The Mystery of Life, The Mystery of Love
Trinity Sunday. Fr Peter Clarke meditates on the Holy Trinity as a communion of overwhelming love.
The Blessed Trinity – the mystery of mysteries! Perhaps, with the help of a few lines taken from a 1910 operetta, we might come to a little understanding of what we shall be celebrating on Trinity Sunday.
‘Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee; Ah! I know at last the secret of it all;
For ’tis love, and love alone, the world is seeking;’
When it comes to speaking about God I’m lost for words. My limited, creaturely mind can’t come to terms with the infinite attributes of God. I’m equally tongue-tied when it comes to speaking about matters close to my heart.
I would like to think, but perhaps I’m presuming too much, that we all have within us a restlessness to discover just what is the ‘el dorado,’ the ‘sweet mystery’ of our lives. It would be a treasure, once found, that we would hold tightly in our grasp. Many a person would agree, ‘For ’tis love, and love alone, the world is seeking.’ Such a love would be the fullness of life, the richness of life. For us Christians, God is that love. God is that life. This, surely, is the thought of St. John in his First Letter, (Ch.4.):
‘My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love. This is the revelation of God’s love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him.’
Our own personal experience of love, of deep friendship, might give us the flicker of a glimmer of understanding of God who is love. In loving one another there is the delight, the beauty, of bonding together, of being there for each other. This is something enriching, satisfying – indeed, mutually life-giving!
So it is with God…three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Their life is a communion of love. As the Trinity reaches ‘outside itself’ towards our world, which it has created and now sustains, there is a divine collaboration between the Heavenly Father, ‘through our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, who lives and reigns with him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.’
The ‘sweet mystery of God,’… the mystery of all mysteries…is that there is only one God who is a Trinity of persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What this means, not one of us can understand, but we do know that in saying ‘Only one God’ we are not claiming that if we had more than one god the better it would be for us and merrier we would be.
And yet, as far as you and I are concerned, the sweetest of all mysteries is that the self-contained, self-sufficient, almighty Godhead with magnificent openness and generosity has created us human beings with one purpose, that, while living under his Lordship, we might be drawn into the divine love-circle and share its bliss, its fullness of being, its holiness.
It is surprising, absolutely extraordinary, that God who does not need our company actually wants us to enjoy his company…here and now, in our present earthly existence, for Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Remain in me, as I in you,’(Jn.15.17). As for eternity in heaven, Jesus said:
‘In my Father’s house there are many places to live in; otherwise I would have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you to myself, so that you may be with me where I am, (Jn.14).’
Jesus, the Son of God, has revealed to us the Blessed Trinity. As we allow ourselves to be drawn into the life, the love, of the Triune God we discover the mystery that is ourselves, and, indeed, the mystery of one another! It is the sweet mystery of life and of love. We have found this, or better, it is God’s supreme gift to us.