Just over a year ago, I lost a world I had just discovered. There was a heart and home where belonging and being were one in the same. Without a doubt, it was the gift of a lifetime, transformative, and empowering. In the loss, I learned so much more about it: for the first time, I knew what it was to be recognized, accepted, trusted, known. It was the safest of all spaces: no need to hide or to protect oneself; words were welcome and moments treasured. Most shocking of all, the gift of that world remained in the weeks and months of wicked grieving. Nothing could have surprised me more. It spoke of dimenstions of love I had never even imagined. And now, humbled by learning I had not once suspected, the experience becomes applicable to other circumstances. Today Catholicism celebrates Trinity Sunday, an unbridled explanation of love and the mysterious three persons in one God.
As a child, the simple three leaf clover was the favored explanation. It was later, as a young adult, that I saw the convergence of persons in God with a skepticism. It sounded like 2 persons and one spirit to me, and nothing quite added up. Some explained the Spirit as the dynamism between Father and Son; some saw the Trinity as an unbreakable form, a tripod of perfection. For me, it remained a mystery. It was encountering Poor Clares that some understanding began to develop.
For monastics, the liturgical calendar complements the secular and spills over with meaning, even lodges collective memory firmly against the vicissitudes of daily living in 2022. And so the saints and the holidays are remembered and observed each year by someone, somewhere, and so the faith goes on. Memory is crafted from experience shaped in its sharing and re-telling; the mystery of the Trinity became a facet of collective identity within the church. Memory can be transformative, and Trinity Sunday highlights that. It is a holiday that invites us to see, to make and to nurture connections. For monastics, that made a lot of sense within the life of the community and within personal relationships with God. And for everyone, it makes so very much sense. Trinity Sunday is the reminder that we are not alone in any sense of the word. There is continuity in the love of God from beginning to end, and the movement of the Spirit is as real as the Eucharistic Presence and the Lord’s Prayer “Father”. The power of that is constantly available, present to us, if only we choose to look and see, hear and listen, know and touch. The mystery of it cannot actually be simplified to that four leaf clover, but it can tie to the idea that as humans we are continually learning about love and loss, grief and growth, what life is really all about. Trinity Sunday is the reminder that love is the constancy that may not have been known or initally understood, but is waiting to be recongized, accessed and enjoyed. Trinity Sunday is the reminder that each of us is accepted, known and understood by God who is simply there, waiting for consciousness of His Presence.