“I didn’t need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.” ~Anne Lamott
I remember joking when I asked the person who was the diocesan vocation director when I was ordained if he would do the homily for my First Mass the day after my ordination. Our vocation director was also the pastor of my home parish. When he told me he was honored that I had asked him, I joked, “I’m just trying to delay having to preach about the Holy Trinity for another year” because my First Mass was on Trinity Sunday.
That is a joke that goes around, in one way, shape, or form among priests. We always joke about wanting to get out of preaching about the Trinity because it is too incredibly complex to consider.
There is a story that St. Augustine was walking on the beach contemplating the mystery of the Trinity. He saw a boy on the shore who had dug a hole in the sand and was going out to the sea again and again and bringing some water to pour into the hole. St. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing?” The boy replied, “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole.” “That is impossible, the whole ocean will not fit in the hole you have made” said St. Augustine. To that, the boy replied, “And you cannot fit the Trinity in your tiny little brain.” At which point, the boy vanished and St. Augustine realized that he had been talking to an angel.
That may or may not be true. What is true, however, is that we will never be able to understand the Trinity totally. We will not come close to understanding it until we are standing in the presence of God. And at that point, it will not matter anymore because we will be with the Lord and will know Him intimately.
The poet, Anne Lamott, shows a lot of wisdom in stating, somewhat tongue in cheek, that truly understanding the Trinity is not as important as merely discovering our creator. There are too many times in our lives where we “overthink” our faith. We search and ponder and discuss and argue and debate. It does not get us anywhere, except, perhaps, to raise our blood pressure.
Do not let the struggle to understand God get in way of your relationship with God. We will never know Him completely here on this earth so it would be better simply to recognize His presence and respond to it when we see it.
We may never totally understand Father, Son, and Spirit; however, we can come to see Him in our lives. After all, God is all around us.
FAITH ACTION: Clear a moderate amount of time in your schedule to sit quietly today. As you do so, ask God to give you a deeper appreciation of the Trinity and its meaning to your life.