SUNDAY READ

Can you feel the Blessed Trinity?

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THE real problem with the Blessed Trinity celebrated at Mass today is not that it’s a baffling concept—God, who is one and unique in His infinite substance or nature, is really three distinct persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. More than straining our minds, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit might not touch our hearts much, if at all.

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How many believers truly feel our Creator Father’s loving presence, His Son and our Brother’s merciful gaze, or the inner peace and promptings of the Holy Spirit, Who is the Love between the Father and the Son lifting the universe and our souls to heaven?

And that’s the problem, not failing to figure out the unfathomable mystery of the Triune God. After all, the first commandment from on high is to love God with our entire being, not to know Him inside out, in full and without error.

Many may be relieved that loving God is what’s required of us, not understanding His inscrutable mystery and boundless infinity. Yet that loving feeling toward Father, Son and Holy Spirit isn’t easier than figuring out the Triune God.

Feeling the Father
Feeling the Father should actually be easy. As Creator of all, His providence encompasses everything around us, not to mention every cell in our bodies and the souls inhabiting them. So if we truly believe that God made us and all that we love about life, we should at least feel gratitude and maybe even love for Him, right?

Well, when was the last time you thanked Mom and Dad for bringing you into this world and up to adulthood? Or gave them hugs and kisses for everything they showered upon and sacrificed for you? Maybe you did all that, but surprise, surprise, millions of people don’t anymore.

Nor do we feel anything special about the hired help and paid employees who serve and work with us? Rather than thanks and goodwill, what transpires between us and them is cold, calculated commerce.

If many of us can feel no thanks or caring toward the people we see, hear, and rub elbows with, then it’s even harder to feel that toward our unseen Father Who art all the way in heaven.

Instead of His providence, we credit our delights and comforts to the power of money, the talents of entertainers, and the advances of science and technology. We worship paychecks and profits, adore pop, movie and sports stars, and love our gadgets.

And our Maker comes to mind and heart often when things go bad. He is blamed for many a mishap, from slipping on a banana peel to Supertyphoon Haiyan. Much like how the successful say they are self-made, but the wayward claim to be victims of their parents’ genes and upbringing.

One more thing eroding the Father’s rapport with people are the commandments He enforces with fire, brimstone and hell. Those dos and don’ts are meant to bring us closer to Him and His true and lasting happiness, but most people clearly don’t see things that way.

Following the Son
If the Father doesn’t connect with many of us for being faraway, forgotten or fearsome, His Son Jesus has won mountains of adulation and endearment over the millennia. In our time, countless devotees spend hours every week adoring Him in the Blessed Sacrament, praying novenas to His Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy. And His life is extolled and expounded as the way to holiness.

Those zealous devotions follow Christ’s instruction to believe in Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life, leading to the Father in heaven. But if loving Christ stops there, then it misses His final command to us before He returned to His Father in heaven: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

The love Jesus wants is for us to follow His commandments, including that last one, and to serve Him in the poor and needy: “Whatever you do to these, the least of your brethren, you do to Me.”

So if we are to really love God the Son, then it must be through not only adoring and praying to Him in church and prayer room, but also in loving and serving Him in others, especially the neglected and marginalized of society.

Sadly, many Christians substitute the first kind of love for Christ for the second: pouring on the piety to make up for absent charity. Sorry, that doesn’t work for the Son.

Indeed, when we face Him in the Final Judgment, He will not ask us how many masses we’ve attended or communions we’ve received. Rather, He will divide the sheep from the goats because the former gave Him food and drink, clothed His nakedness, and did Him other acts of kindness through the needy, while the latter didn’t.

No two ways about it: If we love the Son, we must love and serve the least of us.

Kindling the Spirit
What makes many of us fail in loving the Holy Spirit is not lack of effort, but too much of it. For in the countless ways in which the Spirit made Himself known and felt, there really wasn’t much that the people He inspired needed to do, except to let it happen.

When Mary conceived the Son of God in the Incarnation, all she did was say yes, and the Spirit took care of the rest.

When Jesus gave His Apostles the Spirit at Easter, empowering them to forgive or retain sins, He breathed on them, and the Spirit was with them.

When the disciples were literally fired up by the Spirit at Pentecost, they were just still while the wind blew and the flaming tongues lit up their heads, giving them the grace to preach and be understood by every race.

So perhaps in feeling the Holy Spirit, what we need in stillness. The utter absence of noise and distraction, not just the kind ringing in our ears, but the sort that fills the mind, tempts the eye, snares the heart, and stirs the loins.

Shut out the world and the self, and the Blessed Trinity will appear and touch us. Amen.

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10 Comments

  1. An excellent take on the “mystery” of the Trinity. I read somewhere, “To understand God, is to be His equal.”

    Ron Ronglien
    La Mirada , California

  2. Purong G.I. on

    Personally, feeling the Blessed Trinity is in yourself of how you feel about life and humanity. All of us should not only feel a certain degree of the Blessed Trinity but how you live your life in comparison with fellow humans be they are your enemies or friends.

  3. Amnata Pundit, Rio Legaspi, and Mario, you need to see where Ricardo Saludo is coming from. He is sharing his meditation on the feast of the Most Blessed Trinity being celebrated in this Sunday Liturgy. You can bet that his future meditations will be based on the Sunday Liturgy.

    Liturgy refers to the public service started by the first Christians who came to worship the Risen Lord on the “Lord’s Day”. In the Liturgy “all honor and glory is given to God the Father through, with, and in Jesus in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever.” True Christians are simply following what the first Christians started. If they “changed” the Sabbath by doing liturgy on the “first day of the week” or on the “eighth day”, blame it on the first christians. If the Lord said “Behold I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), who are we to question or object to the Creator Himself?

    Amnata Pundit, can you check for me if there are priests and nuns in the PPCRV? I would appreciate it. The way I see it, PPCRV is composed of volunteer lay people.

  4. Amnata Pundit on

    How exactly does belief in the Holy Trinity help the individual move a step away from sin? Belief in the Holy Trinity did not make the nuns and priests of PPCRV stop Smartmatic from tinkering with the their server. This breach of all security protocol was then mysteriously followed by a drop in Bongbong’s 1 million lead in a statistically impossible manner. Science cannot find any parallel of the Holy Trinity in the universe that God created, so it must exist only in the fertile imagination of Catholic thinkers as it is the only way to get around the First of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shall not worship any god before me.” However, they cannot find a way out of the Second, “Thou shall not worship any graven images,” and there is no more graven an image in the eyes of God the Father than the sight of His Only Son nailed to the cross beaten, defeated and humiliated, and now placed at the center of worship as the New God by the Catholic Church. To solve the Second Commandment problem, the Church wrote its own version of the Ten Commandments that erased that inconvenient commandment on graven images. If the Church can make dagdag-bawas against God’s own Ten Commandments, its no surprise that the nuns and priests of the PPCRV can make dagdag-bawas against Bongbong Marcos. So how exactly does belief in the Holy Trinity help the Catholic individual again?

  5. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    21 May 2016

    If I get the overall drift of this column, ‘Can you feel the Blessed Trinity,” By Ricardo Saludo,in The Manila Times of 21 May 2016, not many of the around 80 million Filipinos today who identify themselves as Christians really and honestly “feel the Blessed Trinity.”

    The brutal, unadulterated and unvarnished fact is that in Reality, not one of the members of the Blessed Trinity–not God the Father, not God the Son and not God the Holy Spirit–has anything to do with their everyday lives.

    Try asking a Filipino couple with six children who are living lives of extreme degradation and dehumanization, living in Metro Manila’s many smelly and disease-ridden “esteros”, how many times, in desperation, they have prayed fervently to this Blessed Trinity for help them out of their misery and their deprivation, only to be terribly disappointed and disenchanted for not receiving even the remotest sign of a response!

    How could they ever hope to receive the kind of response they expect from a “Blessed Trinity” that IS NOT there?

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • Your certainty of zero response makes you a spokesperson for those who reported zero response? What pollster could have supplied you with such certitude? Even pollsters use percentages. Obviously zero means either 100% or simply 0%. This reminds me of the ongoing speculation in scientific circles regarding quantum physics. Is light a wave or is it particles? Just a simple mystery. Being visible, light should be such a simple mystery. Unlike the spiritual mystery of three distinct Persons in One God. Present experimental results point to wave-particle duality of light; just like saying that your certainty can be said to be both 100% and 0% in your zero response regarding a spiritual mystery. And of course a spiritual mystery can be easily discarded as less than zero; 100% a scam. Consonant with wave-particle duality, one can only locate a particle at the instant it can be located for measurement or, in other words, that particle cannot have a definite location or pathway. Einstein in his special relativity mentality threw up his hands in utter disgust, “Nothing in the universe is where it is unless it can be located?” That paraphrases the classic, “No sound of a falling tree in the forest, because there is no one to hear it.” You won’t believe a spiritual mystery unless you see it? Then try hearing. That is the last sense to go just before one breathes his last.

  6. Rio Legaspi on

    You have to ask yourself are you an altruist or an objectivist? Your topic is an inquiry to the unknown. If it is unknown no need to argue too much because it does not makes any sense at all. That is the problem with faith you will end up in confusion. The country is governed by an altruistic philosophy resulting to a timid mind and without disregard to reason at all. The country is going bacowards not forward due to lack of innovation with altruistic moral code. Only an objectivist type of philosophy will make the country to move forward because it is guided by reason and not by withcract and the brutes. As a journalist all of you had a big part in sharing reason not the unknown.Try it so as not to confuse. We only have one choice and that is faith or reason, life or death.