Thursday, June 16, 2011

(Don't) think about it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011
Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity—A

Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
2Corinthians 13:11-13
John 3:16-18

Richard Rohr, in his book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, recalls an amusing, yet enlightening, moment from his days as a child in school. Attempting to introduce the mystery of the Holy Trinity to Rohr and his befuddled classmates, their teacher, an Irish nun, held up a shamrock for them to gaze upon and said: “Don’t think about it!”

While some theologians and learned Christians may overanalyze the Trinity, the majority of us rarely ponder it at all. And yet, it is the central doctrine of our faith. It is why we make the sign of the cross so often. It is explicitly present in the liturgy, and implicitly present in Scripture. We confess one God, but one God in three divine and distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial. The one and only God is one, but not solitary.


As Rohr’s teacher would say, “Don’t think about it!”

It is a very slippery thing—like trying barehanded to grab fish swimming in a barrel. Once we think we’ve finally taken hold of it, somehow it slides out of our grasp. The difficulty lies in our Western either/or mentality that tends to view things through one of two lenses in order to classify and compartmentalize. We struggle with paradox, with mystery, with viewing things with a “third eye” that is comfortable with opposites held in tension with one another.

But the Trinity cannot be captured. The Trinity must capture you.

Rohr encourages his readers to think of God not as a noun (or proper noun, as it where), but as a verb. Rather than attempting to “solve” the mystery of the Trinity (or avoiding the issue altogether), we simply need to be “captured” by the exchange of Love (as a verb) shared among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—to be an integral part of this divine relationship. We are invited to become what we contemplate!

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

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