Be Lost in Wonder

Be Lost in Wonder

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (C)  |  Fr Robert Ombres leads us to consider the wonder and mystery of God.

The Holy Trinity is difficult to understand, and that is how it should be. The phenomenal increase in scientific knowledge has perhaps made us over-confident about that sort of knowledge in other areas of our lives. Wisdom, not just knowledge, has always combined reason and calculation with other paths to knowing who we are and how we are to live and love. Today’s marvellous first reading from the book of Proverbs gives us a good starting point. The Wisdom of God cries aloud:

‘I was by his side, a master craftsman,

delighting him day after day,

ever at play in his presence,

at play everywhere in the world,

delighting to be with the sons of men’.

Today’s solemnity is chiefly a celebration of the wonder of God, and of our delight in having revealed to us some of the depths involved in the life of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and our share in that divine life. Don’t neglect the notes of celebration, wonder and delight.
Yet as we celebrate the Holy Trinity, possibly our first reactions are along what might be called scientific or mathematical lines. Remember those analogies with three dimensions of one object or three ways of acting of a single subject? Well, let’s begin less inadequately and more wisely from somewhere else: with persons and with love. In a spirit of wonder.

First we need to accept both the strengths and the limits of reason, especially in a fallen world. We need to be raised by God to have revealed to us certain truths about God. A mystery is revealed, partially but reliably. People sometimes say that our Christian faith is a leap in the dark, a letting go of rational knowledge and venturing into darkness.

But mystery in our faith does not mean we are faced with the kind of puzzle that faces a scientist because of lack of evidence at present. A better start in considering mystery in a Christian sense is to stop thinking that we cannot see because we have leapt into the dark. We cannot see the entire depth of mystery not because it is dark, but because there is too much light for our weak eyes. Faith is having our eyes strengthened and opened further by God about his life as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and our sharing in the life of the Holy Trinity. A life of persons in love.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity, then, is a mystery of those three persons in love, and graciously and marvellously choosing to share their love with us. If we celebrate the Holy Trinity using only our natural knowledge we have ignored the mystery, we will stay in the shallows. Each and every human person is a mystery, let alone the persons of the Holy Trinity. There is a depth to that relationship between persons that we call love, let alone divine love.

Instead of starting with a kind of mathematical puzzle, let’s start with personal relationships. Start with the mystery which is every person, and the depth involved in love. Deep calls upon deep when the immense and unfathomable God reveals to us human persons how we have been related in love to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus in today’s gospel says to his disciples:

‘I still have many things to say to you

but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes

he will lead you to the complete truth’.

The Holy Spirit has come, and is constantly leading us into the complete truth. We are accompanied from within to the marvellous extent that it is given to us to plumb the depths of the complete truth about God and about ourselves. We could say that really the whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – reveals himself to us. We have never been abandoned by God even when we were lost.

This adventure is as much about love as it is about knowledge. It will not end at death, but will persist in life eternal. We are not alone in the dark, we are in a relationship of communion and bathed in light.

Still feeling lost? Then be lost in wonder.

Readings: Prov 8:22-31   |   Rm 5:1-5   |   Jn 16:12-15

Photograph by Fr Lawrence Lew OP of a stained glass window in Santo Domingo church, Mexico City. 

fr. Robert Ombres, former Procurator General of the Order of Preachers, lives and teaches at Blackfriars, Oxford and at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.