The Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. The celebration of the Solemnity is a reminder of what the concluded celebration of Easter is all about. God is intimately part of our lives and reveals Himself and relates to us as He truly is – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is a communion of love for all eternity and when He created us in His image and likeness, He did so that we could be like Him living in a communion of love with Him and with each other. This is at the core of the meaning of life and what truly gives us joy.
We refer to the Trinity as a mystery. It is a mystery, not because it is a puzzle that we cannot figure out, but because it is the reality of the fullness of God's life before which we stand in awe. The Trinity is a mystery because love is a ministry. Pope Francis expressed this well last year on Trinity Sunday when he tweeted, "The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity tells us that we do not have a solitary God up there in heaven, far away; no, He is the Father who gives us His Son, who became man like us, who sends His own Spirit to be even closer to us."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it well when it refers to God's innermost life and love. It states, "God's very being is love. By sending His only Son and the Spirit of love in the fullness of time, God has revealed His innermost secret: God Himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He is destined us to share in that exchange" (221). God reveals Himself to us as He is so that we can have a real relationship with Him and actually enter into His life.
Through the centuries, there have been many depictions of the Trinity in Christian art and church settings. One of the most powerful of these images, which truly captures the nature of the life and love of the Trinity, became popular during the 15th century and was even used as a reredos for the altar. This representation of the Trinity was called The Throne of Mercy, The Throne of Grace, and even The Passion of the Father.
The Throne of Mercy took different forms. The most common was the Father, sitting on His heavenly throne, holding the Cross and handing Jesus over to the world. The Holy Spirit hovered between them as the breath of the Father. In other depictions, the Father holds His deceased Son in His arms, much as in the statue of the Pieta. What is essential in all of these moving works is the expression of the total sacrificial involvement of the Trinity in the passion of Christ. The Father sacrifices His Son for us and the Holy Spirit is part of this sacrifice.
As we celebrate Trinity Sunday, the Holy Trinity stands before us as the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are intimately given to us to bring us to life both now and in eternity. The life of God is deep within us and it is the love of the Trinity for us before which we stand in awe. Again, in the words of Pope Francis, "The mystery of The Most Holy Trinity tells us that we do not have a solitary God up there in heaven, far away; no, He is the Father who gives us His Son, who becomes man like us, who sends His own Spirit to be even closer to us."
Most Reverend Gerald M. Barbarito
June 5, 2020