Reflection on John 16:12-15 TRINITY SUNDAY – 16th June 2019
I remember as a primary school student (many years ago now) being shown a clover leaf and being told it was a good image for the Trinity. I have read many books that try and explain the Trinity which is enough to do your head in at times. I remember hearing James Finley (spiritual author and retreat leader and works with Richard Rohr) tell this funny but poignant story about what we have done to theology and our understanding of God. It goes something like this: Jesus was studying Christology at Uni. He comes home to his Father after a long day and the Father asks him: Well, son, how did you go at University today? Jesus looks a bit worried and uneasy, and replies: To be truthful Father, it looks like I might fail Christology!!!
Stupid, I know, but very telling in that we have so complicated the Theology of the Trinity, and other areas of Mystery that it has almost lost its profound meaning. We seem to think we must come up with answers to the most mysterious questions. Another problem with much of our trying to explain Trinity and other Mysteries, is that it was developed so often with the notion of God being separate from us. Even our language today, suggests separation so often. A simple example to ponder. I saw in Cath News yesterday this heading; ‘ISIS Captive Survived ‘because you all prayed for me.’’ If we reflect upon this statement it can mean that because our prayers ‘reached’ God, then God spared this captive. It implies a God operating ‘outside’ of us. And then how do we explain all those people who have earnestly prayed and it seems their ‘prayer’ never ‘reached’ this God, or God didn’t listen, because there was no answer? It is a highly problematic understanding of God and of prayer.
I have heard it said that in that beautiful icon of the Trinity by Rublev, that the gap in the front is the invitation for us to enter into this relationship of Love – to join them at the table. Again, a problem arises, because understanding the Trinity this way again implies we are separated in some way when, in Truth, we are ALREADY IMMERSED IN THIS RELATIONSHIP by our very existence. The tragedy is, we don’t know it. The invitation is to wake up to the fact that we ARE already there.
In the Opening Prayer for Mass this Trinity Sunday it says: ‘Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.’ Again, God is ‘sending’ to us – implying God is outside of us – distant somehow from us. The ‘Word’ and the ‘Truth’ have been with us from the very beginning of time, as I have repeatedly said over recent weeks. Jesus manifested for us what was already Present, and the Spirit that has continuously breathed life into EVERYTHING from the Beginning. God is not OUTSIDE OF US - GOD IS WITH US, IN US AND THROUGH US.
‘The Christ, still has many things to say to you (us), but they would be too much for you now. But when you can receive this Spirit of truth, (which has always been present) your eyes and Hearts will be opened and will lead you to the complete truth, that has been unfolding since the beginning of time, and this Spirit will reveal to you the things to come – the continued unfolding of Love….’ As the text goes on, the word that brings ALL this together is ‘WHOLENESS’. Everything is part of everything else. We must STOP this seemingly unconscious belief of separation, whereby God is out there somewhere and we are ‘down’ here, trying to do the ‘right thing’ so that we can THEN join this Mystery. WE ARE IN IT RIGHT NOW.
The implications of this ‘unfolding WHOLENESS’ are enormous. EVERYTHING BELONGS TO THIS WHOLENESS. Every religion, every non-religion, every person, every thing – NO EXCLUSIONS – never has been and never will be. How threatened we can be by this. We want to believe WE are RIGHT, and you are wrong – we have the Truth and you don’t, our cult is right and yours is not…. and so it goes on. We want to divide and separate – this is the nature of our manufactured self, but it is NOT the nature of Love.
Until we begin to recognise these profound truths, or until they DISTURB US, we CANNOT receive what we already have. As long as our own psyche continues to divide and separate in any area of our lives, and we rigidly hang onto our flawed beliefs, how can we possibly receive this truth the Christ speaks of? When we TASTE our flawed belief systems, then it is through these CRACKS where the Spirit’s Creative Energy is awakened or freed from within our hibernation, and so begins the process of opening into what was ONCE TOO MUCH FOR US.
To move beyond any rigidity in whatever practice or belief that imprisons us in any way and excludes us from the WHOLENESS WE ARE, is the beginning of our ongoing awakening. The Mystics through history to this current time know of their/our absorption into this WHOLENESS - they KNOW through PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, the Creator Spirit, the Created Spirit and the Creating Spirit ALIVE EVERYWHERE. They also know that this Creator/Created/Creating Spirit is part of our DNA and is within everyone and everything. Daniel O’Leary says it so clearly in ‘An Astonishing Secret’: ‘The whole Creation is, in a sense, resurrection from the beginning. Evolution as God’s creative act is the active self-transcendence toward new life.’ Page 236
This Earth and everything in it, is our home. And as O’Leary says with such a truly magnificent image: It is the nursery of divinity. Page 238 And this is where we live our lives – ‘WAKE UP MY PEOPLE… ‘