Saturday, June 18, 2011

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: The Father "gave his only Son" and the fellowship of the Spirit to satisfy all our needs

Everyone has made a wrong decision at some point in their life, and everyone can speak about the suffering or pain caused by bad decisions. What, on the other hand, about the suffering or pain that is caused by doing the right thing? How often can we say that we suffered personally and willingly for doing right? Or that we chose to do what was right and good with foreknowledge of the cost to ourselves? I recently spoke with a father who is suffering for doing the right thing.

This man is a divorced father who fell in love with a divorced woman, who also has children, and they subsequently decided to move in together. After some time with this arrangement, however, the man decided that his sense of sin in living with a woman to whom he is not married demanded that he do the right thing: follow his conscience and break up. Now they are living separately and the relationship has changed to the point where their future together is uncertain. This man rejected a sinful relationship that simulated the spousal love he rightly seeks in order to choose faithfulness to his vocation as a father and to avoid scandal as a Godly example for his children.

Shouldn't someone feel good if they have done a good thing? Yes. But the reality of sin and human nature means that the right and the good will sometimes be opposed, even by people we love the most. Opposition can bring the pain of internal conflict even for those with a clear conscience.

Our heavenly Father is the best of fathers: He always gives us what we need no matter the cost to Himself. "He gave His only Son" because that is precisely what we needed, mired in sin and in need of salvation as we were after the sin of our first father, Adam.

"The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: 'In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.' 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' " (CCC 458)

On this Father's Day we rightly celebrate the selfless and heroic love of all our fathers on earth. But we also for that reason rightly look to the Father in heaven, He from whom all fatherhood on earth takes its name. Jesus Christ, the only Son, is the one who perfectly reveals the love of the Father.

"Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: He is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: 'No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.' " (CCC 240)

On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity we cannot omit mention of the Holy Spirit, who together with the Father and the Son, is one God. The Holy Spirit continually ushers us into the life of God, whose inner reality is an ineffable mystery which we try to touch and to understand with the word "Trinity".

"The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the 'mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God'. To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit." (CCC 237)

"The love of the Father, the grace of the Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always" to choose what is good no matter the cost in this world which is passing away.

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