Sunday, June 7, 2009
Trinity Sunday: A Communion of Love
Just got back from the weekend in Canberra, the capital of Australia, where Dan White, a tertian from the Missouri Province and I enjoyed the hospitality of the Jesuit Community there and spent a few days exploring the museums. I forget how nice it is to take a weekend away every once in a while... (I know, these eight months here in Australia aren't exactly heavy lifting).
Today as the Catholic Church celebrates Trinity Sunday, I am reminded of the great mystery we contemplate in the triune nature of God. Karl Rahner S.J., perhaps the most important Catholic theologian of the 20th Century reputedly said that if we try to make the mystery of the Trinity too clear and concrete, we commit heresy, and if we make the mystery so unintelligible and remote, this is a heresy too. So what can we say?
I am very moved by the depiction of the Trinity by the Russian icon painter, Andrei Rubliev, which portrays the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the three angels who come to Abraham and his wife Sarah, announcing that they will have a son in their old age and become the progenitors of a new people (see the Book of Genesis). In the way they are depicted, the angels leave a space at the table and seem to be inviting the person contemplating the icon to join them. I have the sense that there is a profound insight in the artist's depiction... that the loving communion-community of the Trinity is not exclusive, but radically inclusive, and that each of us are invited to participate in that community through our own life of love/love of life. In fact, I believe that when we express love in and through our relationships, commitments, creativity, and service, it is the living and dynamic energy of God that is being manifest in us.
The Greek Orthodox tradition describes the relationship between the three Divine persons as the perichoresis, the dance, and suggests that as we are drawn into closer communion with God through contemplation, worship, and loving action, we join the dance as well. I hope that each of us in our own way experience the joy of this dance!