And the Church says, Amen!
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
Today’s feast of the Blessed Trinity is both a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge to deepen our understanding and experience of God as a Trinity of Persons. An opportunity not simply to know more about God but to know God more deeply, more personally; to know God as a loving parent , Father and Mother, to know Jesus as Son and Brother, and to know their Holy Spirit of truth and love.
For the Celtic people of Ireland, Saint Patrick compared the mystery of the Trinity to a shamrock with its three individual leaves on one stem. A simple comparison but it worked – judging from the staying power of the shamrock on the consciousness and symbolism of the Irish people. For people of our time, Saint Patrick might draw on our complex scientific theories that speak of reality’s multiple dimensions. But even the scientific comparisons, we wouldn’t understand the mystery of God’s inner nature any more than the Celtic people who stared in amazement at a shamrock in faith and began to see more than just a shamrock.
Our Christian faith has always recognized that it’s one thing to know about God and another to know God. Many of our immigrant ancestors may not have been able to explain their faith, but they lived it. And in living their faith, they gained an experience of God beyond any intellectual explanation. “To know God” has always been more important, more basic, and more fundamental than “knowing about God.” What really matters on this feast of the Trinity is not how good our explanations are but how deep our faith is; how much we know God as a loving Father and Jesus a healing and forgiving Savior, and their Holy Spirit as a bond of love between God and his people.
Even with great faith, the intellectual approach to God is important and necessary because we are intelligent beings. But there are other approaches which not only give knowledge about God but also communion with God; one approach is stillness, interior quiet. Speaking through the psalmist, God tells us: Be still and know that I am God.” It is a time of allowing God to speak with us.
A second approach to knowing and relating to God is wonder. Wonder can be the first step toward moving us toward the mystery of God or the first pause in the rush away from God. Wonder brings that feeling of awe before God as expressed by the psalmist: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.”
Albert Einstein had difficulties with the concept of God but he often expressed wonder at the universe, the sense of connectedness, the suspicion of the infinite, the boundless, the mysterious that some call God. We can stand in wonder at a star filled sky on a clear summer night and sense the presence of a creator.
The third approach to knowing God is the way of love. The Gospel repeats many times that “God is love.” In the very popular and endearing musical “Les Miserables”, the final line of the play before the closing song is, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Dorothy Day described this love when she wrote about the birth of her daughter. Even though she was an atheist and communist at the time, she said “No human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as I felt after the birth of my child. With this came a need to worship, to adore. The final object of this love and gratitude was God.”
The shamrock of Saint Patrick and the words of Dorothy Day tell us how important it is not only to know about God but to know God. To know God through stillness within ourselves, through wonder at God and God’s creation, and through a love for others which opens us to God who is love itself. With this attitude of mind and heart and with an awareness of God’s presence with God as we come to the Eucharist – called by the Holy Spirit to share in the life of God Who is Truth, Who is Love. We celebrate God’s love as we know that love in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for us…a love moving us as pilgrims, one day at a time, toward God, a loving Father and Mother to us, through Jesus our brother by means of their Holy Spirit of love and truth.
We Rejoice and Give Thanks
Next Sunday, June 7, at the 10:30 am Mass on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we will use that Sunday gathering at the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian lives as we give thanks for the many years of service and ministry of both Diane Puplava and Louise Kaminsky as well as Father Kevin’s three years as Associate Pastor at SJB as he takes on a new full time ministry at Calumet College of Saint Joseph. A reception to honor them will take place in the Panel Room after mass. Please join us. Given a family wedding on Saturday and two family baptisms on Sunday in Cleveland, I will not be present but will be united with you in prayer.
Personnel Changes -I am happy to announce that the Search Committee for a Business Manager has completed its work and their first choice has accepted our job offer. Mrs. Agnes Seitz will become the Business Manager on July 1, 2015. Agnes is a graduate of DePaul University and has a wealth of experience in management and mission responsibilities at several Catholic hospitals and other institutions. Agnes was a great choice because of her management experience and her work in Mission Integration and Effectiveness. This means that Agnes is very much aware that the mission is at the heart of our identity and the management of our finances, personnel and facilities. We certainly must be directed by sound business, educational and financial policies; but we are more than a business, we are The Church with a mission of proclaiming the gospel and serving others as the reason for our existence. Welcome Agnes. I am deeply grateful to Gus Lopez of our Parish Council who headed the Search Committee and brought about such a positive and encouraging result as we look to the future.