As we celebrate the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity my mind always returns to an 8th grade classroom and a tall red haired nun, in full habit, named Sister Mary Janelle. I recall her patiently helping my classmates and myself as we wrestled with the concept of the Trinity -- three Persons who were at the same time separate, but one. As she went through theological gymnastics trying to help us understand, ultimately she conceded that it was a mystery...mystery with a capital “M”!
At the time my classmates and I felt it was a bit of a “cop-out” on her part. But, now almost 50 years later I have come to see her wisdom, and have come to be comfortable with and truly enjoy the concept of mystery.
We live in a society that demands to know all things; to have concrete explanations for everything. Everything is “googleable”! But the reality is that ultimately God is beyond our understanding...beyond even Google!
Today I realize that I am part of a religious tradition that has passed on a faith -- a faith filled with mystery and awe in our God.
There is a consensus of our ancestors that harbors “revealed truths” that are essentials of our faith that will always lie just beyond our capacity to fully understand.
The Holy Spirit has been sent into our hearts to lead us headlong into “The Mystery”...to live out in concrete terms what we say we believe even though we may not fully understand.
Our lack of understanding has no impact on The Mystery itself... The Mystery desires us and loves us just as we are...conflicted and wrestling with our faith.
The principle of unshakeable human dignity is grounded in the faith conviction that we are made in the image and likeness of God. If we are made in the image of God, this means the Trinity, our personhood and consequently our dignity may be more than we imagine it to be. In the Trinity, three Persons engage in a mutual and self-giving activity that is so complete it makes them a dynamic unity. This activity has been characterized as a relational dance. If we are made like this, as persons we are essentially plural, there is an ongoing interrelating, an interpersonal flow of energy. We are essentially social beings, in relationship to others, in relationship to The Mystery by the very essence of who we are!
One of the most important realities is that we remain engaged... wrestling with our faith...engaged with God...wrestling with the Holy Trinity!
But when all is said and done what is most important is that we remain engaged in the struggle for understanding...and we open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit, the bringer of wisdom.
And what wisdom and understanding is the Holy Spirit trying to bring us today in the midst of the light that is being shined on the darkness, of the SIN of the systemic racism and bigotry that is woven into the very fabric of our nation? What wisdom is being brought to us about the heart-breaking gun violence in our society and what we should be doing about it?
How comfortable am I with the concept of “mystery” of not fully understanding? How am I engaged in living out my faith? What am I wrestling with at this point in my faith journey?