proverbs 8: 22-31; romans 5:1-5; john 16: 12-15
the philosopher immanuel kant wrote: «the doctrine of the trinity provides nothing, absolutely nothing of practical value, even if one claims to understand it.»
the doctrine of the trinity definitely surpasses our understanding; it is a mystery. however, kant got it wrong! the doctrine is a practical mystery with radical consequences for our life.
there are at least two practical aspects of this mystery.
first: the FATHER, SON and SPIRIT are unique and distinct. to help us understand that uniqueness, GOD has revealed to us three separate functions that the three persons carry out—the FATHER creates; the SON reconciles and redeems; and the SPIRIT guides.
second: these unique persons live in communion; they form a community. today’s gospel text indicates the relationship they share: «the SPIRIT will guide you to all truth… he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. all that the FATHER has is mine.» an intimate and magnificent collaboration! the greek fathers use the word perichoresis to describe this loving communion of the trinity. the word may be defined as a «dancing together».
created in the image and likeness of a trinitarian GOD, we have qualities similar to GOD!
first, we are unique individuals; and we want to be accepted thus.
second, we yearn to live in community/communion. we achieve this communion not by negating/denying differences, but by respecting and nurturing our diversity, and blending our differences.
third, like the FATHER, we are called to be productive/creative, and to contribute to the building up of our family, church, society and nation; like the SON, we are called to reconcile and to mend what is broken; like the SPIRIT, it is our task to dispel ignorance and to guide.
how will i live out the «practical mystery» of the trinity in my life? will i respect myself and others as unique persons; form communion by blending differences; and be a creative, reconciling and guiding person?