Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Contemplatio in action: the Trinity's fulcrum?

I love how praying the rosary opens the mind to to insights about our God.

Contemplatio in action.

Monday night's meditations on the joyful mysteries got me thinking about the Holy Trinity, and about the relationships the three persons have with us.

I often assign roles to them in my thoughts and prayers. For example, when anointing DiDi's forehead with oil, I make the sign of the cross, saying:
In the name of the Father who created you
the Son who redeems and saves you
and the Holy Spirit who comforts and guides you.
There they are in their neat little packages.

I continue the prayer by reminding DiDi that she is the daughter of the King, sister of Christ, and spouse of the Holy Spirit.

So in this "model" we have three distinct roles of Father, Brother, Spouse. Still pretty neat and tidy.

But keep going and the divisions get murky, confusing.

Given that the Father is both Christ's father and ours, Jesus becomes our sibling. But because baptism is a marital celebration, and reception of the Eucharist is consummation of the wedding feast, Jesus is also our husband.

So Jesus is not only sibling, but also spouse.

And it doesn't end there.

While contemplating the Nativity in the rosary, I thought about the opening verses in John's gospel:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus was firstborn, and we were made through him. Without Him nothing came to be. He gave us life.

That's what fathers do. They give us life. We come into being through them.

So this means that Jesus, as the giver of life, is the father.

And that makes the Father really the grandfather.

Let's tally the roles we've got for the three persons so far:

The Father=father/grandfather
The Son=brother, husband/spouse, father
The Holy Spirit=husband/spouse

It is interesting that the roles of the Father and of the Spirit are essentially unchanged throughout the thought stream. They are who they are.

But in the Son, the roles vary. He takes on the roles held by both the Father and of the Spirit, while simultaneously maintaining His own.

I wonder if this is somehow the fulcrum around which the mystery of the Trinity spins?


Ike said...

In describing the Trinity, the New Testament clearly distinguishes three Persons who are all simultaneously active. They are not merely modes or manifestations of the same person (as Oneness theology incorrectly asserts) who sometimes acts as Father, sometimes as Son, and sometimes as Spirit. At Christ’s baptism, all three Persons were simultaneously active (Matt. 3:16–17), with the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from Heaven. Jesus Himself prayed to the Father (cf. Matt. 6:9), taught that His will was distinct from His Father’s (Matt. 26:39), promised that He would ask the Father to send the Spirit (John 14:16), and asked the Father to glorify Him (John 17:5). These actions would not make sense unless the Father and the Son were two distinct Persons. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit intercedes before the Father on behalf of believers (Rom. 8:26), as does the Son, who is our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Again, the distinctness of each Person is in view.

Suzanne Marie DeWitt said...

Thanks for your insightful comments Ike. You are of course right about the doctrine of the three persons, and I opened my post referring to Them in that way. But I doubt that God's "personhood" is the same as ours, and think there must be some sort of blurring between and among Them (for lack of a better word) which co-exists with their distinctness.

The trinity is one of the mysteries we will not fully understand until we stand before Them. And maybe not even then. I think They like us to ponder about how things work outside the realm of our own understanding, and the limits of time and space.

Even if we get it wrong.

Thanks again for your comments which were thought provoking as usual!

Diane Marie Hall said...

What a big God we have,one and all;timeless and temporal. Three distinct "persons" at the same time; having perfect unity as one God. Beyond the boundaries of explanation.
Another thought provoking blog. Another moment in time to stop and awe at our mighty God!