Solemnity of the Holy Trinity 2014

When our community was placed under the protection of the Most Holy Trinity — we are under the patronage of the Trinity — we were doing something more than simply ‘going to the top’. We were, rather breathtakingly, making a twofold commitment: to the quest for theological understanding that is part and parcel of the Christian life, and to living the communion of love that is found first and foremost in the inner dynamic of the Trinity.

Some people shy away from theology as though it were an optional extra. It is nothing of the kind. To ‘study God’, to want to understand better the nature of God and the relationship between God and ourselves in all its various manifestations is a necessary part of being Christian. This morning at Vigils we sang through the Athanasian Creed, and as we did so, I could not help reflecting that the anathemas which attract so much attention are much less important than the truth about God Athanasius was trying to convey. The hypostatic union does matter. That Jesus was and is both God and man has profound implications for us who follow him. That God is three Persons in one Unity also matters. But an intellectual understanding is not enough. We must go further, and be drawn into the very life of the Trinity through prayer and the sacraments.

It is when we try to turn our theology into prayer that I think we see the connection most clearly. Indeed, I tend to think of monastic life as doing theology on our knees. The precise formulations of faith lead us into the prayer of love and union. They are not a barrier; and if ever they become so, something is wrong. Last week, I was much struck by a comment on Twitter to the effect that one cannot love the liturgy, the worship of God, if one doesn’t also love the people of God, his children. In the love that binds together in unity the three Persons of the Trinity, we find the origin of our own capacity to love.

This feast of the Holy Trinity is one that stretches mind and heart, but in a good way, for it stretches them as Jesus once stretched his arms on the Cross: upwards to the Father in loving surrender, outwards to the world in loving embrace, with the Holy Spirit the love that held them there.

Note: I have tried to express some complicated thoughts briefly and simply. If I have failed to be orthodox at any point, it is an unintended consequence of my efforts.

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8 thoughts on “Solemnity of the Holy Trinity 2014”

  1. Thank you for this very beautiful post.

    Today morning we were sharing about the Most Holy Trinity as well in our Community. After listening to this talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BYb8t8kePk on the Perfect Relationship of the Most Holy Trinity, it sparked off a beautiful discussion on how the Most Holy Trinity is the Communion every human relationship really longs for.

    Once again, thank you very much for the post, @DigitalNun! Yes the Union of the Trinity does matter!

  2. The symbol of the Trinity is a predominant feature in the church in which I worship. I try to think of the Trinity as a contained reality rather than the ultimate reality, but I love what you say, ‘In the love that binds together in unity the three Persons of the Trinity, we find the origin of our own capacity to love.’; how true.

      • I’m sure you are correct, the emphasis is inclined to be my own. The nature of God is ineffable, the Trinity is the revealed nature of God, which is paradoxically both
        ultimate reality and contained reality……I’m not sure it all matters though, the love of Gods leads us into all truth, and maybe when all is said and done that is all that is left, Gods fragrant love.

  3. I am ashamed to say that my ‘brain hurts’ trying to understand all this but today I have sat with St Augustine’s words of Trinity being The Lover, The Beloved and the Spirit of Love.

  4. Thanks for this.

    Our Vicar today preached on the trinity in terms that helped to draw it out using Paul’s 2 Corinthians reading to draw it out with the blessing of the Grace, which is both a blessing and prayer used very often in Anglican Services, particularly at the end of Matins and Evensong.

    Just praying the Grace, puts the trinity into perspective for me. We prayed it together at the end of the sermon to each other, as a blessing. Wonderful to see people being imaginative and demonstrative in worship as they took the words to heart.

  5. I’m sorry not to have been able to read your blog for awhile due to my health. I’ve just been catching up. I could comment on all the posts I’ve just read. I won’t. I just wanted to add my tuppence worth. I have been “doing theology” since 1976. It is the most exciting and rewarding study. I encourage all to try, do not be afraid, God works wonders as we study.

  6. Well done Sr.C ; sounds patronising I know ,but you have made the Trinity “thinkable” ,because as created beings we can never fully understand the perfect tri-unity of God.

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