Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity will be canonized on October 16, 2016.
St. Elisabeth, pray for us!
There is One God, a Trinity of Persons and Unity of Nature. Each is equal and each is owed glory as to the one and same God.
Psalms and hymns used in the prayers of the Church conclude with a doxology to the Blessed Trinity. A doxology is a formula of praise to God used in liturgical worship. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are also invoked in blessings, various sacred rites, and sacraments.
There is also this short, but beautiful prayer to the Three Divine Persons that is so familiar to Catholics:
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
and ever shall be,
world without end.
The Eucharistic Prayer ends with “through Him, with Him, and in Him” and this was foreshadowed by the Apostle in the following words:
“For of Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to Him be glory for ever” (Rom. 11: 36)
These words “signifying both the Trinity of Persons and the Unity of Nature: for as this is one and the same in each of the Persons, so to each is equally owing supreme glory, as to one and the same God. St. Augustine commenting upon this testimony writes: “The words of the Apostle, of Him, and by Him, and in Him are not to be taken indiscriminately; of Him refers to the Father, by Him to the Son, in Him to the Holy Ghost”. (Divinum Illud Munus)
“Today’s feast draws us to praise and glorify the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, not only because of the great mercy They have shown to men, but also and especially in Themselves and for Themselves; first by reason of Their supreme essence which had no beginning and will never have an end; next, because of Their infinite perfections, Their majesty, essential beauty and goodness. Equally worthy of our adoration is the sublime fruitfulness of life by which the Father continually generates the Word, while from the Father and the Word proceeds the Holy Spirit. The Father is not prior to, or superior to the Word; nor are the Father and the Word prior to or greater than the Holy Spirit. The three divine Persons are all co-eternal and equal among Themselves: the divinity and all the divine perfections and attributes are one and the same in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. What can man say in the presence of such a sublime mystery? What can he understand of it? Nothing!”
(Divine Intimacy, #196 by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.)
The Incarnation is the greatest work of God accomplished in time. This great work was accomplished in silence and obscurity. Its ultimate purpose is for the glory of God.
The Incarnation leads us again to the Trinity. In the beginning the Trinity, when creating man said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26) Let us make man in our image; however, sin entered and destroyed this image. Christ comes in to restore it. Because of the Incarnation the Trinity comes to our souls at baptism so that we may come to share in the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
St. Teresa in her Spiritual Testimonies #51, bears witness to this presence within her soul. “Once while with this presence of the three Persons that I carry about in my soul…” Our saint bears witness that we are never alone since God dwells with us.
The purpose of the Incarnation was beautifully described by Pope Benedict XVI in a homily given at Loreto,Italy (October 4, 2012):
“The purpose of the Incarnation and Redemption was to unite in a real fashion heaven and earth. That unity could only take place if there were in the universe beings who were free, who could know and act. We sometimes think of heaven and earth as antagonistic to each other. We know they can be….The Incarnation tells us that we are never alone, that God has come to humanity and that he accompanies us.”
A dry sponge does not have any water, but put it in a bucket of water, and the water will enter the sponge. Water will seep into the large holes and will then fill the tiny spaces until it has penetrated throughout the sponge completely saturating it. In addition, the sponge will also expand a little in its size.
The soul is like this sponge. God is represented by the water. Most souls are dry like a sponge, but after spending time with God, drinking in His Presence, His Divinity will gradually fill up the soul until it is saturated and will even expand it a little.
The soul has a capacity for being filled with God. However, this depends on the soul’s capacity to absorb the Trinity. Meditation initiates this union. The more the soul spends time meditating on God allowing itself to be transformed, the more intimate and tender will the daily conversation become even in the midst of daily duties and activities. Drinking daily of His fullness allowing itself to be permeated by Him, like this sponge by water, the soul will be filled with God.
The Lord told St. Teresa to “Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me”. This can only be accomplished by meditation and growth in self-knowledge. And this is why daily intimate conversation with God is so necessary to the Carmelite.
Through her communion with God, St. Teresa also felt a communion with all creation. “It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” Through our communion with God, we also know His presence within the bonds of friendship, which is why the community is important. We are called to live a trinitarian life in the Church, with Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.
“I, being accustomed to the presence of Jesus Christ only, always thought that the vision of the Three Persons was in some degree a hindrance, though I know the Three Persons are but One God. Today, while thinking of this, our Lord said to me ‘that I was wrong in imagining that those things which are peculiar to the soul can be represented by those of the body; I was to understand that they were very different, and that the soul had a capacity for great fruition.’ It seemed to me as if this were shown to me thus: as water penetrates and is drunk in by the sponge, so, it seemed to me, did the Divinity fill my soul, which in a certain sense had the fruition and possession of the Three Persons. And I heard Him say also: ‘Labour thou not to hold Me within thyself enclosed, but enclose thou thyself within Me.’ It seemed to me that I saw the Three Persons within my soul, and communicating Themselves to all creatures abundantly without ceasing to be with me.” (St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Testimonies no. 14)
Marriage, is a communion of love between a man and a woman. It is also the image of the love and communion that exists between the three divine persons. Marriage is, therefore, not only a human institution but, more importantly, a sacred institution because it is made in the image of God Himself.
Think about the community of persons that is formed by this sacrament. It is meant to a reflection of the community of persons that is the Most Holy Trinity!
From the beginning man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God. The book of Genesis states: “God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). This should lead us to see every individual person as possessing an infinite dignity. Additionally, male and female are in the image and likeness of God not only in their individual existence, but also as they exist together.
Much of the poetry of Saint John of the Cross is centered on the theme of the bridal relationship. He uses nuptial language in his poems referring to the bride and bridegroom. His poetry could guide us back to a much needed correct understanding of human love and marriage.
While the The Spiritual Canticle, The Dark Night and The Living Flame, speak this bridal language, there is another one of St. John’s poems that develops this view of human love as also being an image of God’s love. The poem is titled Romance on the Gospel Text In Principio Erat Verbum regarding the Blessed Trinity In it St. John of the Cross is speaking of the love that exists between the persons of the Trinity.
Thus it is a boundless
Love that unites them,
for the three have one love
and the more love is one
the more it is love.
His poem, The Dark Night, is the expression of the soul that rejoices in having reached the high state of perfection – that is, union with God. If we unknowingly ran into this poem, we would hardly think of it as a religious poem. The title is most certainly misleading. At first glance it is a love poem, like the many other love poems that have been written. Yet, St. John of the Cross, states that it is a description of the union of the soul with God. This union that he is describing is a mystical experience. Why does he use sexual images to describe such a spiritual matter? How then can poetry, especially poetry about the mystical union of the soul with God, be related to the love of a man and a woman?
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved.
transforming the beloved in her Lover.
Perhaps Saint John of the Cross uses these images to describe divine love because human love is meant to be an image of divine love. Human love is analogous to divine love. Therefore, Divine love is, the model which human love must imitate.
The image of human love and marriage has been so distorted. St. John of the Cross could help to restore that image. In addition, his poetry could provide us with a better knowledge of God.