May 22, 2016
Jun 6, 2016
Solemnity of the Holy Trinity -
A Reflection by Fr. Leo
John’s gospel, that we hear from today, is deeply rooted in his understanding of the Holy Trinity. John’s Jesus teaches his disciples that the Holy Spirit will guide then in the truth; a truth that comes from the Son who received that same truth from the Father. In essence, Jesus is saying, there is one truth and the truth is God who is one in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This same theology is embodied in both the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed we recite during liturgy. The Nicene Creed is especially clear when it says the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, proceeds from the Father and the Son and with them is glorified.
Jesus’ body was taken up into heaven, but his Spirit remains with us and is God’s presence with us in this moment. The Holy Spirit has always been housed in creation, if you will, but Christ, through the living body of Jesus, opened our eyes to God presence with us and modeled for us what it means to live in God. The same Spirit in Jesus the Christ is within us. To celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Spirit is for us to share in oneness with God, our sharing in God’s divinity.
What follows from this theology is the permission to own our identity as children of God. The shame many of us feel, we were not born with. God created us in his image and breathed life into us. Thus owning our identity means looking at the premises we picked up somewhere that make us uneasy with ourselves. There is a healthy pride that allows us to love ourselves, something we need to do before we can truly love others. There are also things we may feel guilt over because we missed the mark in some action that didn’t live up to who we are. Shame is the self hatred that makes us hate the God given nature that is ours.
The real work is for each of us to develop our conscience. This requires each of us to honestly discern with our reason and emotions what is right and good, what love requires. This truth we discover, is something that resonates within us, it is not something we swallow from an external authority. Even if the external authority is right, we must make it ours before it is a truth that can bring us life. This is why, it could be said, we need to learn from our sin and not give it up until we have learned that it brings the opposite of the life our truest self seeks.
Developing a conscience is not easy work. Honesty and the truth it reveals can terrify us at first until it becomes ours and we become accustomed to living in the clearer and brighter light of “the Christ’s consciousness,” as Jim Marion refers to it. Our first step is to trust God’s desire to have us live in the fullness of his Spirit. Then secondly, we will need to surrender ourselves to the Truth and slowly let it set us free.