"The Great Mystery"
By: Rev. Dr. Jack R. Miller
At a confirmation service, the elderly archbishop asked the children for a definition of the Holy Trinity. One little girl answered in a very soft voice, “The Holy Trinity is three Persons in one God.” The old archbishop, who was almost deaf, replied, “I didn't understand what you said.” The little girl reached out and touched the archbishop’s hand and said, “You’re not supposed to understand. The Trinity is a mystery."
Scholars have struggled to understand the mystery of the Trinity for centuries, and the debate continues today. And yet we invoke this marvelous mystery each time we open and close our Eucharistic celebration. Through our baptism and confirmation, in blessings and prayers, our lives are touched by these simple words and solemn gestures of faith: “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the HolySpirit.” Even in death, we are sent on our final journey by the sign and gentle words of this mysterious gift we know as the Trinity.
"With the Sign of the Cross," author and theologian David Walker wrote, "we trace the Trinity on ourselves. We bring God into our minds first. Then we bring the Trinity down to our hearts. And, with our hearts filled with compassion, we move the Trinity across our bodies to our shoulders and arms to better bear the burdens of our family and friends."
As the Easter Season ends and Ordinary Time resumes, we observe two “solemnities of the Lord” on the next two Sundays. The first of these, The Most Holy Trinity, focuses on the essence of our faith: the loving providence of God the Father, the Creator of all things, the selfless servanthood of God the Son, our Redeemer who emptied himself to become like us in order that we might become like him; and the joyful love of God the Spirit, who sustains us and brings unity to the Father and Son and to all creation.
In Native American theology, the Creator has many names. Perhaps the most descriptive and my personal favorite is “The Great Mystery.” The triune nature of God, the Creator of all things, is a great mystery. But as Albert Einstein once said, "The most wondrous thing in the world is the mysterious."
Personally, I think the Trinity is more than a concept to be understood, it is an essence to be embraced each time we sign the cross. It is a promise fulfilled, a presence felt, a voice within, and the constant assurance that we are loved by a God who knows no limits, builds no walls, and is fully acquainted with what it is like to be a human being living in this world. A God who accepts each one of us for who we are.
Today's feast of the Trinity invites us to re-discover the many ways in which the love of God is revealed in our lives. We witness that love in the life God breathes into our souls, in every wonderful work of creation formed by the hand of God, and in the love of God dwelling among us in the joy we share with family and friends.
The reality is that the idea of God as a triune being lies beyond the grasp of our time-bound and earth-bound human understanding. The Trinity will always be a mystery, but signs of that mystery fill our lives and our homes, and our hearts. In realizing such joy, such wonder, may our questions about God's three-fold nature be transformed into an awareness of God's unconditional love, a spirit of gratitude for the precious gift of life we have received through God's mysterious and boundless love for all humankind.
Today we celebrate The Most Holy Trinity, that triune nature of three divine beings, the three Persons in one God found in the little girl's answer to the elderly archbishop, three Persons equal in majesty and yet undivided in splendor, that most glorious mystery. So, let the celebration begin.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen!