Trinity Sunday Reflections

Rublev's icon The Trinity is the central piece...
I look forward to this Trinity Sunday as it has been called "The preacher's nightmare"!
So meantime these are my paltry and pinched reflections on it all.

A beautiful picture by Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century is his icon of the Trinity. It shows the visit of three men to Abraham  (Gen. 18:1-33).

Abraham soon realizes that these are not ordinary men and that in them God himself is visiting him.

The three form a bridge into the oneness of God: Christians saw this narrative as a mirror of the Trinity from an early date.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Two men and a bird.

God is Three and God is One

Three in One 


He who loves,
He who is loved, The Love" 
(Saint Augustine).

Still finding the meaning of the Holy Trinity elusive ?? !!

and I came away with this phrase from it :

The Trinity is
The Author of the word,
the Word itself, and the interpreter of the Word.
But this is a bit too left brained for me :

The Soul knows not by knowing, but by presence, naked presence.
Pure presence is wisdom.

Nice poem on the theme of the Trinity from the Weary Pilgrim here

or how about this one ?- 

“Trinity” is roughly equivalent to the “Dantian” of Eastern disciplines.

Father is Mind; Son is Heart; Holy Spirit is Vital Energy.

Richard Rohr often explains the Western dualistic mind simply can't understand mysteries like the Trinity. 
He says the Asian mind deals better with contradiction and grey areas. 
Contemplation is impossible if we're trying to prove we're right. 
There's too much agenda, adversarial energy, covering bases and attacking. When we oppose something, we become just like it. 
He says that the dualistic mind gets addled with trying to explain the split of One God into Three instead of sitting happily and just contemplating the One in Three .

Richard Rohr believes that the mystery of the Trinity is a model for masculine and feminine spirituality. From an interview:
"Everything goes back to the mystery of the Trinity. This mystery says the foundation of reality is relationship – the giving and receiving between the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit is the life given back and received between the Father and the Son. That’s very traditional Trinitarian doctrine.

Words there are masculine, which skews the whole thing  because the masculine is only one-half of the picture. 

We can’t deny that Jesus is masculine, but we certainly don’t want to say that the mystery of God is masculine. We do want to say that the mystery of God is relationship.

We have to back to Genesis where we were created in the image of God – male and female. So this Godhead, this beginning point is called Father. 

Father is not, in all truth, the most perfect word in all cases, but it will always be sacred because Jesus used it. We have to keep reminding ourselves, nevertheless, that this Father’s love is so perfect it is like the love of a mother.

This Father is father, but this Father is also mother. That is not new liberal theology. You could not be any more traditional than that. It is just that we have denied that reality for centuries in our false masculine interpretation of the Church (which is entirely led by males, of course!).

My own opinion why Jesus used the masculine word (apart from culture) is that most of the human race seems to bear a greater wound from the male and father love. It is therefore the harder and, for many, the more necessary word that they must “dare to say.” Don’t throw out the words mother or father until you can pronounce them with great freedom and trust.

How does that speak to us as a model of masculine spirituality?
We have said the Father generates all life. In the generative and creative power of fatherhood we have the image of the masculine. But what this God creates, this God preserves, maintains and nurtures in existence. 

The medieval Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus taught that we would not exist if second by second God did not choose and sustain me – not just as part of a class – but choose and sustain me precisely apart from you.

When we let ourselves be affirmed by the Father, then we don’t race after life coaches, drill sergeants, roles and titles to keep affirming us as individuals.

That again is why contemplation is central to Christianity. It is only there where we are named by God, foundationally, rightly and eternally. Then there is no need to grab outside of oneself for success, identity and affirmation.

So there we see the Trinity as masculine – creating life – but also as feminine – maintaining life by choosing and nurturing the individual. Both aspects are founded on the most traditional teachings of the Church.

The Gospel of John says that we are “born” of the Spirit. Much of the tradition has always seen the Spirit as feminine and creative. 

Rohr says  I don’t want you to think that only the masculine is creative or only the feminine nurturing."

I also like this description  but find the language very male orientated as usual.
The Father is Creator of all things. 
The Son is the Redeemer of all creation. 
The Holy Spirit is the Advocate for all.
The Father is the One who is above all the world.
The Son is the One who is with us in the midst of the world. 
The Holy Spirit is the One who is within us. 
The Father is the Origin of all who live. 
The Son is the Goal of all who live.
The Holy Spirit is the Guide of all who live.

This approach can go on and on, and become very expansive, very exciting and very playful for us in our praying. 

It can also help to focus on and understand better the unique role each person of the Trinity has within the whole of who God is.

THE FULL complex but worthwhile reflection is here

That's about it for now. I have an almighty headache and now wish I hadn't started this post. Roll on Sunday !!

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1 comment:

claire said...

Great job, Phil! Thank you.