is eternal gratitude, grace without beginning and end. He is the Son in love.

Love is the Holy Spirit, in whom Their love is always open to self-donation and to “go out of their being”. Therefore, the Spirit is said to be a gift of God, a living source of love, a fire that powers in us the ability to reciprocate Love with love.

This mystery of love is concrete and close to us more than we think, and we live it in practice when, above all in the most important or critical times where we most need God, we make the sign of the cross. By marking this holy sign, almost without being fully aware, we call upon the One and Triune God , saying, “In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. Not only do we invoke God Trinity to help us, but we praise with the prayer “Glory to the Father, and to the Son and the Holy Ghost … Amen”. St. Teresa of Calcutta often recited as follows: “Glory to the Father-Prayer and to the Son -Poverty, and the Holy Spirit- Zeal for souls. Amen-Mary. “

2) Liturgy of praise.

Therefore, today the Liturgy of the Church invites us to celebrate the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which is not an abstract dogma that does not affect our life. God One and Triune dogma teaches us that God is eternal and infinite love: “God is love” (1 Jn 4: 8,16), revealing to us that God, “is 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). We, made in the image and likeness of this God, are called to live this communion with God, in Him and for Him, and among us. Love, however, is truly self in the relationship with another that constitutes it. “In order to be charity, love must strive toward another” (St. Gregory the Great).

Today, the Church not only makes us contemplate the wonderful mystery from which we come from and to which we go, but also renews the invitation to live every day “the communion with God and among us on the pattern of divine communion. We are called to live not one without the others or against the others, but with and for each other “(Pope Francis).

Today, the Liturgy makes us celebrate the Feast of the Trinity as praise to God not only for what He does for us, but for how He is in Himself and for us. He is pure, infinite and eternal love. God is the Only Begotten Son, eternal Incarnate Wisdom, dead and risen for us. God is the Holy Spirit that moves everything, history and the world, to the full final recapitulation, so that all men can say with all their being “our Father”.

Today, in this Solemnity, on the one hand we are called to “contemplate, so to speak, the Heart of God, its profound reality that is to be unity in the Trinity, highest and deep communion of love and life” ( Benedict XVI). On the other hand, we are invited to pray that the One and Triune God may uphold our faith, “inspire feelings of peace of hope, and give us the grace to engage in our daily events” (Pope Francis), making us a source of communion and consolation, of mercy and of forgiveness, of grace and of compassion.

This implies taking seriously the invitation that Christ still renews today welcoming and witnessing the Gospel of love: to live the love of God and toward the neighbor, sharing joys and suffering, and learning to seek and grant forgiveness.

We have been asked to build the Church so that it is increasingly “a people assembled by the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost”. This beautiful definition of St. Cyprian (De Orat.Dom.23; see LG 4) introduces us into the mystery of the Church, made a community of salvation by the presence of God Trinity. Like the ancient people of God, it is guided in its new Exodus by the column of clouds during the day and by the column of fire at night, symbols of the constant divine presence.

3) The Trinity in our Life.

The entire Christian life is accompanied by the Trinity. I would say more, and I hope to say it well,: the Trinity is the “fabric” of our life. In fact, we are baptized (= immersed) in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and “we are called to participate in the life of the Blessed Trinity, here in the darkness of faith, and beyond death in the eternal light” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 263).

Not only Baptism, but all the other Sacraments of the Church are conferred with the sign of the Cross and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In fact, we have been confirmed with the anointing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

In the Sacrament of Penance, we are forgiven for our sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Again, in this name the bride and groom are united in marriage and their love is lifted up to that of God, who is the guarantor of their mutual loyalty.

In the Eucharist, the Triune God, who in itself is love (see 1 Jn 4: 7-8), is fully involved with our human condition. In the bread and in the consecrated wine is the whole divine life that reaches us and participates in us in the form of the Sacrament.

In the priestly ordination, the new priests are consecrated in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thanks to this, the priest is placed in the Trinitarian dynamics with a special responsibility. His identity stems from the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments that is in essential relation to the mystery of the saving love of the Father (see Jn 17,6-9,24, 1Cor 1,1, 2Cor 1,1), along with the priesthood of Christ, who chooses and calls his own minister to be with Him (see Mk 3:15), and with the gift of the Spirit (see Jn 20:21) “(Congregation for the Clergy, Directorate for the Ministry And the Life of the Priests, February 11, 2013).

In illness and in the last hour, when the priest will anoint us, he will recommend the soul in the name of the Father who created us, of the Son who has redeemed us, and of the Holy Spirit who has sanctified us.

In this way, all of our Christian existence is under the irradiation of the Trinity, who lives in us in a state of grace: “We will come to him – Jesus promised us – to make our home in Him.”

If being the dwelling place of God, the living home of the Trinity, is the vocation of every Christian, it is especially true for the consecrated Virgins.

With the total gift of themselves in the hands of the bishop, these women testify in a special way to the Trinitarian dimension of the Christian life.

In fact, virginity is somehow the deification of man: “There can be no better praise of virginity unless we show that it deifies, so to speak, those who participate in its pure mysteries, to the point of making them communicate with the glory Of God, the only truly holy and immaculate, admitting them in his own familiarity through purity and incorruptibility “(St Gregory of Nyssa, De Virginitate, 1, 1-2, 256 s.)

  Virginity therefore originates from the Trinity and lives in the Trinity, bound as it is to the generation of the Son by the Father, 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, that is, 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 deity that was in Christ shone in her. Jesus no longer comes with his physical presence, but lives spiritually in us, and with us brings us the Father “( St Gregory of Nyssa, De Virginitate, 2).

It is clear that this ideal of life characterized by spiritual virginity is proposed to all Christians, even the married ones, as a requirement of perfection. St. Gregory and the other Fathers see clearly that those who choose, always by God’s gift, also corporal virginity, abstaining from marriage, and imitating Jesus and Mary, find the original integrity in which man was created or, as he says, the condition of “the first man in his first life” (St Gregory of Nyssa, De Virginitate, 12, 4. 4; 416 s).

Patristic Reading

Saint Hilary of Poitiers (315 – 367)

on Trinity, 87

For my part, so long as I shall have the power by means of this Spirit Whom Thou hast granted me, Holy Father, Almighty God, I will confess Thee to be not only eternally God, but also eternally Father. Nor will I ever break out into such folly and impiety, as to make myself the judge of Thy omnipotence and Thy mysteries, nor shall this weak understanding arrogantly seek for more than that devout belief in Thy infinitude and faith in Thy eternity, which have been taught me. I will not assert that Thou wast ever without Thy Wisdom, and Thy Power, and Thy Word, without God Only-begotten, my Lord Jesus Christ. The weak and imperfect language, to which our nature is limited, does not dominate my thoughts concerning Thee, so that my poverty of utterance should choke faith into silence. For although we have a word and wisdom and power of our own, the product of our free inward activity, yet Thine is the absolute generation of perfect God, Who is Thy Word and Wisdom and Power; so that He can never be separated from Thee, Who in these names of Thy eternal properties is shewn to be born of Thee. Yet His birth is only so far shewn as to make manifest the fact that Thou art the Source of His being; yet sufficiently to confirm our belief in His infinity, inasmuch as it is related that He was born before times eternal.

For in human affairs Thou hast set before us many things of such a sort, that though we do not know their cause, yet the effect is not unknown; and reverence inculcates faith, where ignorance is inherent in our nature. Thus when I raised to Thy heaven these feeble eyes of mine, my certainty regarding it was limited to the fact that it is Thine. For seeing therein these orbits where the stars are fixed, and their annual revolutions, and the Pleiades and the Great Bear and the Morning Star, each having their varied duties in the service which is appointed them, I recognise Thy presence, O God, in these things whereof I cannot gain any clear understanding. And when I view the marvellous swellings of Thy sea, I know that I have failed to comprehend not merely the origin of the waters but even the movements of this changeful expanse; yet I grasp at faith in some reasonable cause, although it is one that I cannot see, and fail not to recognise Thee in these things also, which I do not know. Furthermore, when in thought I turn to the earth, which by the power of hidden agencies causes to decay all the seeds which it receives, quickens them when decayed, multiplies them when quickened, and makes them strong when multiplied; in all these changes I find nothing which my mind can understand, yet my ignorance helps towards recognising Thee, for though I know nothing of the nature that waits on me, I recognise Thee by actual experience of the advantages I possess. Moreover, though I do not know myself, yet I perceive so much that I marvel at Thee the more because I am ignorant of myself. For without understanding it, I perceive a certain motion or order or life in my mind when it exercises its powers; and this very perception I owe to Thee, for though Thou deniest the power of understanding my natural first beginning, yet Thou givest that of perceiving nature with its charms. And since in what concerns myself I recognise Thee, ignorant as I am, so recognising Thee I will not in what concerns Thee cherish a feebler faith in Thy omnipotence, because I do not understand. My thoughts shall not attempt to grasp and master the origin of Thy Only-begotten Son, nor shall my faculties strain to reach beyond the truth that He is my Creator and my God.

His birth is before times eternal. If anything exist which precedes eternity, it will be something which, when eternity is comprehended, still eludes comprehension. And this something is Thine, and is Thy Only-begotten; no portion, nor extension, nor any empty name devised to suit some theory of Thy mode of action. He is the Son, a Son born of Thee, God the Father, Himself true God, begotten by Thee in the unity of Thy nature, and meet to be acknowledged after Thee, and yet with Thee, since Thou art the eternal Author of His eternal origin. For since He is from Thee, He is second to Thee; yet since He is Thine, Thou art not to be separated from Him. For we must never assert that Thou didst once exist without Thy Son, test we should be reproaching Thee either with imperfection, as then unable to generate, or with superfluousness after the generation. And so the exact meaning for us of the eternal generation is that we know Thee to be the eternal Father of Thy Only-begotten Son, Who was born of Thee before times eternal.

 But, for my part, I cannot be content by the service of my faith and voice, to deny that my Lord and my God, Thy Only-begotten, Jesus Christ, is a creature; I must also deny that this name of ‘creature’ belongs to Thy Holy Spirit, seeing that He proceeds from Thee and is sent through Him, so great is my reverence for everything that is Thine. Nor, because I know that Thou alone art unborn and that the Only-begotten is born of Thee, will I refuse to say that the Holy Spirit was begotten, or assert that He was ever created. I fear the blasphemies which would be insinuated against Thee by such use of this title ‘creature,’ which I share with the other beings brought into being by Thee. Thy Holy Spirit, as the Apostle says, searches and knows Thy deep things, and as Intercessor for me speaks to Thee words I could not utter; and shall I express or rather dishonour, by the title ‘creature,’ the power of His nature, which subsists eternally, derived from Thee through Thine Only-begotten? Nothing, except want belongs to Thee, penetrates into Thee; nor can the agency of a power foreign and strange to Thee measure the depth of Thy boundless majesty. To Thee belongs whatever enters into Thee; nor is anything strange to Thee, which dwells in Thee through its searching power.

56. But I cannot describe Him, Whose pleas for me I cannot describe. As in the revelation that Thy Only-begotten was born of Thee before times eternal, when we cease to struggle with ambiguities of language and difficulties of thought, the one certainty of His birth remains; so I hold fast in my consciousness the truth that Thy Holy Spirit is from Thee and through Him, although I cannot by my intellect comprehend it. For in Thy spiritual things I am dull, as Thy Only-begotten says, Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be barn anew. The Spirit breathes where it will, and thou hearest the voice of it; but dost not know whence it comes or whither it goes. So is every one who is barn of water and of the Holy Spirit50 . Though I hold a belief in my regeneration, I hold it in ignorance; I possess the reality, though I comprehend it not. For my own consciousness had no part in causing this new birth, which is manifest in its effects. Moreover the Spirit has no limits; He speaks when He will, and what He will, and where He will. Since, then, the cause of His coming and going is unknown, though the watcher is conscious of the fact, shall I count the nature of the Spirit among created things, and limit Him by fixing the time of His origin? Thy servant Jn says, indeed, that all things were made through the Son51 , Who as God the Word was in the beginning, O God, with Thee. Again, Paul recounts all things as created in Him, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible52 . And, while he declared that everything was created in Christ and through Christ, he thought, with respect to the Holy Spirit, that the description was sufficient, when he called Him Thy Spirit. With these men, peculiarly Thine elect, I will think in these matters; just as, after their example, I will say nothing beyond my comprehension about Thy Only-begotten, but simply declare that He was born, so also after their example I will not trespass beyond that which human intellect can know about Thy Holy Spirit, but simply declare that He is Thy Spirit. May my lot be no useless strife of words, but the unwavering confession of an unhesitating faith!

Keep, I pray Thee, this my pious faith undefiled, and even till my spirit departs, grant that this may be the utterance of my convictions: so that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let me, in short, adore Thee our Father, and Thy Son together with Thee; let me win the favour of Thy Holy Spirit, Who is from Thee, through Thy Only-begotten. For I have a convincing Witness to my faith, Who says, Father, all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine53 , even my Lord Jesus Christ, abiding in Thee, and from Thee, and with Thee, for ever God: Who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen).

With the invitation to become aware that we are house of the Trinity: mystery of freedom and reciprocal love.


Don Franco



1 Pr 8,22,

2 Rm 1,23,

3 Gn 14,19,

4 Os 13,4,

5 1P 4,19,

6 Ibid.

Jn 5,23.

Ps 109,3,

Os 13,4, according to LXX.

10 Ps 34,15,

11 (Ac 13,22 cf. Ps 89,20

12 1Jn 5,1.

13 Jn 1,3.

14 Ps 102,25,

15 Ib. Ps 138,8.

16 Is 1,2,

17 Ex 4,22,

18 Mt 17,5.

19 Ps 21,32,

20 Col 2,8-9.

21 2Co 10,4-5.

22 i.e. not yet born.

23 Ex 3,14,

24 Jn 1,1 Jn 9,18.

25 Rm 9,5,

26 2Tm 1,9 Tt 1,2,

27 Reading humanae.

28 Reading non solum.

29 Reading generationis.

30 Tt 1,2,

31 Gn 1,14,

32 Ps 71,17 (in LXX).

33 Ib. Ps 71,5 (LXX)..

34 Pr 8,22,

35 Ib. Pr 24,25 (LXX)

36 LXX).

37 Ps 32,6 (LXX)..

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