Sunday Reflection with Father Terry Tastard - 30 May 2010

Andrei Rublev -  The Trinity - 1413

Andrei Rublev - The Trinity - 1413

I know the leader of a company with offices in a dozen different countries.  They work together very effectively.  I once asked him how they managed to co-ordinate their work so effectively.  "It’s easy" he said.  "Every week we have a teleconference.  We can see and speak to each other.  Because everybody knows what everybody else is thinking we come to a common mind and put into action what we have decided."  Shared thoughts; a common mind; united action – this made me think of the inner life of the Trinity.  We believe in One God who is Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But what is known to one is known to all, and there is a unity of purpose.  As Jesus makes clear in the gospel today (John 16.12-15) in God there is a unity of knowing, understanding and acting.  The Father holds back nothing from the Son, and the Spirit brings to its fulfilment the work begun by Christ here on earth.

You and I, each of us, are sons and daughters of God, and we are promised that ultimately our home is with the Trinity.  In fact, already, through baptism and the life of grace, we find that we are taken up into the life of the Trinity.  If you doubt that, consider the Eucharist itself.  Each time we gather for Mass, we pray to the Father, the Son becomes present through the transformed bread and wine, and the Spirit makes this possible and helps us see with the eyes of faith.  Or again, consider baptism:  here we are baptised in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Or take those mysterious words in John 17.21 where we hear Jesus pray:  "As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us".  Since the love between Father and Son is the essence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is praying that we may be caught up into the very life of the Trinity.

There is something truly wonderful here.  On the one hand the doctrine of the Trinity takes us into the very depths of God, beyond time and space, into eternity.  On the other hand this mystery is as close to us as prayer and the life of faith.  God reaches out to us in love, and in that reaching out to us, shows the divine nature is a unity in which we are drawn into the divine love shared between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Here, in the heart of God, is where our true identity lies.

Which brings me to that much-used word of today: ‘relationship’.  But actually, each of us is shaped by many kinds of relationships.  It is impossible to imagine human life without a web of relationship binding it to family, friends, neighbours and others.  There is no me without you.  In our Christian life, as we come to know the Trinity we are drawn into a unique relationship of love and which in turn shapes us and challenges us to carry God’s grace with us into all our relationships, so that we can be transformed in our daily living as we interact with others.  Christian life is a conversion not just of ourselves as individuals, but of the way we and others relate to one another.  In this way God’s power and love can reach deep into the heart of a society.

Fr Terry is Parish Priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Brook Green, west London.   His new book:  Ronald Knox and English Catholicism is published by Gracewing at £12.99 and is available on Amazon, on ICN's front page. To read Sr Gemma Simmonds' review on ICN see:

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