A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Prayers of the People: Beyond Two Men and a Bird ~ Trinity Sunday, 1st Sunday after Pentecost '20 Yr A

For Sunday, June 7, 2020,  Year A Readings: Genesis 1;1-2:4a; Canticle 13, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20

        In the beginning...God created the heavens and the earth...God said, "Let there be light...called the dry land Earth and the waters seas...Let the Earth put forth vegetation...and living creatures of every kind...Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness" and God saw everything that he had made, and...it was very good. [Genesis 1:1]

                 Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise you and highly exalt you forever. [Canticle 13]

            The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. [2 Corinthians 13:13]

           Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them...And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." [Matthew 28:16-20]

               How do you think about the Trinity? Many of us revert to how we were raised to “see” and wonder about this enduring mystery. We often envision the Trinity as two men and a bird within a triangle. Let us now begin to think outside the triangle.  
        The imagery of the Holy Trinity is as varied as it is old and intends to help us, and the many who came before us, attempt to articulate that for which there are no adequate words. Perhaps Michelangelo used the Face of God as an old man, painted on the Sistine Chapel, metaphorically to suggest timelessness, as God is from beyond time and impossible for human comprehension. Jesus was human as well as Divine so that is easier to grasp, except he is often depicted as lighter-haired, blue-eyed European rather than the middle-eastern Jewish man he was. The Holy Spirit as the Dove of Peace and also Tongues of Fire isn’t always clear. Perhaps St. Patrick really did use a shamrock to explain how three are all in one. We do need something to help us somehow. Who of us doesn’t have a photo of someone we hold dear or even as I do, of great-grandparents I never knew. It is somehow a comfort to me to know what they looked like. But then, IF we can understand what God looks like, we aren’t understanding God at all, not even a little.
            A mystery, if explained, is no longer a mystery. There is no specific Scriptural reference to the Trinity. The Jews knew God as the Wisdom, the Power, and the Glory and tried to wrestle with an idea to make God analogous to humans. It was through Jesus that the Apostles came to know God as their personal “Father” then made manifest in the Jesus they knew and came to understand as God’s Son. The Holy Spirit fell upon them with the Gifts that gave them and us all, the Great Commission in this Gospel – to go forth and make disciples of all nations…
          The mystery of the Trinity is nothing if not confounding and controversial. One God/Three Persons ~ separate yet one, equal with different roles that are ultimately the same, belief in one is meant to be belief in all and the One that is the same but different. Got that? That’s probably why we have Trinitarians, Unitarians, and No-tarians.
        Franciscan theologian Richard Rohr tells us that early in its existence "...the Western Church overemphasized the individual names Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but not so much the quality of the relationships between them, which is where all the power and meaning lies!" And further, "The real and essential point is how the three ‘persons’ relate to one another ~ infinite outpouring and infinite receiving..."
        Rohr tells us that "...Niels Bohr, [a Danish physicist who was a major contributor to quantum physics and nuclear fission] said the universe is 'not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...' The doctrine of the Trinity is saying the same thing: God is not only stranger than we think, but stranger than we can think...Perhaps much of the weakness of the first 2,000 years of reflection on most of our doctrines and dogmas is that we've tried to understand them with a logical or rational mind instead of through love, prayer, and participation itself..." Perhaps we are called, as one mystic suggested, to be almost a fourth person in the flow of God...[to read the piece in its entirety, click the link: Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, The Trinity]
        If rational knowing all that God is becomes the substance and goal of our faith, aren't we merely reducing God to our level and then dismissing all that God is? Otherwise, how does one claim to have faith[see John 20:24-29, Doubting Thomas] 
      One of my favorite ways to attempt a kind of explanation/understanding is through a piece of a 6th century creed from Dublin known as Tírechán’s Creed ~ when speaking of God it says:

He has a Son who is co-eternal with himself;
   and similar in all respects to himself;
   and neither is the Son younger than the Father,
   nor is the Father older than the Son;
   and the Holy Spirit breathes in them.
And the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

       If we think outside the Triangle that was developed to try to contain and explain, perhaps we can arrive at the beginning where all things are possible with, in, and through God. So, now that the mystery of the Trinity is solved, any questions? Well, at least we have looked beyond two men and a bird image!


Leader:  ~ Divine and Holy Trinity, from You is every form of the Creation and its Life, including the redemption of our sins and the fire of Pentecost within us. Even with all You’ve given, we beg You yet again, to urge our souls to discard the obstacles of our own making, that prevent us from fully dedicating our lives to You.

RESPONSE:                    We must praise you and highly exalt you forever

~ Divine and Holy Trinity, quicken our fervor with the intellect, love, and courage You have instilled in us, to exhort the political leaders in this Nation, on this Planet, and in our Community, to immediately turn to principled governing with integrity, mercy, justice, and in peace. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       We must praise you and highly exalt you forever

~ Divine and Holy Trinity, infuse an extra measure of the grace of hope upon all who are ill in mind, body, or spirit, along with strength and perseverance for those who give them continuing care. We now join our hearts together to pray for those in need… add your own petitions

                                                       We must praise you and highly exalt you forever
~ Divine and Holy Trinity, in our earthly grief, we cling to the knowing that You carry those who have left our realm, into the warmth of holy comfort and the peace of Your life everlasting. We pray especially for…add your own petitions

                                                       We must praise you and highly exalt you forever

~ Divine and Holy Trinity, we pause in this moment to offer You our other thanksgivings, intercessions, petitions, and memorials… add your own petitions

                                                       We must praise you and highly exalt you forever
~ Divine and Holy Trinity, bestow peace of heart, strength of mind, and courage of conviction, on all You have called and anointed, as guides for our souls in this life. We pray especially for: add your own petitions
                                                       We must praise you and highly exalt you forever
The Celebrant adds: Eternal Whole, All Who are One, we are each endowed with Your essence to accompany us in all that we pray, think, and do. Enhance and enrich the desire of our souls to seek our ultimate fulfillment in humble service to Your call. We beseech You as our Holy Creator, our Messiah Christ, and our Sacred Spirit, Who together are One God, forever and ever.  Amen. 

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