From Pentecost to Trinity

The Trinity is an icon created by Russian painter Andrei Rublev in the 15th century. It is his most famous work and, perhaps, the most famous of all Russian icons.

The Trinity depicts the three angels who visited Abraham at the Oak of Mamre, but the painting is full of symbolism and is interpreted also as an icon of the Holy Trinity.


A Method

Begin with a moment of quiet.
Quietening exercise

Carry the concept of the reflection in your heart for the day

In the evening, reflect back on the day using this examen exercise or use one of the exercises from Pray-As-You-Go. They have a variety of examen’s available for different needs and occasions.
See their Prayer Tools Page


A moment of Reflection

Here you will find a thought to carry with you each day.

Simply take a moment each morning to read it, with the intention to allow it permeate your day. Try to allow it go beyond that initial reading, holding your reaction to it, but open yourself, over the day, to clarifying how it challenges.

Use the following prayer as a statement of your intention to openness:

Lord, help me to know what I hear,

not simply hear what I know.

Anonymous

Monday

Just to be, just to do — these are the two great gifts of God, the foundation of every other gift. We need to return to these two great capacities again and again and cultivate them. The events of daily life need to be placed in perspective by a deep sense of prayer, by learning how to be before God. Then, as reality comes in upon us, we will perceive each event as the working of the Holy Spirit, carefully designed for our particular needs. … If we want to be anything other than what God has made us to be, we are wasting our time. … The greatest accomplishment in life is to be what we are … and no ideas of ours will ever change it. Accepting that gift is God’s will for us, and in in its acceptance lies the path to growth and ultimate fulfillment. 

(Thomas Keating – Heart of the World)


Tuesday

If we choose to, we can see everyone as our teacher. Those people who have admirable qualities can inspire us; those with destructive qualities can remind us of our shortcomings and motivate us to change.

Confucius was very clear about this:

“When walking in the company of two other people I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.” 

When we meet kind people, we can develop feelings of gratitude and use those people as role models to inspire our own kindness and generosity. We can also learn from unkind people. Seeing how sensitive we are to criticism and hostility, we can remember how sensitive others are and resolve to treat them gently. We can also practice forgiveness and find how much better this feels than smoldering with resentment for days. 

This day, try to see each person you meet as a teacher bringing you an important lesson. At the end of the day, look back and review your interaction with each person, the lessons each one brought, and what you learned.  


Wednesday

The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it.

Wm. Paul Young, Trinity: The Soul of Creation

The love in you—which is the Spirit in you—always somehow says yes. (See 2 Corinthians 1:20.) Love is not something you do; love is something you are. It is your True Self. Love is where you came from and love is where you are going. It’s not something you can buy. It’s not something you can attain. It’s the presence of God within you, called the Holy Spirit or what some theologians name uncreated grace.

You can’t make God love you one ounce more than God already loves you right now. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life. God isn’t going to love you any more than God loves you right now.

You cannot make God love you any less, either—not an ounce less. Do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you less. You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant, total, and 100 percent toward your life. God is for you.

We can’t diminish God’s love for us. What we can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, trust it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.

Catherine LaCugna (1952–1997) ended her giant theological tome God for Us with this one simple sentence:

The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on this earth.

Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life 

That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. And the only thing that can keep you out of this divine dance is fear or self-hatred. What would happen in your life—right now—if you fully accepted what God has created?

Suddenly, this is a very safe universe. You have nothing to be afraid of. God is for you. God is leaping toward you! God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.

Be open, this day, to that place of deep acceptance of the presence of God in all.


Thursday

The goal of the spiritual journey is to discover and move toward connectedness on ever new levels. We may begin by making little connections with other people, with nature and animals, then grow into deeper connectedness with people. Finally, we can experience full connectedness as union with God.

How you do anything is how you do everything

Richard Rohr

Without connectedness and communion, we don’t exist fully as our truest selves. Becoming who we really are is a matter of learning how to become more and more deeply connected.

Foundational love gives us hope and allows us to trust “what is” as the jumping-off point, no matter how unsteady it feels. It allows us to work together toward “what can be.” The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus shows us what’s fully possible. God will always bring yet more life and wholeness out of seeming chaos and death.

Faith in the resurrection is the ground on which Christians hope for a different future, a transition to a society less destructive, more peaceful and more whole.

Timothy Gorringe and Rosie Beckham

Building “contrast” communities was precisely Paul’s missionary strategy. You can see it throughout the New Testament. Paul believed that small communities of Jesus’ followers would make the Gospel message believable: Jesus is Lord (rather than Caesar is Lord); sharing abundance and living in simplicity (rather than hoarding wealth); nonviolence and chosen suffering (rather than aligning with power). Paul was very practical. He taught that our faith must take actual form in a living, loving group of people. Otherwise, love is just a theory.

We are now seeing many people, religious and secular, from all around the world, coming together to form alternative systems for sharing resources, living simply, and imagining a sustainable future. It has been one of the spiritual gifts of the pandemic. God never misses a chance to help us grow up.

Take note of what word or phrase stands out for you. Carry it with you throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Taken from: Community as Alternative Consciousness, Richard Rohr Daily Meditations, 1st June 2020 see www.cac.org


Friday

A divine foundation of relationship is what all religion, spirituality, and perhaps even politics, is aiming for. The Trinity offers us this precise gift—a grounded connection with God, self, others, and the world. This ancient doctrine dared to affirm that God is relationship itself. The way of Jesus therefore is an invitation to a way of living, loving, and relating—on earth as it is in God. We are intrinsically like the Trinity, living in absolute relatedness. While we may not always recognise it, we are all together in a web of mutual interdependence. When we recognise it on a spiritual level, we call it love.

The 12th-century mystic Richard of St. Victor (1123–1173) wrote about the Trinity as a mutual, loving companionship of friends—a community, if you will. In Richard Rohr’s book The Divine Dance, he summarises some of Richard of St. Victor’s thinking:

For God to be good, God can be one. For God to be loving, God has to be two, because love is always a relationship.
But for God to share “excellent joy” and “delight” God has to be three, because supreme happiness is when two persons share their common delight in a third something—together.

See Richard of St. Victor: The Twelve Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity

Two people excited about the same thing are the beginning of almost everything new, creative, and risky in our world. Surely this is what Jesus meant by his first and most basic definition of church as “two or three gathered” (Matthew 18:20).

A community inspired by the Trinity will be a community of people who treat each other as subjects and not objects. Just as the persons of the Trinity know and love one another, from God’s side we are always known and loved subject to subject. God and the human person must know one another center to center, subject to subject, and never subject to object. This is why there is no seeking of power over in the Trinity, but only power with—a giving away, a sharing, a letting go, and thus an infinity of trust and mutuality. This has the power to change all relationships: in marriage, in culture, and even in international relations.

If we believe in a Trinitarian God, then we must hold fast to the truth that God is community—a completely loving, mutually self-giving, endlessly generative relationship between equal partners. We are included in that community and so is everyone else!

Take note of what word or phrase stands out for you. Carry it with you throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.

Adapted from Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation 


Saturday

The Trinity reveals that God is relationship itself. John O’Donohue (1956–2008) drew insights on friendship from Celtic spirituality. As you read O’Donohue’s words, consider how you might grow and nurture soul friendships in your life.

. . . The old Gaelic term for [soul-love] is anam ċara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and ċara is the word for friend. . . . With the anam ċara you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. . . . You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the “friend of your soul.” . . . The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship. In his Conferences, John Cassian [c. 360–c. 435] says this bond between friends is indissoluble:

“This, I say, is what is broken by no chances, what no interval of time or space can sever or destroy, and what even death itself cannot part.”

John Cassian, The Conferences of the Desert Fathers

In everyone’s life, there is great need for an anam ċara, a soul friend. In this love, you are understood as you are without mask or pretension. The superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are. Love allows understanding to dawn. . . . Where you are understood, you are home. . . . When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul. . . . This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. . . .

It is precisely in awakening and exploring this rich and opaque inner landscape that the anam-ċara experience illuminates the mystery and kindness of the divine. The anam ċara is God’s gift. Friendship is the nature of God. The Christian concept of god as Trinity is the most sublime articulation of otherness and intimacy, an eternal interflow of friendship. This perspective discloses the beautiful fulfillment of our immortal longing in the words of Jesus, who said,

Behold, I call you friends

John 15:15

. . . . In friendship with him, we enter the tender beauty and affection of the Trinity. In the embrace of this eternal friendship, we dare to be free.

Consequently, love is anything but sentimental. In fact, it is the most real and creative form of human presence. Love is the threshold where divine and human presence ebb and flow into each other.

All presence depends on consciousness. Where there is a depth of awareness, there is a reverence for presence. Where consciousness is dulled, distant, or blind, the presence grows faint and vanishes. Consequently, awareness is one of the greatest gifts you can bring to your friendship. . . . pray for the grace of recognition. Inspired by awareness, you may then discover beside you the anam ċara of whom your longing has always dreamed.


Sunday

Take time to come into quiet before listening to this video reflection by Richard Rohr. Then allow his words to sink in and be aware of your reactions to them.


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