Saturday, March 12, 2011

Following the Trinity

Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one.   - The Athanasius Creed

The Trinity has been the focus of my studies recently in class and in life. But I realized today that my journey with the Trinity began several years ago when I was walking down a country road in Costa Rica. It was on that road that I suddenly realized that a personal God existed and that my life needed to change.

Before my conversion, I believed in something akin to God. I was quasi-spiritual, investigating all sorts of different religions, but meanwhile making a wide ring around Christianity. I had absorbed a common secular view that most Christians are ignorant, uneducated sheep and I refused to associate myself with the religion.

I wanted to be “spiritual” but I did not want anything to do with Jesus, I had heard His name too much. I was full of arrogance and sought spiritual novelty, (a common disease among the prideful).

When I believed that God was an It, spirituality merely took a periphery place in my life. After all, why is it important to pursue God if He is not pursuing you? But the moment I realized that God had a personality, He loved me, wanted me to know Him and had a plan for my life, that was the moment my life changed.

The moment God revealed Himself to me as a personal God; I began to know the person of the Trinity who is called the Father. I knew that God cared for me, protected me and looked after me. I knew that God is not male in the same sense that my earthly father is male but I did know instinctively that “He” was the proper pronoun to call God, when a pronoun is needed for this awe-inspiring being that transcends all categories.

I slowly began to get to know this Father. I stayed with the Father for a long time. Even after moving into the Catholic Church, I stayed with Him and did not think much about the other persons of the Trinity, including Jesus. I was in good company after all; this is where good Muslims and Jews and other non-Christian monotheists stay, with God the Father, who is the “source and origin of all divinity.”  

But God was not satisfied with this. He began to reveal Himself to me through the person of the Holy Spirit. I met the Holy Spirit most powerfully when I was confirmed a few years ago. By God’s grace, I actually felt the action of the Holy Spirit in my body at the moment of confirmation and described it later in a poem, part of which is below:

The oil drips down my forehead
I can feel the Spirit sinking into my soul,
I breath deeply
My pores widen
The Spirit, like the oil, sinks into my being
Making Himself a home
He finds the fire of my Baptism,
It is ablaze.

It was only later that I read this line in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer.” I love the word "permeates" to describe the presence of the Holy Spirit, this is exactly what I felt when I was confirmed.

God saved the best for last when He finally saw that I was open enough to learn more about His son Jesus. He did this through several things, the most important being Eucharistic Adoration. It is impossible to spend time in a quiet room with Jesus and not get to know Him.

He also reintroduced His Son through a movie that I knew from childhood but had not watching in years: Jesus of Nazareth, (best movie ever). One Lent I watched this entire movie and I finally was reunited with the man I was in love with as a child, this God-man who still magnetizes people 2,000 years after his death and resurrection.  I entered into the magnetism that is the person of Jesus Christ and I have never stepped out. 

Only God could charm the world like Jesus has. Only God could save us from death. I knew instinctively that all of these persons I had met within God, were all the same God. The God who called me out of darkness, the God who knit me in my mother's womb, the God who died to save me.

This Lent, let us enter into the mystery of the Trinity. 

The Father who gave His son Jesus to die for us. Jesus, whose very name is a prayer, the God-man who came to save us from our sins and reunite us with His Father. The Holy Spirit who permeates our being, if we allow Him, teaching us how to pray.

We deserved eternal death for our sins but God took our place. God allowed nails to be driven through His hands and feet, a crown of thorns to be placed on His head, because He knows and loves each and every one of you. Enter into this mystery that is God, Creator of the universe, dying on a cross. Let us allow this mystery, the forgiveness of our sins, wash over us and fill us with gratitude this Lenten season.

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