From the Hermitage
Sunday Morning. Just back from the diaconate ordination of the seminarian who assisted in our parish the past year. What a wonderful experience. Will (the new Deacon) smiled from the entrance procession into the Pittsburgh cathedral (St. Paul's) and was still smiling afterward. He had the look of a youngster in a toy store.
Surely the feast we celebrate today is one that brings us into mystery. As I am reading Learning to Walk in the Darkness, written by a renowned preacher/teacher, Barbara Brown Taylor, I could not but think that this author surely understands something of mystery. For us who "believe" in the Holy Trinity, we are indeed living in what we might call darkness. Barbara Taylor is of the opinion that a journey in darkness can be an experience of abundant blessings such as wisdom and certainly a "closer walk with Jesus."
We might think of the Trinity as one God with three personalities. However, that is not the case. We indeed believe in one God while at the same time believing in three Persons. Let me offer for your reading and reflection today a few words from Pope Francis, spoken last Holy Trinity Sunday:
"Today is the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity. The light of Eastertide and of Pentecost renews in us every year the joy and amazement of faith: let us recognize that God is not something vague, our God is not a God “spray”, he is tangible; he is not abstract but has a name: “God is love”. His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world. Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life."
Surely for us on this feast that follows so many Trinitarian moments, we might say, considering all of the greater feasts we have celebrated since Holy Thursday evening until last Sunday's Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi) that we have been offered so many moments to consider how our God dispenses his extraordinary love: His love for us in creating us; His love for us in giving us Jesus His Son to bring us the Father's gift of Salvation; and, His love joined with the love of Jesus Christ in giving us the Holy Spirit.
Darkness, as Barbara Taylor maintains, is an experience when we need not fear. Rather, darkness can be an occasion when we are able to push all distractions from our lives to be alone with God. When I was in the seminary, there were many nights when I would "sneak" out of the building just to walk around the grounds with only God and me in His darkness, giving me assurances of his love and care in the stars and at times the moon that would give His light to me.
Taylor writes "Step 1 of learning to walk in the dark is to give up running the show." Wow! How many of us should take note of this insight? She continues, "Next you sign the waiver that allows you to bump into some things that may frighten you at first." Most of us are frightened by darkness, aren't we? Lastly she writes, "Finally you ask darkness to teach you what you need to know." Amen! Amen!
Is not mystery a kind of darkness? Is not mystery, like the Trinity a call from God to let go? Is it not one of those bumps that makes religion a challenge? And, lastly, is not mystery an experience when we have to ask God to help us because we really find it hard to understand Three Persons/One God realities!!!
Let us celebrate this mystery, this walk in darkness as truly an opportunity for light, for growing ever closer to you this three-personed God that is given as the reality of His love for you and me. Taylor give us this advice: "... darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day." Just remember: God is Love! God is Love! God is Love! All of this love in three ways: from Himself, His Son and their Holy Spirit!
Oremus pro Invicem!