June 11, 2017
One of the first things that American elementary school students learn about our government is that there is a system of checks and balances firmly in place. This concept of government is traced back to ancient Greece. Found primarily in constitutional governments in which the people enjoy a voice by way of elected representatives, checks and balances prevent one branch of government from usurping power and control beyond what is given to that office by law.
Every elementary student learns that the United States Constitution provides for a “tripartite governance,” entrusting specific responsibilities to three separate branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. If one of the three steps out of its job description, it is both the right as well as the duty of the other two to “check” that effort to claim powers that are reserved to one of the other two branches; thus, restoring proper balance. Simply put, the concept of checks and balances is about controlling power to prevent the abuse of power.
Trinity Sunday invites us to ponder the impenetrable mystery of Three Divine Persons in one God. Theologians and philosophers have struggled for centuries to understand, explain, and defend this truth, which, in the end, is actually impossible for the finite human mind to grasp. In fact, in trying to tackle this Divine mystery with ill-equipped human intelligence, many have gotten it wrong. It’s a hard truth for our minds to absorb. And yet, each time we profess our Faith through The Creed, we speak of the consubstantial nature of the Three.
For many, that word, consubstantial, simply passes across the lips without penetrating the mind. Fortunately, God does not always message us through our minds. Very often, God speaks directly to our hearts. In other words, as we read the Gospels, it is not unusual for something to simply pass through our minds like words we speak without totally understanding them. But, when we listen to the Gospel with “open hearts,” the full message is transmitted and received with a special kind of clarity that approaches a personal experience of what we are being told.
It was Jesus Christ Who revealed the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. Throughout His teaching and preaching, at different times and in different ways, The Lord explained that with The Father and The Holy Spirit, He is God…Three in One, One in Three, each co-eternal (no beginning and no ending), uncreated (always was and always will be), unchanging (eternally perfect), and co-equal (each all-powerful – omnipotent)…more words that risk passing through our minds without enlightening us.
So then, on this Trinity Sunday, let’s open our hearts!
Long before ancient Greece, the infinite Mystery of God was expressed in “tripartite governance.” But there was no need for a system of “checks and balances,” because there was no possibility of abuse of power. The Three Divine Persons we call consubstantial are pure Love. Love is the complete opposite of selfish ambition. Because Each of the Three is One in Being…Each pure Love, it is impossible for The Trinity to suffer any kind of imbalance.
Moreover, Love cannot resist being expressed.
And so, The Creator expressed this Eternal Love by calling the universe into being and holding it in existence through the power of infinite, never-ending Love. The Son revealed this Eternal Love by becoming one like us…in all things but sin, so that He could walk among us, healing, forgiving, teaching, preaching, feeding, suffering, dying, and rising…all the time telling us: “I Love you!” Then the Holy Spirit poured out over all creation, sealing the message in our very hearts….YOU ARE LOVED!
Our words are inadequate and sometimes even misleading or just plain wrong. Our minds are incapable of fully understanding what it all means. But, our hearts are up to the challenge. It is within our hearts that we meet the Blessed Trinity…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And it is within our hearts that we come to believe that if we do our best to love God and others, then someday, we will be part of this Holy, Eternal Union we call God…but what our hearts know as Perfect Love!